These days there are classic car gatherings pretty much anywhere that you can think of. Most of the major event venues – such as Goodwood, Shelsley, Brooklands and Coventry Transport Museum – have breakfast clubs, for example.
But, as Darren Sullivan Vince, pointed out: “There wasn’t one in central London. There’s Park it in The Market in Greenwich, of course, and the Ace Cafe, but nothing in the middle of town. So, out of frustration, I set up Waterloo Classics.”
The first meeting, on 18 April on Lower Marsh Market, attracted a fine array of machinery including a Bugatti Brescia, a Shelby Mustang and a Sunbeam-Talbot drophead coupé.
“We must have had 35 to 40 cars over the course of the afternoon – we’re here from midday to 5pm – and there was a great mixture of cars,” said Sullivan Vince. “The Waterloo Quarter people suggested the Saturday and they’ve been really helpful, arranging the parking for the classics in among the stalls. They were delighted because the footfall was twice what it would normally have been.”
There was a fascinating cross-section of makes and ages, with a few Jaguars – two of which were V12 E-types – a couple of Jensens and various Mercs including several R107s.
Paul Thompson drove down from north London in the lovely 280SE 3.5 Coupé that he bought about nine years ago. “It’s a nice informal atmosphere and good to meet up with other people with old cars,” he said. There was even a tidy-looking two-tone 200D Fintail for sale if you fancied a change.
The passers-by seemed to enjoy the event, too – with lots of “my dad had one of those” type comments. Two of the younger vehicles drew lots of interest: Chris Kay’s mint Ford Fiesta 1.1 Ghia and a bright red Colt Sapporo (top photo). When was the last time you saw one of those?
It felt almost as if you’d slipped back in time, in fact, with a stunning Aston Martin V8 Vantage parked with a souped-up Mini in front of a vintage radio specialist (bottom photo).
Paul Noon’s gleaming Beige Opale 1979 Citroën CX2400 Prestige C-Matic looked spot-on outside a vivid blue shopfront. “Series 1 CXs are definitely nicer to drive,” he said. “The suspension is a lot softer. I had it restored two years after I bought it in 2006, but it’s only need general service items since then.”
Oh, and a certain white BMW 2002tii was there as well, having clocked up 250,000 miles the previous weekend.
Sullivan Vince is a confirmed classic nut, and does virtually all of the work on his own cars: “I bought a ’71 Triumph Spitfire last December and have already been France and Belgium in it.” He also has a Volvo 1800ES and a BMW 502 – “the only one in London” – that he’s restoring.
He intends to make the event a regular gathering, on the third Saturday of the month.