Gallery : London Motor Show 1970-1974

With the cancellation of the 2022 Geneva International Motor Show, we thought we’d do the next best thing and bring you some wonderful imagery from the London Motor Shows between 1970 and 1974.

Again, thanks to Shahin of the PaykanHunter website (and regular of Autoshite), who put in some serious hours scanning a selection of amazing transparencies, we now have some stunning images from a selection of press days at the UK’s premier motor show. This was probably a golden era in one respect – the marque and model selection was far wider than it is now, even though the motor industry was in an appalling mess at the time – globally.

Seriously, enjoy these images, none of which will have been seen before – unless, that is, you’re a regular of the above-named forum or you’ve recently clicked on our Maxi-based Aquila story, which is now headed by one of Shahin’s wonderful images. Interestingly, it was this image that revealed a choice of wheels for this car previously unseen in contemporary images…

Enjoy the images!

Keith Adams


  1. Wow- that was different!

    What on earth was a ‘Monica’?

    And do I detect the hand of Harris Mann in that repugnantly coloured green wedge? Thank god they never productionised that!

    Presumably ‘Cloakroom No 7’ was an aborted foetus from what became the Maestro project? Looked quite advanced in some ways, albeit rather crudely executed. If they had tidied up the styling that would have made for a much prettier car than the pug-ugly Maestro.

    The Tina 2000E estate looked good- I didn’t realise that they made that particular model as an estate.

    Great pics here- real blast from the past.

    Wonder how many Brits bought one of those huge Chrysler yank-tanks?

    Thanks for sharing these.

    • Monica was a four door gt car from a French railway manufacturer cfpm, designed by a brit Chris Lawrence and powered by a chrysler v8 just like the face vega. It was named after the wife of cfpm’s boss.

      And yes Ford made a 2000E estate, my dad had a loverly p reg model in white. Loverly car that went the way of tin rot.

    • Correction for the second last line – Chrysler Australian-Tanks, They’re Chrysler VG Valiants.built in (Suburban) Adelaide, South Australia.

  2. A great feature this! Oh, and Francis, you took the words right out of my mouth ref the BMW stand!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. Thanks Keith, I was aware of the Aquila but didn’t recognise it from that angle (not its best).

    Another lost opportunity for BL…

  4. @3 The Monica was a super car project from France. It wa sthe idea of Jean Tastevin who run CFPM, a french railway wagon manufacturer – the name was his wife’s I belive.
    It was supposed to be a small sports car, and was designed by an englishman called Chris Lawrence (of Lawrence tune fame), based on a TR4 engine, but ended up being a v8 sports saloon in the Facel Vega fame. It was supposed to have a specially designed V8 also designed by an englishman – I think his name was Martin, but this was troublesome so was replaced by the good old Chrysler V8.
    It is a probably one of the most beautifuly designed sports saloons of the 70’s. If I remember Chris Lawrence tried to get Bob Jankel of Panther Westwind to build it but that failed. If I remeber it was started as a project in the lates 60’s but did not appear to about 73 and run for a couple of years.I also think if I remeber from my readings that it had a P6B diff.

  5. @8, daveh,

    Thanks for the info on the ‘Monica’. I think we can be glad that Bob Jankel didn’t get his hands on it- it would have probably have ended up so ghastly that Liberace would have been embarrased to have been seen near it!

  6. Great pictures! I was nine years old in 1974 and my parents took me to the motor show for the first time. I remember getting inside a Renault 17 whilst their attention was elsewhere, not being able to work out where the door handle was and having to slip out of the window. I somewhat perplexed the chap on the Ford stand buy asking him if he had any pictures of the Ford Classic (my favourite then..and still in my personal top three!) He presumably felt some pity for me (why?? – it was only eleven years since they had stopped making them!) and took me downstairs to, what I assume was the Earls Court “nerve centre” and got together a selection of Ford press photos for me – Consul, Cortina 2000E and the like. This takes me back – the only down side is that, since I’ve seen this gallery, I’ve got that damned “The Chrysler Man Can” song going round in my head again!

