Autonomous driving is the phrase of the moment, but perhaps it’s not as new as we think it is…
Out today, this new short film from London classics dealer Hexagon shows some gorgeous cars – Ferrari 250 Cali Spider, ex Stirling Moss Aston DB4 GT, E-type, Porsche 356 – slowly prowling the capital’s night-time streets… apparently without drivers. You’re ready to believe a Knight Industries Two Thousand (KITT) Trans Am may even put in an appearance (it doesn’t)…
It’s all down to postproduction video trickery of course, rather than the radar and camera systems of the coming autonomous tech, but even so it makes for a captivating little film, as well as a costly car ad: there’s about £20m worth of metal in the video.
It’s been done to drive home a message about how 2016 is going to be Hexagon’s big year. A new flagship showroom, ‘The Hexagon’, in Finchley is under construction. In what may be a car showroom first, it will also house a restaurant (with a Michelin-starred chef, they say), an art gallery, retail store and coffee bar. ‘It will bring together classic cars and luxury lifestyle like nowhere else in London,’ says Hexagon.
Hexagon has long been a destination for London sports cars lovers. Started in 1963 in Belsize Park by Paul Michaels, the current chairman, the company has represented marques including Porsche, BMW, Alfa Romeo and Reliant, and is Lotus’ official London dealer. Lotus operations are based at its South Ken showroom while the new Hexagon building in Finchey will specialise in classics, modern classics – and the occasional racing car.
Like so many car dealers in the past Hexagon’s heritage is interwoven with motor racing. The firm started with Jag D-types, moved into F5000 and then in 1973/4 entered Formula 1 as a privateer team, enlisting John Watson to drive a Brabham BT44 – who promptly brought it home fourth in the Austrian GP!
Hexagon’s passion for racing continues, with a recent purchase being a 1987 Porsche 962 with fourth and eighth Le Mans finishes under its wheels. It’s one of the 40 cars – including many classic road Porsches – that will go on display at the new showroom when it opens in March, with the rest of the new complex due to open by the end of the year.
Paul Michaels told GRR: ‘The Hexagon will be a real destination – a place where you can enjoy the finest food, finest coffee and indulge your love of the finest cars too. Just like our new film Icons of the Road, I don’t think anyone has done anything like it before.’