Steve McQueen, Eric Clapton, Jackie Collins concours classics to go on show together

David Linklater
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Steve McQueen, Faye Dunaway - and a very fast dune buggy in The Thomas Crown Affair.

Steve McQueen, Faye Dunaway - and a very fast dune buggy in The Thomas Crown Affair.

Pristine examples of cars owned or driven by some of the biggest celebrities of the 1960s are set to go on show at this year's London Concours, to be held at the Honourable Artillery Company (East London) from June 4-6.

London Concours.
London Concours is held at the Honourable Artillery Company in East London.

The event as a whole is celebrating some of the great cars of the 1960s; those with celebrity provenance are part of a special group being called the "Carnaby Street collection".

To many, the Manx Meyer dune buggy (based on the Volkswagen Beetle chassis, of course) epitomises the spirit of the decade. The example in the Carnaby Street class is one of the most famous in the world: driven by actor Steve McQueen in the movie The Thomas Crown Affair, with co-star Faye Dunaway.

It's featured racing up sand dunes and splashing through waves in spectacular fashion in its own little action sequence.

McQueen pumped up the movie buggy with a flat-six engine.

Also a keen racing driver, McQueen got involved in the design of the movie car, and had it fitted with a flat-six Chevrolet Corvair engine producing three times the power of the VW one, as well as a speedboat-style wraparound windscreen, headlights faired into the bonnet and American Racing wheels.

Guitarist, singer and songwriter with the Yardbirds and later Cream, Eric Clapton’s music was a key note in the soundtrack of the 1960s. The concours display will feature the 1969 Ferrari 365 GTC Berlinetta he bought after falling in love with one owned by friend George Harrison of The Beatles.

Eric Claton purchased this Ferrari 365 GTC before he could drive.

“I’d never seen one in the flesh before, and my heart melted,” he said, likening the experience to seeing “the most beautiful woman on earth”.

Styled by Pininfarina, the car is fitted with a 4.4-litre V12. Except Clapton couldn’t drive at the time… but, duly inspired, he soon mastered his clutch control on the Ferrari.

For glamour and sophistication it's hard to beat the Mercedes 190 SL roadster.

Dame Shirley Bassey used this 1960s Mercedes-Benz classic in the 1980s.

Fresh from an extensive restoration, the pristine 1961 example in the Carnaby Street collection was driven by Welsh singing star Dame Shirley Bassey during the 1984 recording of her studio album I Am What I Am at Olympic Studios in London, and later owned by founder member of the group Manhattan Transfer, Tim Hauser.

A rare right-hand-drive model, and one of around just 1000 built, it has a removable hardtop and is fitted with a 1.9-litre, four-cylinder engine and a manual gearbox.

Novelist and actress Jackie Collins was a car enthusiast and loved her silver Ford Mustang fastback.

Jackie Collins owned - and loved - an early Ford Mustang fastback.

She reportedly dressed in outlandish fashion and drove to visit her daughters at the school she herself was expelled from. This year also marks the 60th anniversary of the Mustang's 1964 launch.

Other cars representing celebrity association include the Aston Martin DB5 (Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Twiggy and Peter Sellers all owned examples at one time) and DB6 (one was given to Prince Charles as a 21st birthday present and is still owned by the King today), and a 1965 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud: ubiquitous celebrity transport for sure.


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