The London Concours, presented by Montres Breguet, will be hosting a unique celebration of Hot Rod culture during its 2020 event. The ‘Speed of Sand’ class, presented by the Ace Café (famous for its Hot Rod evenings) and the Vintage Hot Rod Association, celebrates pre-1949 American Hot Rods and their annual pilgrimage to Pendine Sands.
Organised by the Vintage Hot Rod Association, the annual Pendine Sands Hot Rod Races see over 150 pre-1949 modified American cars converge on the beach to battle it out for class records, entry to the 100mph club and, ultimately, for the ‘King of the Beach’ crown. Differing from most other beach racing, on Pendine Sands it’s about hitting top speed rather than a short sprint.
The Sands were once known as the fastest place on Earth, thanks to a fierce rivalry in the 1920s between Malcom Campbell and J.G. Parry-Thomas, both of whom fought for the land speed record on the seven-mile arrow straight stretch of hard sand running from the village of Pendine towards Ginst Point. Ever since 2013’s VHRA Hot Rod Races, speed has returned to the Sands, attracting a global audience of Hot Rod enthusiasts, many of whom will be represented at the London Concours.
Matt Farrant, three-time King of the Beach will be bringing his 1929 Ford Model A Roadster pick-up. Having taken many forms before his stewardship, Matt’s Model A was stock for many years until an unfortunate engine expiry. That’s when ideas for a ‘50s California style Hot Rod, complete with Chevrolet V8 came up, settling on an early 1960s style street roadster. His goal is to run a 12-second quarter mile on a dragstrip, as well as bettering the 119mph he has clocked on the sand. Despite being so performance orientated, the Model A is still used as a road trip car, spending thousands of miles on smooth tarmac each year.
Rebecca Dunn, the fastest woman on the sand, will also be at London Concours with her 1930 Ford Model A Coupe. As with most hot rods, a lot of things are chopped and changed from multiple brands and models; the Model A runs a Desoto Hemi 330 cu-in engine with Lincoln brakes and Buick finned drums and other bits and bobs from Ford and Plymouth. On the sand, there are only two women who have managed to break the 100mph barrier in their own cars and Rebecca is one of them.
Taking influence from modifiers of the time, Chris Rawlins styled his 1932 Ford Streamliner on 1940s-era California dry lakes modified Hot Rod. Fitted with a Ford Flathead V8, gearbox and rear axle, this uniquely styled car features a modified canopy section from a WW2 T6 Texan aircraft, enclosing the driver. He has, for a number of years, entered and bettered his position in the 100mph club as well as securing a number of class wins.
At the London Concours 2020, taking place from 19-20 August, over 100 automotive icons will gather in classes, ranging from ‘The Pursuit of Speed’ to ‘The Era of the Hypercar’ within the confines of the most luxurious lawn in the square mile.