"I Photographed These Classic Cars Before They Vanish From London's Roads Altogether"

"I Photographed These Classic Cars Before They Vanish From London's Roads Altogether"

As London's ULEZ expanded, Ray Knox decided to photograph the vintage and classic cars that are becoming an increasingly rare sight on the capital's roads. Here's a selection of his photos, and the story behind them.

An orange VW Campervan
VW Campervan

I had started going for late-night walks during lockdown and spotted many of these classic cars and campervans parked under the eerie glare of streetlights.

A Citroen DS, mostly covered in sheeting
Citroen DS

With the extension of the Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) due to start, I knew many of these vehicles would undoubtedly get forced off the road.

An orange Fiat 500
Fiat 500

The decision to photograph them was prompted when I was forced to sell my cherished 20-year-old Fiat Punto because it failed to meet the emissions requirements.

A burgundy and silver Cadillac Brougham
Cadillac Brougham

I also felt it was important to document them before they finally disappeared from the capital's streets and part of our motoring heritage is lost.

A rusty Chevrolet Corvair parked in a weedy garden
Chevrolet Corvair

My favourite vehicle is the VW campervan, I knew the scene had potential, but I had to return to the location three or four times to have the ideal conditions to make the photograph.

A banana yellow Morris Minor Van
Morris Minor Van

The image of the Fiat 126 with a Ferrari sticker I find amusing. I wonder if it makes the car go any faster.

A white Ford Escort XR3i parked on a hill
Ford Escort XR3i

I find these older vehicles captivating. They have a charm and personality that very few modern cars have.

A red Fiat 126 that thinks it’s a Ferrari, thanks to a rogue badge
Fiat 126 that thinks it’s a Ferrari

There is definitely an element of nostalgia behind my project and I can't help but think back to the early '80s and the first car I owned, a Mini Cooper.

The back of a VW Beetle parked outside a house
VW Beetle

Photographing at night I prefer using a tripod and working with ambient light from streetlamps or lights from passing cars.

An orange Peugeot 304
Peugeot 304

Artificial light transforms the mundane space inducing an eerie, dreamlike quality to the images and creating an air of mystery.

A Mini Cooper with a black and white checked roof
Mini Cooper

Where possible I tried to capture solitary, isolated vehicles in deserted streets, and devoid of people.

A white Citroen 2CV
Citroen 2CV

This was to convey a feeling of quiet solitude.

A red Mercedes-Benz with matching hub caps
Mercedes-Benz

I think it is a positive move to clean up London’s air and reduce pollution, but unfortunately it also means it's the End of the Road for many classic vehicles, hence the title of my project.

A silver VW Beetle parked by a bin
VW Beetle

London has always been a fantastic place to spot older classic vehicles and it is sad to see them disappear.

A white Chrysler Executive Limousine
Chrysler Executive Limousine

Check out more of Ray Knox's photography on his website.

Last Updated 29 October 2021

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