The UK’s Biggest Free Car Show Takes Places on London’s First Ever Shopping Street, Now 200 Years Old
The Regent Street Motor Show, the UK’s biggest free-to-view car show, is finalizing its preparations for its latest event, taking place of Saturday November 2. Every year its cars take over the famous and elegant central London thoroughfare, pedestrianized especially for the occasion. It has attracts more than half a million people and the turnout at last year’s event was a record at 524,382. And this year it has an added distinction, as it forms part of the 200th anniversary celebrations of its notable host Regent Street.
Regent Street is a stylish shopping street right in the heart of London, linking Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Street, and is known for its flagship retail stores. This year marks its bicentenary, as in 1819 Regent Street got its name from Prince Regent, who had instructed the celebrated architect John Nash to build London’s first purpose-built shopping street. And the Regent Street Motor Show is appropriate to the celebrations, as the event showcases the full range of automotive eras along the iconic curved street, reflecting that Regent Street itself, pre-dating Karl Benz’s 1885 Motorwagen, has witnessed the car’s full evolution over time.
As per tradition the Regent Street Motor Show takes place on the eve of the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, and hosts the pre-run annual Veteran Car Concours d’Elegance. More than a hundred pre-1905 pioneer machines partake in the concours prior to heading off to Brighton at first light the following morning. Cars and drivers, in period costume, come from across the globe to take part in the concours and last year winners came from Australia, Italy and Sweden as well as the UK.
But the show isn’t all about veteran cars; indeed as well as past and present the show even offers a glimpse into the future with a display of futuristic vehicles, many of which are propelled by the latest innovative low carbon drivetrains. Between times there is a range of collections of classic and contemporary cars, including a Motorsport Zone which last year was aided by a team from Silverstone Classic, and a Classic Motoring Zone which in 2018, celebrating the 80th anniversary of the Volkswagen Beetle, had a very special guest appearance from Herbie!
The show also is teaming up with Illinois Route 66 for the third year in a row. Chicago, Illinois is the start of what is often called the ‘Main Street of America’ or the ‘Mother Road’, and Illinois Route 66 will once again be promoting the iconic road trip at the Regent Street event.
The show is family-friendly with something for everyone, including a Kids Zone which last year included the Top Gear Experience simulator, a DeLorean ‘time machine’ made famous by Back to the Future, Scalextric, go-karting, a 1930s red fire truck and crew, the Greenpower Education Trust setting a pitstop challenge as well as challenging young people aged 9-25 to design, build, and race an electric car, and the West End Kids elite song and dance group.
“Putting the spotlight on the timeline of the automobile, the Regent Street Motor Show is now one of this country’s top motoring spectacles,” said chairman of the Royal Automobile Club Ben Cussons. “This captivating journey through the automobile’s history never fails to capture the imagination of the public; part of its charm is its universal appeal which draws in both the lifelong car enthusiast and the interested passer-by.”
Images courtesy of Regent Street Motor Show