The London Concours, presented by Montres Breguet, will each year shine a light on one individual’s car collection; revealing the personal stories and immense passion behind it. This year, London Concours’ The Collector is London-based, Julian Balme, showcasing a selection of legendary automotive Americana – think hot rods and big block V8s!
Setting the tone nicely is a 1932 Ford Model B Roadster, converted into a hot rod by a Californian father and son in the ‘60s. Like the AC Cobra, the1932 Ford Model B has been replicated many times but this is one of only a handful of cars in the UK that began life in one of Henry Ford’s US factories 87 years ago.
Or even more audacious; the Ford Del Rio Ranch Wagon ‘Gasser’. What started life as a regular ‘grocery-getter’ up until 1969, was turned into a ‘gasser’ competition drag racer, which needed to run on regular fuel and have working headlights. Its 7.0-litre V8 produces 540hp – enough to complete the quarter-mile in 13 seconds flat.
Then there’s the very special Lincoln Continental Cabriolet; the rarest car in Julian’s collection. Only 350 were built in 1940, the very first year of production, and this Continental is the only one in the UK – the only other existing example is in Europe.
A beautiful 1964 Ford Galaxie 500 is bringing some LA cool to the Honourable Artillery Company, powered by a lazy 6.3-litre V8. It was used to contest VSCC’s Pomeroy Trophy, the Nostalgia Drags and the first Scottish Malts Rally. And competition is a theme among Julian’s collection, which also includes a 4.7-litre V8 Falcon Sprint – twice a finisher at the Spa Six Hours – and ‘Wooly Bully’, a Lincoln Cosmopolitan which competed in the re-running of the legendary Carrera Panamericana.
But any car collection will be sprinkled with those very special cars that hold a sentimental value greater than any amount of money. A selection of these will form part of Julian’s collection at London Concours, including a Lotus Elan Plus 2S that he bought just weeks after passing his driving test. In the 36 years Julian has owned it, the Elan has had two engine rebuilds, a chassis change and a respray.