Four groundbreaking concept cars from past 70 years are set to appear at this year’s London Classic Car Show
No motor show is complete without good concept cars, and there are four particularly special examples appearing at this week’s London Classic Car Show on one of the show’s major features: Concept Cars Through the Ages.
Spanning more than 70 years of automotive history, the rarely-seen foursome will form a special showcase curated our sister publications, Octane and evo. Here’s what you can expect to see.
At the 1988 Paris Motor Show, Peugeot unveiled the Oxia concept – a stunning mid-engined supercar with a top speed of of 217mph. Powered by a twin-turbo version of the PRV V6 engine, rated at 661bhp, Peugeot’s supercar boasted with four-wheel drive, four-wheel steering and a six-speed manual transmission.
The name is borrowed from a plain located on Mars – perhaps signifying the concept’s out of this world technology. Peugeot really did push the boundaries of what was possible at the time, and thanks to lightweight carbon fibre and kevlar bodywork, as well as a strong aluminium structure, weight was kept down to just 1360kg.
Unlike a lot of concepts, the Oxia is actually fully functioning, and it was taken up to a top speed of 217mph by Michelin test driver Jean-Philippe Vittecocq at the Nardo test track. While the company never had any plans to actually build a production version of the Oxia, it’s a fascinating look at what Peugeot could have offered to combat the likes of the Jaguar XJ220
and Porsche 959
The 1970s was a decade known for its wedgy road cars, but it all started with the concepts, just like this wonderfully low and pointy SRV from Vauxhall. SRV actually stands for Styling Research Vehicle, and it was created by Wayne Cherry and Chris Field in 1970 to influence Vauxhall’s future models..
Despite its low coupe appearance, the SRV was actually designed to seat four people in comfort, with a cleverly disguised pair of rear doors. The SRV toyed with ideas that have only recently found their way into production the supercars of today, such as the active aerodynamics. It featured a fuel injected version of the company’s 2.3-litre slant four engine, as well as electronically-adjustable rear suspension.
Being a pure styling mockup meant that It could never actually be driven, and the drivetrain to make the transverse layout work was never developed. The concept remains in the custody of Vauxhall’s Luton-based UK heritage fleet.
Here is a concept that was always intended to go into production – and would have rivalled the Porsche 918
and McLaren P1
in the hypercar stakes. It was ultimately killed by the spiralling development costs and a shaky world economy, but Jaguar decided to continue developing a number of working prototypes in order to utilise technology in future production models.
With the help of Williams Advanced Engineering’s expertise, the C-X75 featured a full carbon composite monocoque as well as an all-wheel drive, plug-in parallel hybrid electric drivetrain. When on full song, the combined power of the 10,000rpm, 502bhp, four-cylinder 1.6-litre petrol engine and 390bhp electric motors developed 850bhp and 738lb ft of torque.
Although it wasn’t launched as a road car to the public, the C-X75 did make its on-screen debut in the 2015 James Bond film SPECTRE
. Driven in the main car chase by one of the fim’s most menacing villains, it looked just as good as the day it was first unveiled.
Thanks to an influx of investment from General Motors in the 1950s, Vauxhall had one of the world’s most advanced styling studios by the early 1960s – situated in Luton. In a bid to revive Vauxhall’s sporty image, the company produced a series of three XVR models – standing for Xperimental Vauxhall Research – to be displayed at the Geneva motor show in 1966.
The brief was to create something small and exotic to wear the Vauxhall badge, and although one drivable concept was built just one of the two fibreglass static mockups remain today. While there are clearly American influences in the design, looking very much related to the likes of the Corvette and Cheetah, the XVR boasted gullwing doors and Bell-helmet style wraparound windscreen.
See more at the show
2017’s event will also see the introduction to the Historic Motorsport International, which will celebrate all aspects of historic motorsport. Engineers, race preparation firms, motorsport clubs, governing bodies and retailers from the world of historic racing will all be in attendance.
The HMI will also commemorate 50 years of the Cosworth DFV, the iconic V8 that was used to power Formula One cars from 1967 right into the early 1980s.
Tickets for the London Classic Car Show are now on sale. Adult admission starts from just £24 if purchased in advance, or £27 on the door. Full details including all features can be found on thelondonclassiccarshow.com