Car hunting in London

DSC_0485In the oil age we live in, it’s a common belief that most of the world’s supercar stock sits somewhere between Dubai and about Kuwait. But much to my surprise, certain districts in the city of London actually contain more exotic metal in a small radius as I’ve seen anywhere else.

DSC_0416This is an odd phenomenon because there is more against car ownership in central London than for it, let alone supercar ownership. For one, you’ll pay over ten pound in congestion charge as soon as you move anywhere. Assuming money is no issue, despite the charge the city is still in gridlock for as many hours as the sun is up. It’s an old city too which means almost nobody has a garage because cars didn’t exist when the houses were built, even the swanky ones, so on-street parking is the norm. And unlike in Australia, London has an excellent public transport system. With all the good roads so far away, why would you even bother taking a car into the city?

DSC_0390And yet here we are. In the Knightsbridge area there literally isn’t a street without some form of exotica lining its sides. In these parts V8 Vantage’s and Bentley’s are commonplace, and it takes something special to grab your attention.

DSC_0395Like, say, a Bristol Blenheim?

DSC_0433Or an original, non footballer-spec Bentley Continental?

DSC_0397The car that held my attention for the longest did so for all the wrong reasons. I’ve long been hoping to see one of these in the flesh for I have long labeled them the stupidest and most hilarious car ever built, however I’m not aware of any Australian’s daft enough to have made the purchase. In London I saw three, all within a block of each other. Continue reading

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All British Day 2012

The All British day is probably South Australia’s largest annual gathering of British cars, trucks and motorbikes. I’d never really considered myself much of a fan of British machinery so have never really made much of a point of going to this show in the past. Sure, there were a few makes and models I admired, but then I actually sat down and thought about the British cars I liked. I’m an obvious fan of Lotus. I appreciate the eccentricity of TVR’s, and the rugged simpleness of MGA’s and B’s and early Land Rovers. You can’t go past the stunning looks of the Jaguar E-Type and it’s predecessor the XK120, or the modern technology in the turbocharged Cosworth Ford’s. The stately elegance of early Bristol’s and Bentley’s can’t be ignored, and then there’s the legendary and inspiring stories of the works Aston Martin and Jaguar teams running the DBR’s and D-Type’s in when the mechanics drove them to LeMans to compete in the 24hr in the 50’s and 60’s, back in the days when the state of the art LeMans winners were still road registrable.

With all that in mind I put on my Ben Sherman shorts and Kooks T-Shirt and headed up to Uraidla in the picturesque Adelaide Hills to take in the best of automotive Britain – with the Beatles and 60’s Rolling Stones playing through the stereo on the way to get properly in the mood, of course.

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