May actually wants to provoke debate from visitors about the exhibit and is separating his choices into two categories: The Halls of Obviousness and The Chambers of Bloody-mindedness. The first bunch includes the usual important vehicles you expect to see, but the other group has the really interesting picks. As May explains these selections in the event announcement, "I believe they are just as significant historically but they've simply been forgotten or misunderstood."
The obvious choices are:
- 1886 Benz Motorwagen
- 1908 Ford Model T
- 1938 Volkswagen Beetle
- 1959 Austin Mini
- 1964 Ford Mustang
- 1997 Toyota Prius
- 1901 Waverley Electric
- 1906 Cadillac Model K
- 1933 Standard Superior
- 1972 Honda Civic
- 1980 Lada Riva
- 2009 Bruno ExoMars Rover
The London Classic Car Show runs at the ExCeL in London's Docklands from January 8-11, 2015. In addition to May's exhibit and the other vehicles there, Formula 1 designer Adrian Newey is also curating a display from his own collection. May is hoping to spur conversations with his choices. Let us know in Comments if you notice any glaring omissions that should be among the 13. Read the full announcement below, along with a brief explanation for each choice from May.
James May has chosen the 13 most significant cars of all time for The London Classic Car Show... but is he right?
It's bold, controversial and bound to cause arguments... and that's just the way BBC Top Gear's James May wants it.
May has stuck his neck on the line and has chosen what he regards are the 13 most influential cars of all time.
The result is The Cars That Changed The World and it's one of the star exhibits at the London Classic Car Show taking place at ExCeL in London's Docklands from 8-11 January 2015.
May is convinced he's got them right... but hopes that others will disagree and that his choice will cause arguments in every pub in the land.
He has split the Baker's Dozen into two groups of six, the first half dozen being displayed in what May calls 'The Halls of Obviousness' with the second half dozen found in 'The Chambers of Bloody-mindedness'. The 13th – the most significant car ever made – has its own special display area.
"You could probably guess the identity of the six in the Hall of Obviousness without reading another word," said May, "but the other six are less well known. I believe they are just as significant historically but they've simply been forgotten or misunderstood.
"But the 13th is certainly the car that looms largest in my motoring life – the biggest inspiration."
And May will open the exhibit personally on the show's opening evening, Thursday 8 January, as well as attempting to get #the13thcar trending on Twitter. Tickets to see May reveal his 13th car as well as Adrian Newey being interviewed about his own special selection of significant race and road machines are still available, too.
The six 'obvious' cars (plus James' comments) are:
1886 Benz Motorwagen. "People will argue about this, but the Benz Motorwagen was the first true car as we would understand it."
1908 Ford Model T. "The brilliance of the Model T is the way that it was made, rather than the car itself."
1938 Volkswagen Beetle. "It became the world's best selling single-platform car, even though the early models were pretty horrendous to drive."
1959 Austin Mini. "An original Mini is incredibly uncomfortable and a bit hairy if you crash it, but also fantastic to drive."
1964 Ford Mustang. "In the first six months of its life it was the fastest selling car in history. It's the car that democratised style and performance."
1997 Toyota Prius. "It was the first mainstream car of my lifetime that caused people to rethink the basics of how a car should work."
And the six Bloody-minded choices are:
1901 Waverley Electric. "At the beginning of the 20th century, electric car outsold petrol-powered cars in parts of America. They were clean, quiet and didn't make ladies' skirts grubby."
1906 Cadillac Model K. "The real hero of the mass-produced car story isn't Ford's Model T but the Cadillac Model K."
1933 Standard Superior. "It is widely accepted that Josef Ganz, a respected Jewish engineer, came up with the basic layout and philosophy of the Beetle."
1972 Honda Civic. "The original Civic was a compact, lively and fuel efficient car that was well made and almost faultlessly reliable."
1980 Lada Riva. "The Russian-built, Fiat 124-derived, Riva did more than any other to put communism on wheels."
2009 Bruno ExoMars Rover. "Autonomous, self-sustaining and suitable for use on other planets, it is surely the world's most advanced all-terrain vehicle."
And the 13th? "I'm not going to give that away," said May. "You simply have to visit the show and indulge me through my halls and chambers to get to it."
The London Classic Car Show is the latest creation from Brand Events, the company behind all-action car shows like Top Gear Live, and is full of innovative features. It promises to be unlike any classic car event yet staged.
May will be joined by two other show curators who have both created their own special displays with cars that mean the most to them.
Legendary Formula 1 designer Adrian Newey charts his motoring career not just with some of his winning F1 cars, but also with cars and bikes that hold a special place in his heart. These include his own Ford GT40, his Ducati 900SS and the scale model Grand Prix cars he built from kits as a schoolboy.
TV chef James Martin, meanwhile, will not only be displaying his private collection of classic Ferraris and Mini-Coopers but will also be running the James Martin Classic Café offering up 'good, simple, grub' to visitors.
The centrepiece of the show, however, is The Grand Avenue in association with Motoriety, a moving motoring runway , the like of which has never been seen at an indoor show before.
It will give visitors to the show the chance to see and hear rare motoring icons in action... everything from a 1920s Bugatti Type 35B to a 1990s Bugatti EB110, and from a 1930s Jaguar SS1 to an ultra rare Jaguar XJ220 supercar.
There will be cars from the dawn of motoring – like a 1902 Curved Dash Oldsmobile – to competition cars like a Gp 4 Lancia Stratos from the 1970s. Great marques include Aston Martin, Ferrari, Porsche, Maserati, Rolls-Royce and Bentley and iconic model names include Miura, E-type, 288 GTO, 959 and Ghost.
There's even a quartet of genuine Formula 1 cars from the 1950s to the 1980s, all of which will be started and driven along The Grand Avenue in a spectacular display of sound and fury.
The 60th anniversary of the dramatic Citroën DS will be celebrated with many examples of 'The Goddess' – as well as a first look at the new DS brand – on show, and there will also be displays from leading classic dealers and specialists.
Tickets are now available from the show website – www.thelondonclassiccarshow.co.uk – where early bird discounts reduce the on-the-door standard entry price from £25 to just £22.
Also available are family and group tickets, premium entry packages and access to the exclusive Preview Evening on the opening night.
Premium Tickets – which have limited availability and are already completely sold out for Saturday 10 January – will give visitors access to the premium enclosure overlooking The Grand Avenue, a drink and complimentary cloakroom plus a free copy of the official event handbook.