Once again, the Blue Elephant Thai restaurant at the Novinsky Passazh, Barrikadnaya, staged the Ladies Classic Car Rally. Under the patronage of Moscow Mayor, Yuri Lushkov, this year’s event was a great success, with bright sunshine, stunning drivers and navigators and a good crowd of spectators who enjoyed the champagne, the food and the music. There was even a wandering magician, who amazed the spectators with his ability to get an elderly Volga going which all the mechanics present were unable to start. He produced dollar bills from thin air too. The event was graced with the presence of the former Miss World, Oksana Feodorova, and world-champion gymnast, Svetlana Khorkina….
Amongst the cars, were Jaguars, two Rolls Royces, a Lincoln, a stunning white Cord, a luscious red Austin-Healy, a beautifully-restored Russian army jeep, complete with ladies in steel helmets, and several Mercedes sports cars from the days before national speed limits. If only Stirling Moss had been there in a Mercedes 722 with Denis Jenkinson in the navigator's seat, it would have been like the start of the famous Mille Miglia in 1955. As it was, instead of cars accelerating homicidally along Via Dante, we had them accelerating none too cautiously out into the afternoon traffic along the Garden Ring road, which means they were probably doing 70 mp.h. before hitting the underpass below the Arbat. Bemused Militsia-men looked on, and the band played 1930's German jazz of the sort Lord Haw-Haw broadcast during the war. And of course, the champagne never stopped. In fact the only thing that stopped was the Volga – plus, embarrassingly enough, one of the Jaguars.