The inaugural Chelsea Auto Legends was staged on the South Grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea in London on Sunday 5 September 2010. Opened by Sir Stirling Moss OBE, more than 5,000 enthusiasts flocked into the Royal Hospital’s grounds to see the new event.
The highlight for most was a special collection of cars showcasing more than 50 race cars from the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The comprehensive line-up spanned nearly 90 years of history and embraced many of the true greats. Aston Martins, Audis, Bentleys, Ferraris, Ford GTs, Jaguars, McLarens, Porsches and a host of other equally evocative machines were all on show.
Adding to the special occasion a host of renowned Le Mans drivers were also in attendance – many appearing on stage recounting their personal experiences of racing right through the night for 24 hours. Five-time Le Mans winner Derek Bell MBE, Sir Stirling Moss OBE, who officially opened the show, and Richard Attwood, the man who gave Porsche its first victory 40 years ago in 1970, were among those sharing their memories with show-goers. Other famous faces enjoying the friendly atmosphere included TV chef James Martin, music stars Jay Kay of Jamiroquai and Nick Mason of Pink Floyd plus BBC presenter Kate Silverton.
Special focus was also given to the 40th anniversary of Steve McQueen’s Le Mans movie, which was filmed during the 1970 Le Mans 24 Hours race. Show goers watched highlights from the Hollywood icon’s milestone film on a huge screen, and were treated to live interviews with many of the drivers who participated in the making of the movie including Derek Bell MBE, David Piper and Richard Attwood. Chelsea Auto Legends displayed the Porsche 917 and Ferrari 512S race cars that starred in the actual film.
Derek Bell MBE commented, “What a fantastic show! I don’t think I’ve ever seen quite so many Le Mans cars in one place before outside France. It was also the perfect place to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the making of Steve McQueen’s Le Mans movie. I have so many great memories of the months we took making the film with Steve back in 1970 – he was a true legend.”
The Royal Hospital Chelsea is a retirement home and nursing home for British soldiers who are unfit for further duty due to injury or old age, located in the Chelsea region of central London, now the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Founded in 1682 by King Charles II, it is a true hospital in the original sense of the word, that is a place where hospitality was provided. There are just over 300 soldiers resident in the Royal Hospital, referred to as Chelsea pensioners.
As a privileged and quite outstanding venue, Chelsea Auto Legends hopes to provide further recognition, support and funding for this grand institution. To that end, the event raised much-needed funds for the refurbishment of the Chelsea Pensioners’ home. Two auctions overseen by Bonhams raised more than £11,000 in donations.
One of the many “Men in Scarlet” present on the field for Chelsea Auto Legends 2010 was Norman Mitchell, a 90 years young World War II veteran who fought alongside the US 5th Army. Mitchell was understandably fond of the 1958 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa, chassis 0752 TR, on display courtesy of Fiskens.
Photographer Tim Scott of Fluid Images was at Chelsea Auto Legends 2010 to document the inaugural event. He offers the following 225+ images that capture the wonderful selection of cars and stars that graced the South Grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea. To see more of Tim’s work, visit fluidimages.co.uk.
Chelsea Auto Legends 2010 – Photo Gallery (click image for larger picture)