London’s first car show is to be recreated at its birthplace, 120 years after the inaugural event.

1896-exhibition-programme-cover-800Historical vehicles from the turn of the century will gather at Imperial College London in Kensington for The Horseless Carriage Exhibition on the 7th and 8th May 2016 to honour the original 1896 motor show.

The 1896 Horseless Carriage Exhibition was hosted at the Imperial Institute – now part of Imperial College London – by the newly created Motor Car Club and kick-started Britain’s motor industry. The 2016 recreation of this historic event will see a unique collection of both static and working vehicles from that era return to Exhibition Road.

The oldest is an accurate replica of the original 1885/6 Benz Tricycle, widely considered the world’s first automobile, and other notable examples of steam-powered vehicles, such as the 1896 Salvesen, and silent electric cars such as the 1901 Waverley Electric.


The motor exhibition also forms part of the Imperial Festival, a weekend celebration of science and engineering, music and art, talks and workshops.

Festival goers can meet the students designing, building, testing and racing, zero-emission racing cars, and learn about the batteries that will power vehicles of tomorrow. They can also see miniaturised turbo engines, explore the importance of combustion, and touch the low friction surfaces that will make engines more efficient.

Beyond transport, this year’s Imperial Festival will showcase research topics as diverse as hallucinogenic brain activity, the science of toys and the future of disability sport.

Entry to the festival and car exhibition is free.

  • Saturday 7 May 12.00 – 18.00
  • Sunday 8 May 12.00 – 17.00

Imperial College London, Exhibition Road, London, SW7 2AZ

Also on ianVisits

Whats's on in London: today or tomorrow or this weekend