Motorexpo 2010: Show report
There aren't many things that you can do in London these days that are free, and a motor show is not the first thing that you would expect to get into for nothing.
But the cost of a tube journey to Canary Wharf is all it takes for the opportunity to spend some time with both exotic and normally exclusive cars this week.
The London Motorexpo is now in its 15th year after weathering the financial pain of the previous two, and is determined to keep pitching up at its now traditional site among the glass skyscrapers and coffee shops at the heart of financial London.
Motorexpo MD Graeme Carver expects around 350,000 people to visit the site this week (the show runs until Sunday 13 June) with as many as 80,000 coming along at the weekend.
The show was launched in 1996 to give the rich, predominantly male workers in Canary Wharf a chance to have a look at something they might be interested in. "We found the workers in the area were interested in three things – money, girls and cars. They were all high earners, and obviously we couldn't do anything about the girls, so we chose to put on a car show," said Carver.
Despite the money woes that many of the potential show-goers are likely to have undergone in the last couple of years, the 2010 show features some of the most exotic brands in the motoring world. Bentley, Jaguar and BMW are all aiming to use the event to hawk their cars, and visitors can also spend some time with the likes of the Alfa Romeo showing off its 8C convertible, and Mercedes with the SLS AMG.
For those that can justify spending a bit longer away from their desk, some brands will even let you have a drive in their cars - Land Rover have set up a mini assault course for its vehicles that showcases the off-road talent of the range.