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Edinburgh, 6th of September, 2015

The second day of this week’s Concours weekend saw the opening of the annual 4th annual Concours of Elegance. After the Windsor, St. James and Hampton Court event the Royal Concours went to Scotland this year to be held in the Royal Residence in Edinburgh, Holyrood House.

Following the tour through the highlands the morning started with a parade down the Royal Mile, the main street of Edinburgh leading from the old castle down to Holyrood. In small groups the cars came down the parade street to be grouped in the yard of the castle before entering the field. Again 60 cars from different owners were lined up the following 1 ½ hour before the last car was set up precisely on his intended sport sorted by the groups starting with the very early pre-WWI cars from 1902 onwards when the first pioneers started to race the large displacement engines on dirt roads to the newest example, the 2015 Touring show car.

Looking around this year’s concours field had more space than St. James but was set up a little bit in the same style with a lot of tents surrounding compared to the clean atmosphere both at Hampton Court and especially the sensational first edition of Windsor Castle. The entry list did very much read again like the who is who of the collector cars scene although some names were missing as the Chantilly Concours is a very tough competition. Unfortunately both events again share the same weekend and several entrants of the first editions could be found on the entry list of Chantilly instead. Maybe the choice of Edinburgh was the reason as although this city provides a great atmosphere to have sightseeing most likely some of the owners’ wives might have preferred the shopping mile in London over the Royal Mile in Edinburgh. Furthermore the Royal Concours is again three days, even when not entering the Scottish Highland Tour the days before whereas the competitor in France is only one day giving a more compact schedule.

Nevertheless the selection of cars was again superb with several very interesting cars for every taste, be it the Edwardians, the luxurious Rolls-Royce or the 1950s and 1960s sports cars. Being in the heart of Scotland one feature certainly could not be missed, the Ecurie Ecosse. Apart from the racing transporter with both a Jaguar D- and C-Type no less than 3 Ecurie Ecosse cars in their typical color could be seen on the lawn with the Jaguar D-Type longnose, Tojeiro-Jaguar and a C-Type with a second C-Type just on display behind.

But not just the Ecurie held up the colors of Scotland but two of their most talented drivers were honored with a special display, Jim Clark with several Lotus and the one F1 driver who wears the tartan more proudly than anybody else, Sir Jacky Stewart. A three cars display showed his Marta and Tyrrell years.

As mentioned above the concours will be continued until Sunday when the winner of this year’s Best of Show voted by the entrants will be announced to follow the Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 Touring Berlinetta, the Bentley Speed Six “Blue Train” and the Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Flying Star as the fourth winner of this highly rated event. Some say that being voted by your own competitors might be worth more than by a jury with very different taste and opinions about the styling and restoration of a car.

The 2015 prize went to the 1903 Mercedes Simplex 60HP of Anke Ruckwarth, as owners praised the incredible engineering in this 112-year-old car, powered by a 9.2-litre four-cylinder engine and capable of nearly 80mph. Only four are known to exist.

Meanwhile, the 1927 Mercedes-Benz S Rennsport owned by Klaus Schildbach won the Spirit of the Tour award, chosen by the organisers as the driver and car pairing that was considered to enter most in to the spirit of the 200-mile Highland Tour that the ran ahead of the Concours. The Ferrari 275 GTS/4 NART Spyder of John Shirley was awarded the RAC Spirit of Motoring Award.

An impeccable Jaguar SS1 took home two prizes this year, winning both the RAC Club Trophy and the inaugural Jaguar Trophy. Two independent panels of judges, which included HRH Prince Michael of Kent, Jaguar director of design Ian Callum and Aston Martin head of design Marek Reichman, were unanimous in their decisions. As winner of the RAC Club Trophy the SS1, belonging to Michael and Linda Jewell, will be invited to take part in the main Concours in 2016.

With perfect weather for all three days of the Concours - Owners’ Day, Jaguar Land Rover Saturday and Bentley Sunday - thousands came out to enjoy the exquisite gardens of the Palace of Holyroodhouse. Among them were some very special guests, including Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Sir Jackie Stewart and Dario Franchitti.

As ever with the Concours of Elegance, this year’s event successfully raised huge amounts of money for it’s charities for 2015 Action on Addiction, Walking With the Wounded and Springfield Motor Racing’s Club for Young People.

Concours of Elegance is already planning for 2016.  To celebrate Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday next year, the event will have the biggest and most incredible selection of cars ever seen at the Concours of Elegance.

The ‘Best in Show’ award was presented by HRH Prince Michael of Kent to 1903 Mercedes Simplex 60HP owned by Anke Ruckwarth

‘The Spirit of the Tour’ award given to the Mercedes-Benz S Rennsport owned by Klaus Schildbach, while John Shirley’s Ferrari 275 GTS/4 N.A.R.T. Spyder received the Spirit of Motoring award

A gorgeous Jaguar SS1 won two awards: the RAC Club Trophy and the inaugural Jaguar Trophy

The Bentley ‘Trophy of Elegance’ was presented to Robert Lightbody and his 1996 Bentley Continental R

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Text & images … Peter Singhof