Monday, 15 August 2022

1954 Bentley to star at ExCeL London

IF, like me, you have an enduring affection for classic cars, then next week’s London Classic Car Show

IF, like me, you have an enduring affection for classic cars, then next week’s London Classic Car Show is for you.

On show is a classic Bentley that outshines modern Bentleys by a mile and is one of the best worth having — the wonderful 1954 Bentley R-type Continental.

Some of the showstopper attractions include a one-off Ferrari estate, a Mercedes SL and a GT40 that costs £100,000 rather than $11million.

The show, which is on from February 18 to 21 at London’s ExCeL arena, includes plenty of Ferraris, but none as rare as the metallic green 330GT Vignale Special being offered for sale by dealer Graeme Hunt.

Created by Italian coachbuilder Vignale in 1968 for Luigi Chinetti Jr, son of the American Ferrari importer, the car started life as a standard 1965 330GT. But its glass-backed shooting brake body has no panel in common with the donor car, making it unique.

Hunt will also be offering a pair of rare British classics — a 1954 Bentley R-type Continental and a one-off 2008 Aston Martin DBS ‘Casino Royale’ Special, built for James Bond film producer Barbara Broccoli.

The best of both worlds will be offered by the SL Shop. As the name implies, the company specialises in Mercedes-Benz convertibles — but with a twist.

Being given its world debut at the show is its 300SL SportLine.

Based on a classic R107 SL model, the 3.0 litre six-cylinder engine has been blessed with modern performance thanks to the adoption of a fuel injection system from a later M-B model to give better performance and throttle response.

The SL Shop will also be showing a fully restored 500SL.

Technically the GT40 is an evocation of the Shelby-developed fast Ford that won Le Mans, but the South African-built Superformance machines are so close to the real thing — some 70 per cent is interchangeable with the original — that they are recognised by the Shelby American World Registry.

Hand-built in an ultra modern factory, the Superformance GT40 is offered in MkI or MkII guise with left- or right-hand drive and with a choice of potent V8 engines from 5.6 to 7.0 litres.

The only thing that isn’t interchangeable with an original is the price. The Superformance cars, which are imported to the UK by Le Mans Coupes Ltd, start at just £99,800 (plus VAT).

One of the four ex-Works Gulf Le Mans racers sold for $11 million in 2012.

Full details can be found via the show’s official website at

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