The cars of London 2012's closing ceremony

Published: 13 August 2012

At last! After a fortnight of human-powered sporting excellence, London 2012’s final bow brought something for the petrolheads to salivate over, aside from the beach volleyball. In a typically self-deprecating nod to British gridlock, the Olympic stadium’s athletics track was turned into a homage to that other endless loop synonymous with endurance, sweat and tears: the M25 orbital motorway.

As you can’t have failed to notice, BMW pulled a rather large coup when it came to providing motive power to the 2012 Olympic Games. A yellow 3-series loitered in the background at every stage of the torch relay, and a fleet of Bavarian saloons wafted Olympic officials and athletes around the capital’s Games Lanes. Even the retriever for the throwing events was a BMW Mini miniature.

However, Sunday’s closing ceremony opened the stage to multi-cultural motors, rather than just The Ultimate Marketing Machine. Swathed in newspaper like a giant Blue Peter papier-mâché traffic jam, we spotted an Alfa Romeo MiTo, Austin-Healey Frogeye Sprite, a VW Camper and an uncharacteristically reliable MG amongst many others, plus the expected Mini cameos.

Victoria Beckham swapped her bespoke Range Rover Evoque for something a little different: joining her bandmates on LTI London black cabs, variety being the Spice of life and all that. Sorry.

Rolls-Royce at the 2012 Olympic closing ceremony

Readers of a certain vintage might not be completely familiar with the back catalogues of Taio Cruz, Tinie Tempah and Jessie J, but the latest generation of Rolls-Royce Dropheads they performed in are unmistakable. Each Phantom bore a bespoke London 2012 badge in place of the familiar ‘double-R’ motif, the first time a Rolls-Royce has worn a newly-designed logo in the company’s 108-year history.

Say what you like about the choice of artistes, or the wisdom behind Jessie J singing 'it’s not about the money, money, money' while perched on the teak decking of a £293,000 convertible, but it’s surely a better demonstration of national car-building prowess than could have been mustered by our hosts four years ago…

Where were the British classics?

Then the cars were gone, replaced with a mini-Brazilian carnival and the usual fireworks extravaganza. Perhaps it’s a shame there was no Aston Martin DB5 appearance, a more substantial nod to The Italian Job, or something bang up-to-date like an Ariel Atom or BAC Mono to showcase yet more of the best of British.

Still, we might then have been denied the lingering memory of Boris performing a flawless execution of 'Dad At Wedding Disco', which didn’t so much Inspire A Generation as unite it in cringing.

>> What motoring themes would you have liked to have seen in the Olympics ceremonies? Give us your ideas in the comments below…