In just a couple of days’ time, on Saturday 4th November, Regent Street in London’s West End will be transformed into the country’s biggest free-to-view motor show.
The busy shopping street will be closed to through traffic and the road filled with cars from the past, the present and the future. Almost 200 vehicles will be on display, including those from the days of the horseless carriage through to the classic years, alongside the battery-powered cars we will all be driving in the future. All will be taking part in the annual Regent Street Motor Show which, this year, is presented by Enjoy Illinois Route 66.
Illinois and the famous Route 66 is presenting the Regent Street Motor Show this year to promote the state and America’s ‘Mother Road’. One lucky visitor to the Illinois stand will win a four-night holiday, including flight and accommodation, to the state.
Taking centre stage will be around 120 horseless carriages from the dawn of motoring. They and their passengers – many of whom will be in period costume – will be taking part in the annual Veteran Car Concours d’Elegance on the day before they set off on their dawn Run from London to Brighton. This year’s Concours judging panel includes Alan Titchmarsh; a man more known for his petunias than his Panhards.
If the veterans mark the start of the story of the car, Go Ultra Low marks a chapter to come. The latest zero and low emission battery and hybrid cars will be on display from manufacturers including BMW, Renault, VW, Toyota, Kia and Hyundai. Short ‘taster’ test drives will be offered, allowing visitors to sample the next generation of environmentally friendly transport.
In keeping with the low emission theme, Harrods will be displaying its electric vehicle fleet from the battery-powered 1901 Pope Waverley to the newest Nissan e-NV200 delivery van. The Royal Automobile Club will also have a major presence at the Show with its Pit Shop Café and two cars from its heritage fleet while the Brasserie Zedel’s Citroën H Van will be sharing some of their French delicacies.
There will be displays of classic cars and bikes, racing cars and supercars in between, too. Among the classic car club displays will be a tribute to the London-built Talbot, while the Fiat 500 Club will be celebrating the 60th birthday of Italy’s iconic city car. Hexagon Classics, the dealership that focuses on the rarest and most collectable classic car marques in the world will have a pair of Lotus cars on show.
Racing displays include a preview of the biggest classic motor sport event on the calendar – the Silverstone Classic – with some of the rarest and most famous historic racing cars ever made and there’ll be the chance to have a pint of Silverstone Real Ale while you look at the cars.
Bringing the racing story up to date will be British Rallycross star, Oliver Bennett, and his Ford Fiesta as well as a display from Bambino Zipkarts showing would-be Lewis Hamiltons how to get started in the sport. Dare To Be Different, an initiative spearheaded by Formula 1’s Susie Wolff and the Motor Sports Association, will aim to inspire and celebrate women in motor sport.
Race fans will be able to buy memorabilia from the Grand Prix Shop as well as admiring the Hackett-backed Aston Martin Vantage race car.
While Renault will be showing its Zoe and Twizy cars in the Go Ultra Low zone, some of the company’s other models will also be in the Motoring Today area. Visitors will have the chance to see the new Captur and Kadjar up close, while two-wheel fans will be able to enjoy the latest machines from Triumph.
Visitors can also discover what it’s like to drive a Mercedes F1 car in one of two Top Gear Experience simulators while, each hour, the elite West End Kids song and dance troupe will be performing automotive-inspired stage tunes: find them in a dedicated area near Regent Street’s junction with Great Marlborough Street.
And there’s even a chance for gentlemen to have a shave down in preparation for the Movember month ahead. The Movember Foundation has teamed up with Gillette to present a pop-up station giving visitors a close shave ahead of ‘moustache month’. The Foundation aims to raise awareness of men’s health issues including prostate cancer, the most common form of cancer in men under 35, testicular cancer and mental health issues. The Movember Foundation’s lounge will be open throughout the show and there will also be the opportunity to win prizes at a ‘Mighty Mo Hoopla’ game as well as the chance to admire a new model Harley Davidson.
The first Regent Street Motor Show was staged in 2005 and it has now become a hugely popular must-see spectacle which welcomed more than 400,000 visitors in 2016. The Show officially opens at 10.30am and closes at 4pm.
Quite apart from the cars and entertainment, all Regent Street’s fabulous shops are open for business throughout the Show while there are dozens of restaurants and bars in the area for when refreshment is needed.
The Regent Street Motor Show and the Veteran Car Run are key events in the week-long London Motor Week run by the Royal Automobile Club.