The Canary Wharf Motor Expo, London

DSC_0215While in London a few weeks ago I was tipped off to a motor show taking place in the city by Chris, who I was staying with. Lured in by the phrases “tons of cars” and “some really nice one’s too”, I hopped the tube for a look. And what I discovered was not so much a motor expo, but a whole new concept I’d never considered before.

DSC_0307The expo was taking place at the bottom of the Canary Wharf Tower, where Chris works. And here’s the brilliant idea – traditional motor shows are going the way of the dodo – they’re expensive to put on, and the only people who bother to attend them are penniless anoraks like myself. So why not bring the show to the time poor people who actually want to buy these cars? Such a simple concept, and the canary wharf motor expo showed how it can be executed perfectly.

DSC_0202In the foyer sat the kinds of cars most dream of…

DSC_0197… and outside, the kinds of cars most actually buy.

DSC_0211From track toys…

DSC_0266… to the more refined of sporting cars, it was all there and was filled with guys in suits who were no doubt planning on earmarking their afternoon to deciding how to theoretically best spend the money they were currently earning.

DSC_0247The most theoretically temping for me were the offerings from Bowler. These are seriously cool bits of kit.

DSC_0242Removing yourself from a bog has never been easier!

DSC_0251This race version is heading to Dakar next year. ‘But I want one I can drive to the shops’, I hear you cry.

DSC_0236Enter the Bowler EXR-S. As fast as a Ferrari F430 on a straight stretch of tarmac, and significantly faster than one off it, I asked the Bowler rep who actually buys these cars. “Cashed up lunatics mostly. They’ll own a Ferrari or an Aston, but they want something to have fun with in winter”. Given the English weather, I can’t argue with the logic.

DSC_0230It really is the Porsche GT3 of the off road. Whilst it bears resemblance to a Range Rover Sport, it’s a completely bespoke, hand made performance car underneath just using the base engine and a few trim bits like lights, door handles and dash.

DSC_0287Meanwhile out the front, some of the manufacturers had demo cars and there were posters encouraging test drives. For some reason a drive was never offered to me, though. I wonder why.

DSC_0277And as I walked back to the tube, I had something in common with all those office workers. I too was engaging in some escapism, of which the Bowler was mighty tempting. But in the end, my particular form of freedom would no doubt come from the little hamlet of Hethel.

Words and photos by Andrew Coles

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  1. Viano July 1, 2013 Reply

    Mmm, methinks an event in Sydney or Melbourne, of this nature, is called for. I believe the Rinnovi/Any Given Reason/Old Man Jaksa team need to swing into action

    • Andrew Coles July 3, 2013 Reply

      My mind is ticking away with ideas... sounds like a good topic to discuss over some wine when I get home!

  2. Tom Gilbert July 1, 2013 Reply

    "Cashed up lunatics mostly.." you don't generally hear that sort of candour from a car dealer and I am one. (a car dealer that is...)
    Great format, great idea, bring it on..

    • Andrew Coles July 3, 2013 Reply

      Interestingly, I've found the people here in Europe to be a lot more candid in general, you don't get so much of the marketing jargon like we do back home. Having said that, the Bowler guys know their target audience well, and I'm sure he meant cashed up lunatic in the most complementary way :)

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