Monday, 12 September 2011

The first Chelsea Cruise

'Chelsea Cruise' means different things to different people. To South London rodders and modifiers in the late seventies it meant a meeting point for like-minded people to share wild ideas and spiralling horsepower. To local residents in the nineties it meant constant phone calls to the police because of the stolen RS Turbos racing back and forth over Chelsea Bridge. Today it's returned to its core values, with hot rods, muscle cars, classic Fords and even the odd modern to shake things up, their drivers a mix of eager youths and the die-hard old school. So how did it all begin?

The first Chelsea Cruise was organised by Custom Car magazine in May 1975, and actually took place in Battersea Park; the static nature of the meet wasn't enough for many, who jumped in their cars and rumbled across the river to the Kings Road. As the event grew in regularity and popularity, local pubs and bars laid on more staff to cope with the heaving crowds, while extra policemen were deployed to control the busy scenes. The event may not be quite so spectacular nowadays, but it's still worth popping along to Chelsea Bridge on the last Saturday of the month to see the crowds keeping the tradition alive.
These photos of the first event come from this NSRA thread.

If you continue to scroll through the thread, you'll find all sorts of fantastic photos of the Chelsea Cruise in bygone days...

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