The London Concours, presented by Montres Breguet, has announced the exhibition “Lost Marques”; A tribute to the automakers that we have loved and lost over the years.
Not all automakers succeed. In a global industry that is moving so fast, is so tightly regulated, and is so financially ruinous, manufacturers that may have deserved to stay are often forced to disappear. But fortunately, their vehicles remain as moving sculptures of their accomplishments, and at London Concours 2020 we will once again celebrate some of the best Lost Marques; the beauty, the innovation and the speed of the brands that no longer exist. In total, 12 legends of “Lost Marques” will be exhibited, but below are some of the highlights:
Facel Vega HK500
Facel started building cars when its owner, Jean Daninos, wanted to create a car that embodied French elegance and craftsmanship with an American flair in the body of a grand touring car in the 1950s and 1960s. The HK500 is one of 500 produced between 1959 and 1961 and powered by a 361-cubic-inch Chrysler Hemi V8, allowing drivers to easily exceed 100mph. Owners, many of whom were famous, were offered two gearbox options: the Chrysler automatic transmission or a four-speed French manual.
Giotto Bizzarrini started out as a test driver for Alfa Romeo, before moving to Ferrari, where he helped develop the 250 GTO. Later, he started his own company, Bizzarrini, and created a series of impressive Italian designs, with American power. Among them was the P538 racer, equipped with a Chevy V8, a central cockpit, and the speed to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966.
The C-V8 was considered one of the fastest-producing four-seater cars of its time, capable of beating the Lamborghini Miura at 60 mph. Built from 1962 to 1966, Jensen used a Chrysler Large Block V8 in the C-V8 with a fiberglass body. The company was founded in 1922 as W J Smith & Sons Limited before being transferred to Jensen Motors in 1934.
Alvis Speed 25
The Alvis Speed 25 was considered one of the best cars produced in the 1930s. Its smooth and powerful 3571cc engine allowed 0-50 mph in 11 seconds, and a top speed of 95 mph. This specific example was gifted to the original owner for her 21st birthday, and the original documents show that it was delivered incomplete, with unequipped panels supplied by carriage builders, Charlesworth.
The first production of Unipower GT will be on display at London Concours this August. Inspired by the work of Carlo Abarth, the tiny mid-engined car was designed by Ernie Unger and shares the same height as the Ford GT40. Only 72 examples were made and weighing in at just 590kg, these British production specials from the 1960s are built on tubular space frames attached to an aerodynamic body. Only 40 have survived, and many of them reside in Japan. Read more about the Take to the Road special feature with Chassis # 1, the first Unipower GT.
Marcos TSO GT2 prototype
Mark is another name lost in history books, founded in 1959, in North Wales. Its history is peppered with sports cars with chassis made of marine plywood. It first filed for bankruptcy in 1971, and again in 2000. But, it is the second rebirth where the TSO GT2 prototype enters; launched in 2004 with an LS1 Chevrolet V8 for the Australian market before coming to the UK a year later.
Although with its brutal American engine, the suspension was developed by ProDrive, making it an easy car to enjoy at high speed. This prototype was tested and enjoyed by the British automotive media, one of which said: “I am simply enjoying a friendly car, laughing as I hang my tail over and over at almost every corner of this track.”
The London Concours will take place from August 19 to 20, gathering a group of the world’s most wanted roads and tracking cars in the gardens of the Honorable Artillery Company headquarters, just a stone’s throw from Bank and Moorgate in the city of London. More than 100 automotive icons will gather in classes, from “Convertibles: The Golden Age” to “The Quest for Speed.” Tickets are available to buy now at www.londonconcours.co.uk/tickets.
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