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Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, 31st of August - 2nd of September, 2017

It is September and the classic car calendar is reaching its autumn highlights. All the weekends of the first proper autumn month will be flooded with events in Europe ranging from several concours to the last race meetings or hill climbs using the last snow free days in the mountains.

Snow certainly never was a theme when the Salon Privé opened its doors on the first September weekend to start a busy month with that British Contours marathon around London. Just at the same weekend as the annual Concours of Elegance in the Queens palace the Blenheim Palace is a worthy location for the concours and supercar show of the Salon Privé. For those overseas the best explanation of the Salon Privé concept might be to compare it with the Quail Lodge Motorsport Gathering that was held just a few days ago at the Monterey Peninsula during the car week.

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Although the Salon Privé attracts a lot of good cars to look at the experience is much more a social event on the base of a car show. Divided in three different days the Salon Privé is as much about Lobster and Champagne than about cars. The first day on Thursday is the typical concours day with judging from an international class in different classes to find the Best in Class and the overall Best of Show winner. Early in the morning the judges led by Derek Bell are in a rush to look at the cars on a day that might hold a few weather surprises as the weather forecast was not certain what to expect. All day the sun and the rain changed within minutes giving some glorious sunny hours between a few showers with dramatic sky. The owners and curators of the car on display were quite busy cleaning and drying the cars after every shower, the hood of the convertibles were up and down several times and the more valuable cars were covered with a cover from time to time.

7 car and 3 motorbike classes gave a wide spectrum ranging from the early prewar cars like the Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost or the Blower Bentley to the more and more popular supercars from the 1980s as the Ferrari 288 GTO and the Lamborghini Countach.

Highlight class might have been the race cars including the original Alfa Romeo P3 with a lot of patina, a triplet of Aston Martin including the sports car DB3S as well as a duo of GT cars with the DB2 works team racer and the legendary Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato. The later example was one of the even rarer lightweight versions bearing the famous registration number VEV2, one of the semi works racers competing with the GTOs in the time.

After the parade lap through the grounds of the concours and past the Blenheim Palace it was time for the presentation of the class winners including the Alfa Romeo 6CM Superflow, the Ferrari 50 GT SWB California Spyder, Lamborghini Miura, AC Cobra, Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental and Horch 853 Sport Cabriolet. They were finally lined up in the courtyard of the Palace for the final presentation of the BoS winner during the Dinner. Unconfirmed rumors say that the Alfa Romeo 6CM Superflow brought over by Steve Tillack from the US took the top crown of the day whereas the Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spyder was named BoS by public vote.

The Salon Privé will be two more days with the Boodles Ladies day tomorrow putting the beauty of the attending women in their dresses even above the beauty of the car. Saturday finally will see the second part of the concours with a Ferrari display celebrating the 70th anniversary of the marque.
Unfortunately time is limited during this weekend so we have to move over to the Hampton Court Concours tomorrow leaving you with a preview gallery of what will come in the next day’s covering the first day of Salon Privé.

Images ... Peter Singhof