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Windsor, 7th - 9th of September

Just after the Salon Privé in London´s Syon Park we headed 15 miles west to Windsor Castle to visit one of the best events in recent years. 60 years ago Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain was crowned in February 1952 and this year sees many celebrations of the diamond jubilee including the concours in the royal country residence of Windsor.

According to the motto “60 years, 60 cars and 60 collectors” the organizers sent out 60 invitations to the most important collectors on both sides of the Atlantic to bring their prized treasures to Windsor and most of them were more than happy to join the celebration. The exclusivity and the unique cause convinced even those who have seen all the big events in the past and about a third of them did not spare efforts and expenses to fly their car over from the US. When looking over the entrants list it reads like to who-is-who in the classic car world including Pebble Beach Concours Chairwoman Sarah Button, collectors John & Craig McCaw, Chip Connors, Sir Michael Kadoorie, Peter Mullin, Robert M Lee, Joseph Cassini, James Patterson and Jon Shirley to name a few. Most of them are known for winning major concours all over the world and the cars on show did not include less than 3 recent BoS of Pebble Beach.

We had the chance to visit the Concours on Friday, the owners day with limited access to take a first look at the cars. Early in the morning the day started with a parade on the “long walk”, the alley leading to Windsor Castle before setting them up in the central quadrangle, the Upper Ward just under the windows of the Queen´s own rooms. The visitors had to go through a airport like security check before walking up by the sponsors tents through the George IV gateway to enter the lawn. Even those who are spoiled by viewing many of the best cars in the world on various other events were impressed by the line-up on the grass. Other concours might have some cars of equal quality but the restriction in the number led to a overall quality that is unmatched. Within these 60 cars it was difficult to name one that did not deserve to be presented here, some of them unique in type or coachwork, others in provenance or just icons of their time. All the great marques including Alfa Romeo, Delage, Delahaye, Voisin, Mercedes-Benz, Bentley or Rolls-Royce were presented on the pre-war side, Ferrari, Maserati, Porsche and Maserati on the post-war side.

The cars from the dawn of motoring were found in the St George´s Class, among the Edwardian were a Panhard et Levassor, a Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost with the rare London-Edinburgh Tourer body and especially a Straker-Squire X/2 once owned by Bertie Kensington-Moir (later team manager of the legendary Bentley Boys) and brought all the way from Argentina.

The class of the Grand Carriages (Thames Class) featured a superb duo of Bentley Speed Six, one with a wonderful Gurney-Nutting fabric tourer, the other with a two-tone saloon body by H.J.Mulliner. The later one was presented a few weeks ago in this year Pebble Beach Maharaja class and had a rare lighten Lalique ornament. Even more iconic is the Blower Bentley, the presented model had a VdP tourer body with flared wings. Another interesting car was the Voisin C.25 Berline Aerodyne that won its class at Pebble in 2006 and that is the sister car of the last years BoS from the Mullin Collection.

The most impressive class was the Frogomore Class with the aristocratic behemoths, huge luxury cars specially built for the wealthy or in the case of the Bugatti for the royals. Star of this class was the Rolls-Royce Phantom I Jonckheere Coupé from the Petersen Collection that was also presented at this year Concorso d´Eleganza at the Villa d´Este. This car dating from 1925 was rebodied in the mid 1930s by the Belgian coachbuilder Henri Janckheere and used to be the most dramatic design found on any Rolls-Royce including round doors and a very long floating line. Not less impressive was the Daimler Double-Six 50 with Corsica DHC body that won Pebble Beach in 2006, an elegant car on a long underslung chassis. The 8 Litre Bentley with VdP body in Le Mans style was more a drivers machine with the arm thick exhaust pipes unlike many of the saloon bodies of the same type. Finally the Bugatti Type 41 Royal Kellner Coupé found its way to a royal home during the concours as it was intended for this clientele originally but was never acquired by royals in period. Today this is the most sought after collector car rarely seen during events, this particular car was the most expensive motor car in the 1980s with a price of 5.5 Mio Pound and is today still totally original and unrestored.

The Brunswick Class featured 4 pre-war racing cars ranging from a Mercedes-Benz SSK with a short Corsica DHC body and a displacement of 7.1 litre, on the other side a small Frazer Nash with just 1.5 litre. The most successful car of its time was the legendary Alfa Romeo 8C 2300, two of them were in Windsor, both with short chassis and both raced by legendary personalities. The Zagato Spyder was first registered for the Scuderia Ferrari and was driven by no less than Tazio Nuvolari himself, the other one is even the 1934 Le Mans winning Brianza in the hands of Luigi Chinetti who became famous for importing the first Ferreris to the US and founding the North American Racing Team (N.A.R.T.).

The evolution of the 8C 2.3 was the later 8C 2.9 that was also available in long and short chassis form with open or closed body. The most beautiful were without doubt the Touring Spyder and Berlinetta, the first on both chassis length, the later on the long chassis. Whereas the dark blue Touring Berlinetta was in perfectly restored condition, the Spyder was originally owned by Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands and after the war it was decorated with a Canadian flag to honour the liberators of his country at the end of the war. Today´s owner removed a later layer of paint to resurface the original grey colour with a lot of nice patina.

