If you plan to motor west…
As the great rock and roll classic song recommends, more than half a million visitors will be ‘getting their kicks’ at the Illinois Route 66 Regent Street Motor Show in central London on Saturday 3 November. Open from 10:30 to 16:00 the annual event set on the capital’s premier shopping destination is a highlight of the week-long London Motor Week organised by the Royal Automobile Club.
Firmly established as the country’s most popular free-to-view car-themed event, last year’s show attracted a record crowd of more than 520,000 and, once again, huge numbers of visitors are expected to savour a spectacle that features the full spectrum of automotive history, backed by the US state of Illinois.
From the dawn of motoring come more than 100 of the extraordinary pioneers that will be participating in the following day’s famous Bonhams London to Brighton Run Veteran Car Run supported by Hiscox. Dating back to pre-1905 and bursting with period innovations, these amazing machines are always a huge draw on Regent Street which is pedestrianised between Piccadilly and Oxford Circuses especially for the occasion.
Adding yet more interest and sparkle, many of the owners attend in period Victorian or Edwardian dress – what’s more, the amazing collection of horseless carriages are entered into a Concours d’Elegance judged by a panel of well-known personalities and renowned experts. This year’s awards ceremony will be presented by well-known television gardener, author and classic car lover Alan Titchmarsh MBE.
While the rarely-seen numbers of eye-catching veterans are always a huge crowd-pleaser, they are just one of the dazzling show’s countless attractions. Bringing the story right up-to-date, manufacturers such as Renault and Triumph will be displaying their latest creations on four and two wheels while a stunning collection of supercars is certain to be another huge draw. The roster of 200+mph rocket-ships includes a Pagani Zonda, Ford GT and no fewer than three lush Lamborghinis.
Classic cars, too, will be on show with a pride of much-loved Jaguars lining-up alongside a posse of equally evocative Volkswagen Beetles while, for retro motor sport fans, the Silverstone Classic will be out in force displaying golden age F1 and Le Mans racers that will be on track at next summer’s fun-fuelled festival.
Motor sport fans will also be stirred by the special one-off presence of competition cars celebrating the 60th anniversaries of both premier MSA British Rally and MSA British Touring Car Championships – the latter represented by Colin Turkington’s recent title-winning BMW 125i M Sport.
The new Kids’ Zone is gearing up to be another popular addition offering children a chance to experience the excitement of electric karts plus a ride in the Top Gear Experience simulator as well as a host of other interactive entertainments.
The event’s charity partner – the Movember Foundation – will also be exhibiting again this year with lots of moustache-friendly activities throughout the day, including a pop-up barbershop and themed games as well as lots of ‘mo-merch’ up for grabs such as a collection of limited-edition motoring pin badges which will be available to purchase.
Lastly and perhaps most importantly, to ensure that all those attending really do ‘get their kicks’, event title partner Illinois will be paying homage to the fabled Route 66. America’s celebrated ‘Mother Road’ starts in Chicago and travels its first 300-miles through the mid-west State – a route that is steeped in legend, nostalgic eats, quirky museums and more kitsch than you can shake a restored 1940’s gas pump at!
Giving visitors to Regent Street an insight into what remains one of the greatest road trips on Earth, the Visit Illinois display features a number of iconic US street machines including a Ford Thunderbird, Dodge Charger, Pontiac Trans-Am, 1957 Chevy Pick-up plus, of course, a pair of charismatic Harley Davidson Sportsters.
“There really is something for all ages and interests at this year’s Illinois Route 66 Regent Street Motor Show,” enthused Ben Cussons, Chairman of the Royal Automobile Club. “Those with a passion for cars will love the incredible variety of machinery on display while there’s so many other attractions for more casual visitors of all ages to enjoy. Moreover, all Regent Street’s eminent stores are open, providing all-comers with a great opportunity to start their Christmas shopping.”
Nick Wigley, CEO of event organisers, Goose Live Events, added: “We are thrilled to be bringing more content to the Show this year than ever before. Each year it just gets better and better. Last year visitors told us they’d like to see more family-friendly activities on the Street and we’re delighted to have such a packed line-up for all ages to enjoy!”