  7. Wow- that is a beautiful car- would have made a very interesting alternative to an XJ6 or XJ12!

  8. @13 an antidote to an interceptor,very,very nice.It reminds me of a ferrari and fiat 130 coupe (ferrari powered of course)even a hint of Bristol in this.

  9. I remember going to the Scottish Motor Show at the Kelvon Hall in Glasgow in 1968. I recall being fascinated with all those cars with transparent bonnets, boots and doors and couldn’t understand why my Dad couldn’t buy one like that!

    I also remember getting put lifted into the seat of Jim Clark’s Lotus, and this was not long after he had been killed at Hockenheim. Just a shame we didn’t have a camera, nowadays it would be all over Facebook within 2 minutes of being taken!

    As for the Experimental Safety Vehicle, looks like a Marina-based evoltuion of the ADO16 that had the weird “pedestrian-lifesaver” droop-snoot from years perviously.

  10. That Monica is a very beautiful looking car, I tend to think that Pininfarina may have had one in front of them when they designed the present Maserati Quattroporte, they look very similar around the rear three quarters and rear wheels.

    Apropos of not a lot, I used to be taken to the motor show at Earls Court every year when I was growing up,I used to love collecting brochures !!! It was never the same at the NEC….

  11. @ Chris Baglin
    You’d need more £££ than an XJ12. According to or it was costing a bit more than a Silver shadow or a Daytona!!! No wonder only 8 were sold (but 22 prototypes made..)Pity, it really looked good. I saw a prototype in the musee automobiles de Vendee, it was quite low for a luxury saloon, it was very elegant though, ( IMO Merc merely re- invent the 4 door coupe in 2005!!!) with hints of the best euro-gt’s of the time, everybody’s right, there’s a bit of Maserati, Ferrari, jaguar, DBS (the one David Brown commissioned with 4 doors is really quite similar in spirit and form) etc…

    • Yes, the Aquila was designed for a daily newspaper contest – possibly the Telegraph. I sent off for the rules, they were far too technical for an 11 year old so I didn’t enter!

  12. Yes Valerie Leon… I remember her. More interesting images from that bygone era.

    Speaking of which. I’ve just had a short break in Yorkshire and looked in at Matthewsons garage and museum at Thorton Le Dale.

    Currently amongst others they had a Victor FB, Viva HC (1977), Austin A35 x 2, Cortina MK1 GT, E Type Jag, MKIV Zephyr 6, Rover P5 3.5 and P6 3.5. Also a Vaux Wyvern (restored). A MK3 Escort XR3 was also awaiting restoration. Most cars are either getting restored or for sale. Worth a visit.

    • Valerie Leon also appeared in the great film The Italian Job. Only briefly as the (Grosvenor?) Hotel Receptionist.

  13. Did Valerie Leon not do the Hai Karate adverts decades ago? They were absolutely hilarious.

  14. @Paul Taylor – yes I think Val Leon did appear in the Hai Karate adverts. Looking at that photo of the MK3 Cortina Estate car, I think it’s a 2000E version. I forgot that Ford built them as well as the 2000E saloon

  15. Still on the subject of Valerie Leon, she apparently owned a 1300GT for a number of years with the plate reading VL1.

  16. @27It is a 2000E. My old man had a white one with twin carbs you to go like stink sitting in the big comfy armchairs – you use to slide round on them in the corners!

  17. I’m not sure I’d trust the “Experimental Saftey Vehicle” if they can’t even spell “safety” right

  18. My parents took me to the 1968 Earls Court show and I went to the 1980 one at NEC. Great days out – hardly any Japanese cars there in ’68. Seeing new cars back then at big shows was much more exciting. Well to me it was!

  19. No shortage of giant ashtrays on the bleak BL stand. Really enjoyed all the Chrysler UK pics, but the final shot does look like wreaths laid at a cenotaph to Billy Rootes.

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