The Concours of Elegance remains unique in the UK as the only automotive event to be held at a royal venue each year, having previously been hosted at Windsor Castle, St James’s Palace and the Palace of Holyroodhouse. In 2014 and 2017, the Concours headed to Hampton Court Palace, quickly establishing itself as a favourite for visitors, as the perfect setting for some of the world’s most incredible vehicles. This year’s Concours saw more than 1000 of the most incredible cars ever produced gather in one of the UK’s most spectacular settings.
James Brooks-Ward, Thorough Events CEO said: “The beauty and the history of Hampton Court Palace have always been a perfect match for Concours of Elegance. Both in 2014 and again in 2017, the feedback we had from owners of the cars, from visitors and from our partners was absolutely faultless. That’s why signing this new five-year deal is such an incredibly important announcement for us – we now have a home for the next five years!” Liz Young, Head of Events at Historic Royal Palaces, emphasized: “We are delighted to have signed a five-year agreement with Concours of Elegance to hold their annual event until 2021.” Guests to the first day of the event were treated to a number of ultrarare vehicles, some of which have never been seen before in the UK. Chief among them is the Maserati A6G 2000 Gran Sport ‘Baillon Barn Find’, which wears the faded and cracked paint it was discovered with when it was unearthed in a deserted French barn in 2014.
The Ferrari 340MM Vignale Spyder – complete with eye-catching white and blue livery – entered Hampton Court Palace today having never been seen before in Europe. More than sixty of the world’s rarest cars were parked in the spectacular gardens of Hampton Court Palace vying for the honour of Best in Show, and the incredible Pullman Trophy. The quality of the cars this year was so impressive that to even be invited to attend was a triumph. Among them was the first car ever to emerge from coachbuilders, Frua, the Fiat 1100 Frua Spider and the Bugatti Type 57C Atalante Rollback. The Best in Show-winning Lancia Astura Aerodinamico Castagna wears a stunning aerodynamic body by the Italian coachbuilder, Castagna, which was in fact originally crafted for an Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Lungo and was shown at the 1934 Milan Motor Show. In 1935, on instructions from Vittorio and Bruno Mussolini, sons of the Italian dictator, it was transferred to the shortened chassis of a V8-engined Lancia Astura Series 2. The Mussolini brothers briefly raced the car under the banner of Scuderia Parioli.
Outside of the main Concours of Elegance cars, nearly 1000 other models parked at Hampton Court Palace for the weekend, including some of the finest examples from the UK’s most prestigious car clubs. A panel of expert judges, including HRH Prince Michael of Kent, chose a Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Taj Mahal, originally owned by the Maharaja of Nabha. It features a larger fuel tank, a louvered bonnet and a special tropical electrical system, all specified for its first role in life as a demonstrator for the Bombay Rolls-Royce sales office. The Silver Ghost will now compete in the main Concours display at Concours of Elegance 2018. Nearly 80 historic Jaguars were on display, competing for the Jaguar Land Rover Classic Trophy. Led by Jaguar Land Rover Classic Director, Tim Hannig, a panel of judges overwhelmingly decided the car they would most want to take home, was an impeccable 1938 SS Jaguar 2.5-litre Drophead Coupe. More than 60 Bentleys arrived in the gardens, ranging from the pre-war grand prix cars to some of Bentley’s very latest Continental models. A judging team of Bentley experts carefully assessed each and ever model on display before deciding that the Bentley Trophy be awarded to a Bentley Mk6 James Young, recently the subject of a full restoration. Supercar fans are catered for with the ‘Harry’s Garage’ display, curated by founder of the Harry’s Garage YouTube channel and evo magazine, Harry Metcalfe. Celebrating potential concours d’elegance stars of the future, it features a bare carbon fibre Pagani Zonda F, the Koenigsegg Agera RS ‘Naraya’ and Jaguar C-X75, made famous in the James Bond film Spectre. As ever with the Concours of Elegance, a huge amount of money was raised for the event’s chosen charity. With this year’s donations of almost £200,000, the Concours of Elegance has now raised more than £1.2m for charity.