Last weekend we had the opportunity to attend a very special concours event at a venue just outside of London. The event in question is known as the Concours of Elegance. Traditionally, its location has varied from year to year, yet it is known for attracting entrants of the highest quality. Case and point, the Pebble Beach Concours de Elegance winner of last year, the 1929 Mercedes-Benz S Barker Tourer.
The event took place at Hampton Court Palace this year. Once owned by King Henry VIII, the superbly restored stately home provided the perfect backdrop. The cars were arranged across several gravel covered paths with a variety of side attractions to supplement what must have been the greatest selection of historic cars Hampton Court has ever witnessed.
There was no surprise that the overall winner of the event was the Barker Tourer Mercedes. Its stunning chrome and blue coachwork give it real presence. It was recently restored having spent many years hiding its original features. Sitting alongside a Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR LM, the difference is black and white. Both were at the peak of performance at one time.
Our favourite car of the show was actually one of the more oddball entries. The Czech-designed Tatra 77 is a familiar sight at Concours events. Rear engined, with a unique design and extremely rare, Hampton Court Palace’s example had a fantastic restored paint job.
The awards were given out this year according to decade. The Lamborghini Miura P400S claimed victory in the post-1970s category while the ex-Sir Stirling Moss Maserati 300S won the 1950s class. In the 1960’s class, a Porsche 917 topped the class. One of the most coveted awards, the Spirit of Motoring, went to Katie Forrest and her 1912 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Taj Mahal.
The event also puts plenty back into the community. This year’s chosen charities were the Springfield Youth Club Hackney and the College of St. George. The show also featured some interesting side attractions. No less than three McLaren F1’s gathered including a very rare McLaren F1 LM.