Classic European cars are lined up at the InterContinental hotel yesterday before a 10-day 2,500km rally across southern China.
The old world was set to meet the new as 20 Jaguar, Austin Healey, Bugatti and Rolls-Royce cars built between 1930 and 1965 left for Shenzhen, Guangzhou and Guilin - the first time most would have been seen there.
Co-ordinator Cyril Codron, 49, said organising the event, which took a year, had been surprisingly trouble-free. The idea for using the mainland for the rally of European drivers was the theme 'old meets new'.
'China is a country that has just opened up to the world,' he said. 'These cars represent a time for them when their country was cut off from the rest of us, so it's a good time to showcase where we have come from and where we are going.'
But what about the state of the roads?
'On the whole, they are surprisingly good,' he said. 'And these cars have been around for a long time, so they can take some knocks.'