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Hampton Court, 1st to 3rd of September, 2017

Welcome to part two of the early September Concours marathon in London. After visiting the Salon Privé yesterday we joined the entrants of the 6th British Concours of Elegance for the “owner’s day”. After the inaugural Concours for the Queens 60th crown jubilee in her summer house in Windsor Castle the concours did a round trip through the British kings palace followed by St. James, Hampton Court, the Scottish Holyrood Palace and again for her 90th anniversary in Windsor. This year the concours returned to Hampton Court south-west of London located at the river Themse.

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Throughout the years the Concours of Elegance did keep its original format of about 60 cars a year giving it a worthy setup in a royal ambience without stuffing cars in the settings. With the changing locations also the overall look of the concours changes year by year as in Windsor and Holyrood the cars were parked on the lawn on perfect trimmed grass whereas Hampton Courts provides ideal gravel paths in a lovely English garden featuring a fountain in the middle as a center where the cars meet the sponsor tents.

After doing a tour in the last few days the cars arrived this morning through one of the countless gates to do a parade around the fountain and all entrants were welcomed by Prince Michael of Kent who is known for being a petrol head so this is for more than just a formal duty but more of a pleasure for the prince. It took a while until all the cars have settled at their designated spot and the cars shone in the sun after having some rough weather in the previous days giving the owners and detailers some work to have the car in perfect condition for the day. Certainly only few of them took it as serious as on other events like Pebble Beach as a perfect presentation was rather a question of honor than a necessity for the concours as the Concours of Elegance does not have a conventional judging but the owners themselves are supposed to vote for the Best of Show among the entrants.

This gives the whole event a rather relaxed atmosphere without any pressure but also leaves a lot of spare time for the entrants. After the announcement of the Best of Show on the Friday dinner it was decided to make the announcement later on Saturday as it seemed that many of the owners left the day after and let the curators of friends take care of the car but as the Chantilly Concours does not clash with the British Concours weekend there might be less rush.

Today was a perfect day and unlike yesterday there was no rain throughout the day and most of the time the sun was shining, some locals joked that the weather was actually very un-British.

Looking over the field the selection was again very varied ranging from an early horseless carriage to the latest supercars like the Ferrari LaFerrari Aperta to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the prancing horse. Certainly this was not the only Ferrari on show although one has to admit that the organizers were able to make this not a Ferrari show as some other events this year. Still the 250MM with Pininfarina Coupé body brought over by Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason certainly was an eye-catcher with his Carrera Panamericana livery, one of few race car liveries on display. Although the Ferrari 250 GT TdF was developed for racing as well it was displayed in a rather civil dark red paint that suited the cars very much already the day before at the Salon Privé. The 340 MM was in American race colors blue-white, the SBW in Silver. For the anniversary of Ferrari RM Sotheby´s will return to Maranello for the Leggenda e Passione action where a few years ago the James Coburn Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder made headlines for achieving a record price. Still presented in the very stylish black color the open GT was surrounded by fans of the Italian marque all day.

Just until the sale of the Aston Martin DBR1 in Monterey the DB4 GT Zagato on show was the most expensive car on action from the marque from Newport Pagnell and the typical green GT from 1962 still looked immaculate in Hampton Court. Further Aston Martin included the very early “Clover leaf” as well as a later Le Mans model, furthermore in the park the oldest Aston Martin (A3) could be seen. The other British marques were also represented very strong as Bentley did have the oldest Le Mans entry 3 Litre on display but also a very original 4 ½ Litre Victor Broom. The car made headlines in virtually every car magazine after being found on the attic of a house making this a house- rather than a barn find. After being reassembled by William Metcalf it was shown on different occasions in unrestored condition, now after being restored into former glory this remains one of the prettiest designs to grace a 4-cylinder Cricklewood Bentley.

After having met at the BRC the day before 5 Jaguar D-Type entered the field at noon setting another highlight of the day. Especially the Le Mans winning longnose example of the Louwman Collection showed that even the smallest sports car can carry three generations from the family on the parade.

Finally the sun started to set over Hampton Court and the first day of the concours ended when the diligent helpers started to cover the cars with their tailor made covers labelled with the concours emblem and the name of the car making this a great souvenir for the years to come. After taking the last images in the fading sun it was time to say goodbye to Hampton Court although the visitors have two more days to experience the location and the line-up of 60 of the most iconic cars.

We set up a preview gallery including all cars on display, a more detailed gallery with more details showing the beauty of the design will follow the next days.

Images ... Peter Singhof