Just after a win at the Concours in St.John two months ago and more important 2 years ago at Pebble Beach the white Delage D8S de Villars Roadster of James Patterson stood side by side with the Delahaye V12 V45 and Chapron body from the Mullin Automotive Museum.

The Chancellor´s Class of “magnificent machines” was a German-British affair. The two Bentleys from the early Crewe era after the takeover of Bentley by Rolls Royce showed the evolution of the coachwork in the late 1930s. Whereas the Vesters&Neirinck FHC is a very elegant design of the period the famous Emiricos Bentley (named after its first owner) with streamlined Pourtout Coupé is a more radical. The one-off designed by Georges Paulin was even private entered at Le Mans when Rolls Royce had no interest in this race and the Le Mans history of Bentley. The two German cars were the rivals of the days, Horch and Mercedes. The Horch was a standard 853a Cabriolet, the Mercedes-Benz the most elegant 500 K Special Roadster, a 540 variation of this design set the auction record for a pre-war car at the Gooding sale last month. Today many of the less elegant Cabriolet B were rebodied to special roadster specification but this car was found in total original condition behind a butcher´s shop and restored to perfection, today it is in the Dutch National Motor Museum.

No less than 5 classes were dedicated to sports cars. The first, the Saxon Class with cars from the thirties included a very rare Squire featuring a very complex 1.5 litre engine with 105 hp. With just 7 cars built this is a small but very interesting side marker in the history of the automobile. The Lagonda LG45 and the Jaguar SS100 are icons of the British car industry.

The Consort Class of the early post-war sportive coachbuilt cars featuring the work of Pinin Farina, Zagato, Ghia and Touring.

Touring and the patented Superleggera technique is responsible for some of the best looking cars just before and after the war. After the two Alfa Romeo mentioned earlier some of the first Ferrari were bodied by the Milanese company. The Ferrari 166 MM was long time in the collection of the late Jacques Swaters, the two-tone blue-green colour combination adds a lot to the timeless elegance of the tiny 12-cylinder. Before Pinin Farina became the favourite coachbuilder of Ferrari they worked on many other chassis like the Bristol 400 and the Lancia Aurelia, but the most exciting was the Maserati A6 G54, one of only a handful built. This car was displayed earlier this year in the new Casa Enzo Ferrari museum in Modena.

The Supersonic was one of Ghia´s most famous designs, most of them built on the Fiat 8V, but also on an Jaguar and an Aston Martin. The car on show was one of the Fiat 8V and was winner of several concours on the continent.

Zagato is known for its sleek design with the famous double bubble on the roofline to add stability to the aluminium body, one of the best looking cars is the 250 GT Zagato Berlinetta of Zagato Collector David Sydorick. This car is regularly seen on the concours of the world and was one of the cover cars on a former Pebble Beach poster.

Even more sportive was the class of race cars ranging from the last Jaguar C-Type built, a works Austin Healey 100 S brought by Mark Knopfler (singer and guitarist of Dire Straits) to a small Porsche 550 Spyder that became famous after James Dean died in a sister car. The Aston Martin DB3S is one of the team cars, the 9th of 11 built for the works entries at races such as Le Mans or Goodwood. This particular car was second in Le Mans in the hands of Sir Stirling Moss and Peter Collins, the best result of Aston Martin until David Brown finally got his desired victory in 1959.

Ferrari was presented by two cars in this class, a 290 MM and a 250 TR/58. The 290 MM is named after the Mille Miglia and was one of the cars entered in the 1956 sports car championship along the 4 cylinder 860 Monza. This particular car was driven at the Mille Miglia to a fourth place by Manuel Fangio.

The 250 TR/58 one show was chassis 0704TR, the second TR built and features a great patina. After 30 years in the Henry Ford Museum fortunately none of the later owners restored it but a renovation brought this car back in driving condition demonstrated on various occasions. Not less patina could be found on the Maserati Tipo 60 Birdcage, named after the filigree tube frame.

The Ensign Class featured design icons of the 1950s and 1960s starting with a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL with the famous Gullwing doors entered by Paul Stewart, Jackie´s son. The main rival of the roadster variation was the BMW 507, this example was a donation from Count Agusta to works driver John Surtees after the World Championship on the MV Agusta. Surtees still owns the car today and might be one of only a few first owners of this car remaining.

Jaguar had two cars in this class, a very original XKSS (the street version of the D-Type) and a E-Type. The AC Cobra is celebrating its golden jubilee this year but the most elegant car in the class was the light blue metallic Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato, the last of 19 built.

The last class was the Lancester Class of legendary masterpieces. Masterpieces are without doubt the Ferrari 250 GTO and its predecessor, the 250 GT SWB. Especially the 250 GTO celebrating it golden jubilee in 2012 and is featured in almost every concours is always a show stopper. The dark blue example is very well known and in superb preserved condition. The first car named supercar by the press was the Lamborghini Miura, the car at Windsor was a desirable Miura SV in typical yellow paint.

