Celebrating motoring’s past, present and future on Regent Street

With London’s world-famous shopping destination celebrating its bi-centenary in 2019, this Saturday’s (2 November) Illinois Route 66 Regent Street Motor Show promises to be the best yet.

Firmly established as the UK’s most popular free-to-attend motor show, this year’s event will feature the complete evolution of motoring from the pioneering horseless carriages of the Victorian times right up to the latest generation of electric cars and motorcycles.

Adding to the celebrations, the significant birthdays of several much-loved automotive icons will also be honoured with special displays on Regent Street which will be pedestrianised from Piccadilly to Oxford Circus especially for the occasion. Milestones being marked include 60 years of the Mini and 50 years of the Ford Capri, the charismatic coupe billed as ‘the car you always promised yourself’ in period advertising.

Transporting show-goers back to an era well before Regent Street had commemorated its first century, more than 100 of the extraordinary, innovative pre-1905 vehicles taking part in the following day’s Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run will be enthralling Show visitors as they take pride of place in the prestigious International Concours d’Elegance and are judged for coveted awards. Prizes this year will be presented by Alan Titchmarsh, the well-known television personality and passionate classic car enthusiast.

Among the veteran cars will be a highly distinctive 1901 Pope Waverley electric vehicle (EV) in the traditional green and gold livery of the legendary department store, Harrods, who introduced its first EV more than 110 years ago and were one of the first companies to operate an all-electric fleet in the UK. The store went on to build a fleet of 60+ electric vehicles, including solid-tyred American Walker electric vans which delivered goods to the store’s London customers in the first half of the last century. It’s a tradition that continues today as the store uses a 100 per cent electric Nissan e-NV200 for local deliveries. At the Show, Harrods will be displaying four cars from its Heritage Collection, including an example of an electric van specially commissioned by the company in the 1930s.

Bringing the story right up to date, Go Ultra Low will be displaying a wide range of the latest generation electric vehicles in the Motoring Today Zone with the Nissan Leaf, Nissan e-NV200, Jaguar iPace, Jaguar Range Rover, Tesla Model 3 SR, and DS 3 Crossback E-Tense. Not only that, but a number of test drives* will also be available to those considering a switch to plug-in technology.

For visitors preferring two wheels to four, Ducati will be bringing a number of its revered Italian icons to Regent Street while the legendary US ‘easy riders’, Harley-Davidson, will be exhibiting its stunning all-new 2020 LiveWire electric motorcycle.

Eye-catching Americana will also be featured strongly on the central stand representing the event’s title partner: Illinois Route 66. Over the decades, many of the great US cars and bikes have travelled down what is affectionately known as America’s ‘Mother Road’ and many of those stars will be capturing the imaginations of the more adventurous in central London for the day. The Illinois Route 66 stand display will feature Dodge Challengers, a Mustang Bullitt replica, a Police Trans Am, a Blues Mobile replica plus some stunning Harley-Davidsons. There will also be fitting performances from The King B Blues Brothers Band throughout the day, adding to the atmosphere on the Street.

The hugely popular Illinois Route 66 Regent Street Motor Show will offer a treasure trove of engaging activities and attractions for those of all ages and interests and the Kids Zone – so successfully introduced last year – returns with the Top Gear Experience simulator, the very photogenic 1930s red fire engine, live shows from the elite song and dance group West End Kids plus TrackStars electric karts for those aged 4 and upwards.

For the more mature circuit racing fans, the Motorsport Zone puts the spotlight on some of the top performers from the 2019 UK season, topped by Colin Turkington’s British Touring Car Championship title-winning BMW 330i M Sport. Joining in the birthday celebrations on Regent Street, the Silverstone Classic – which turns 30 next summer – will also be bringing some of its unrivalled retro racing magic to the heart of the capital. Not only that but embracing the motorsport theme in a dedicated area of its own, a display to support the eagerly-awaited Le Mans ’66 movie will be featured; a film which brings to life for the big screen the Le Mans battle between Ford and Ferrari back in 1966.

“The Illinois Route 66 Regent Street Motor Show is always a stand-out date on the UK motoring calendar but this year’s event will be very special,” enthused Ben Cussons, Chairman of the Royal Automobile Club. “Not only is Regent Street celebrating its own 200thbirthday but we, too, will be marking several major motoring milestones in style on the day. No other event embraces the entire evolution of motoring quite so well and, with the industry entering another era of innovation, this year’s show takes on even more significance.”

For more information on all the highlights at the 2019 Illinois Route 66 Regent Street Motor Show, visit the event’s official website: www.regentstreetmotorshow.com

* Visitors keen to get behind the wheel of a Go Ultra Low vehicle will need to supply their driving licence and their National Insurance number. Age restrictions might apply on certain vehicles. Visit the Go Ultra Low stand located on the junction between Conduit Street and Regent Street to arrange your test drive.

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