The London Concours, now in its 5th year was held over an extended 3-days this year to comply with Covid rules and was once again held on the grounds of the Honourable Artillery Company near the Barbican in London. The grass lawns, mostly used for cricket matches, are a small oasis in amongst the tall buildings of the City of London and its proximity to the Canary Wharf and Docklands business districts. Often commented on as to why it has not been built upon, the reason is that the grounds are in fact the site of a Plague-Pit where the remains of many Londoners who died of Bubonic Plague between 1865-1866 are buried. Over 25% of Londoners died (over100,000) of this virus, which reputably still remains dormant below.
The Concours attracted over 100 vehicles of a truly eclectic mix, many of which were split into 6-Theme'd Classes and subjected to scrutiny by a panel of Judges during the first morning, to determine a Best in Class and overall Best in Show.
Invited this year to the Lost Marques class which was made up of a true mix of marques, was the last surviving ex-Works Competition Unipower GT, chassis 766.2. This car, the first Competition GT chassis built with its one-off unique chassis, has been in the ownership of Myself since 1976, and whist I raced it regularly early on, latterly it is now competed in as time permits. Externally the car is resplendent in its 'works' Yellow colour, but in the cockpit the important patina of its historical heritage is still retained. On the day, the Judges very much appreciated the originality of the cars condition along with its extensive history and importantly its past ownership, which included Piers Weld-Forester who both owned the car in 1968 and also purchased the manufacturing rights from Universal Power Drives later that year.
Of the constant stream of spectators who inspected this uniquely rare Unipower GT, I was honoured to greet HRH Prince Michael of Kent, an avid motoring enthusiast who took a special interest in the car, especially when he realised that he had known Piers Weld-Forester in the early 70's. He was especially interested in its history and discussed the advantage of the good power/weight that the car has, in performance terms. A very special visit indeed.
The Concours attracted as full a house of spectators as Covid Rules would allow, which gave the whole event a true garden party atmosphere and with appropriate music softly playing in the background, all adding up to a very relaxing event. The Unipower GT did not win the Class however, that honour went to Simon Taylor (ex of Haymarket Press and Autosport Magazine), whom I knew many years ago, with his beautiful 1961 AC Ace which he originally bought in 1962. A worthy winner indeed. Pictured below, Simon in the hat with myself amongst the Lost Marques cars.
I feel very honoured that another Unipower GT was invited, despite chassis 766.1 having been there last year, so maybe the unique history of this car was the attraction. Certainly as the car was used a backdrop by Richard Hammond's (Top Gear) film crew for his forthcoming series on car restoration, will hopefully raise more awareness of the Unipower GT marque as well as Harry Metclalfe's well known 'Harry's Garage' YouTube channel, giving the car good coverage during his review of the event.
A brief report on some of the other cars at this event will follow soon on these Blog pages.