The class was rounded off by a Ford GT40 MKIII, a rare road version of Ford´s Ferrari challenger that won Le Mans no less than 4 times.

So now, when looking over these 60 cars one could ask how to choose a favourite, fortunately the organizers avoided a competition between the collectors by waiving a jury and class prizes. The Best of Show was voted by the entrants themselves and was announced during the dinner after the owners day on Friday evening. Best of Show was donated to Jon Shirley for his 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 Touring Berlinetta adding another victory to his long list. After running the Alfa in the 2006 Mille Miglia on trouble free 1000 miles through Italy the car was restored just in time for the 2008 Pebble Beach Concours where it won Best of Show. In 2009 the car was displayed at the Concorso d´Eleganza at the Villa d´Este where it was the first car to win all 3 major prices including both public votes and the BoS of the Jury. Later that year it was also voted for the Louis Vuitton Award, the best of all Concours winners of the previous year. One can see that this car is not just favoured by the judges all over the world but it is also considered the best amongst the collectors themselves making this an even higher ranking prize apart from all the politics on the concours circus.

Conclusion: In some press releases the concours was called “the first one” indicating this might not be the last Windsor Concours. Although another edition of equal quality would be more than welcome one might doubt that this is possible. First of all many of the collectors came because of the unique character and further editions might not be that attractive to them anymore so quality might decrease. But this would also mean that it might dampen the experience of the first edition as an annual or biennial event would not be that special anymore. But this is the future and for now we are happy to cover one of the best events in years. We hope that we can give you an impression of the concours with the following pictures, at the moment one for every car on the lawn. A more extensive gallery will follow at a later date.

Text & images ... Peter Singhof www.ClassicCarPhotography.de


 1896 Panhard et Levassor Private Omnibus
 1904 Lenawee Rear-Entrance Touring Tonneau
 1912 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost London-Edinburgh Tourer
 1914 Sunbeam Tourist Trophy
 1918 Straker-Squire X/2 Prototype

 1924 Vauxhall 30-98 Type OE Boattail Wensum Tourer
 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Barker Open Tourer
 1930 Bentley Gurney-Nutting Speed Six Tourer
 1930 Bentley Speed Six H.J.Mulliner Saloon
 1931 Bentley 4½ Litre Supercharged ‘Blower Bentley’
 1935 Avions Voisin C-25 Berline Aérodyne

 1925 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Jonckheere Coupé
 1931 Daimler Double-Six 50 Sport Corsica Drophead Coupé
 1931 Bugatti Type 41 Royale 'Kellner' Coupé
 1932 Bentley 8 Litre Tourer
 1933 Duesenberg Model SJ Beverly Berline by Murphy
 1933 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental Gurney Nutting Sedanca Drophead Coupé
 1958 Bentley Continental S Type H J Mulliner

 1928 Mercedes-Benz SSK Corsica Drophead Coupé
 1932 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Zagato Spider
 1934 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 LM Spyder Le Mans
 1935 Frazer Nash Twin Supercharged ‘Shelsley’

 1932 Cadillac V-16 Fisher Convertible Coupe
 1933 Delage D8S de Villars Roadster
 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Corto Touring Spider
 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Touring Berlinetta
 1938 Delahaye V12 Type 145
 1938 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante

 1936 Mercedes-Benz 500k Special Roadster
 1937 Bentley 4¼ Litre Vesters & Neirinck Fixed Head Coupé
 1938 Bentley 4¼ Litre ‘Embiricos’ Pourtout Coupé
 1939 Horch 853A Cabriolet

 1935 Squire 1500 Markham Roadster Short Chassis ‘Skimpy’
 1936 Delahaye 135S
 1937 Lagonda LG45 Rapide Tourer
 1939 SS100 Jaguar
 1939 AC 16/90

 1947 Bristol 400 Pinin Farina Drophead
 1950 Ferrari 166 MM Touring Barchetta 0064M
 1953 Fiat 8V Ghia Supersonic
 1953 Maserati A6GCS Pinin Farina Berlinetta
 1955 Lancia Aurelia B24 Pinin Farina Spider
 1956 Ferrari 250GT Zagato Berlinetta 0515GT

 1953 Jaguar XK ‘C Type’ 053 Lightweight
 1954 Austin-Healey ‘Works’ 100S
 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder
 1956 Ferrari 290 MM Scaglietti Spider 0626
 1956 Aston Martin DB3S/9
 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa TR58 Scaglietti 0704TR
 1959 Maserati Tipo 60 ‘Birdcage’

 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Coupé ‘Gullwing’
 1957 Jaguar XKSS
 1957 BMW 507
 1961 Jaguar E-Type Roadster ‘77 RW’
 1963 AC Cobra 289
 1963 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato Berlinetta

 1961 Ferrari SWB Berlinetta 3037GT
 1963 Ferrari 250 GTO Series 1 4219GT
 1968 Ford GT40 MKIII
 1972 Lamborghini Miura SV