Concours of Elegance 2020 – A display of automotive perfection

This years Concours of Elegance returned once again to the splendid grounds of Hampton Court Palace. It was a significant weekend for the show, which was the first major international concours d’elegance event to take place since Amelia Island in March. Like many other large scale public events around the globe, the Concours was essentially at the mercy of government guidance, the threat of renewed restrictions always an uncomfortable reality. But thankfully the show was able to press ahead, with visitors treated to a wonderful display of automotive perfection at Henry VIII’s royal palace.

Adding to the overwhelming sense of the relief that the Concours was going ahead, was the fact that the show was blessed with glorious weather for the whole weekend. It was a very welcomed stroke of good fortune, with many visitors and indeed exhibitors attending their very first car show of 2020. It seems strange to be saying that in the month of September, but it is a reflection of the current virus dominated times we live in. It was therefore very fitting that the sun came out to bask the wonderful cars in glorious sunshine over the weekend.

Concours of Elegance 2020 - A display of automotive perfection
Arriving in style in the 1958 BMW 507
Concours of Elegance - Automotive Perfection at the Palace
The gorgeous 1965 Lancia Flaminia Super Sport Zagato
Concours of Elegance 2020 - A display of automotive perfection
The 1955 HWM Jaguar that was once raced by Peter Blond
Concours of Elegance 2020 - A display of automotive perfection
The gorgeous Jaguar XK150 S Bertone arrives at the Concours
Concours of Elegance 2020 - A display of automotive perfection
Followed by the equally gorgeous Delahaye 135 MS, with the 1924 Aston Martin Cloverleafand the fascinating 1921 Leyat Helica bringing up the rear

VIP guests were greeted to an impressive arrival on the Friday morning, as a convoy of display cars made their way through the parkland and into the Great Fountain Garden. A brief shower threatened to put a dampener on proceedings, but it quickly cleared as the cars and their owners arrived. The morning procession has become a key ritual of the Concours of Elegance, the opportunity to see some of the rarest and most expensive classics and super cars on the planet arrive under their own power is not one to be missed.

Concours of Elegance 2020 - A display of automotive perfection
Ford v Ferrari arrived with a rumble
Concours of Elegance 2020 - A display of automotive perfection
The very fine 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4
Concours of Elegance 2020 - A display of automotive perfection
This mighty 1964 AC Cobra added to the V8 rumble
Concours of Elegance 2020 - A display of automotive perfection
Which was topped by the V12 sound of this iconic 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO

The central display of this years Concours of Elegance was a homage to the great Ford v Ferrari rivalry of Le Mans in 1966, which of course was portrayed in fantastic fashion by Matt Damon and Christian Bale in the blockbuster Ford v Ferrari movie, which was released last year.

Concours of Elegance 2020 - A display of automotive perfection
The 1965 Ferrari 365 P that was driven by John Surtees. It went on to win the Targa Florio in 1965.
Concours of Elegance 2020 - A display of automotive perfection
The 1965 Ferrari 250LM that was once owned by David Piper. It came 2nd at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1965.



At the heart of the historic motorsport display were two legends of Modena, the 1965 Ferrari 365 P and the 1965 Ferrari 250LM. Both cars looked resplendent in vibrant yellow in front of palace and the presence of two historical significant Le Mans racers was a major coup for the show.

Concours of Elegance - Automotive Perfection at the Palace
This 365 P started life as a 275P
Concours of Elegance - Automotive Perfection at the Palace
The former team that raced the 250LM
Concours of Elegance - Automotive Perfection at the Palace
It is not often that two Ferrari’s that raced at Le Mans in period are side by side

As always the caliber of the cars on display at the Concours of Elegance was exceptional. Despite the challenges posed by COVID19, the organisers managed to assemble some truly wonderful cars and the fact so many were able to attend the event was something to celebrate.

Concours of Elegance - Automotive Perfection at the Palace
The very Porsche that won the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1970

The Best of Show award was snapped up by the legendary 1969 Porsche 917 K, the very car driven by Richard Attwood and Hans Herrmann to Porsche’s first victory at Le Mans in 1970. It is little surprise that such a historically significant race car won the Concours top prize. It was a special moment to be able to get so close to such a legend of the Le Mans 24 Hours.

The GPBox Vintage Car Memorabilia Collection

Concours of Elegance - Automotive Perfection at the Palace
Dusting off a Le Mans legend

There were also many other cars on display that were contenders for the Best of Show award. The variety and quality of the cars on show certainly made the judges choices a difficult one. One important piece of automotive history was the simply exquisite 1957 Jaguar XK150 S Bertone. This wonderful car was styled by the great Franco Scaglione at Bertone.

Concours of Elegance - Automotive Perfection at the Palace
The Brit with the Italian suit… what a car!

It is one of four Jaguar XK150 chassis’s that were dispatched to Turin in the 1950s for prototype evaluation. The end result was a wonderful Italian take on the great British sports car. And this example, Car No 2, is the only know survivor of the four prototypes. At any other concours event it would surely have taken home the top prize.

Concours of Elegance - Automotive Perfection at the Palace
A delightful wheel to take control of



Concours of Elegance - Automotive Perfection at the Palace
The Jaguar XK150 S Bertone – Take to the Roads choice for Best of Show

Continuing the elegant post war car theme was the eye catching 1949 Delahaye 135 MS. This particular example is one of three to have been coach built by Italian outfit Carrozzeria Viotti. Of those only two are thought to have survived, making this Modifee Speciale a very rare car indeed.

Concours of Elegance - Automotive Perfection at the Palace
Delahaye excelled at creating attractive cabriolets and this 135 MS by Viotti is up there with the very best
Concours of Elegance - Automotive Perfection at the Palace
An attractive steering wheel and dashboard is complimented by the luxurious pre-select gear shifter

Another fabulous automobile on show was the beautiful 1938 Bugatti Type 57 Atalante Coupe by Gangloff. This rare touring Bugatti is a one off created for a wealthy French businessman. Fortunately it survived the war and later found its way to London where it was used by the French Embassy.

Concours of Elegance 2020 - A display of automotive perfection
Grace on the move – what a wonderful creation by Swiss/French coachbuilder Gangloff
Concours of Elegance 2020 - A display of automotive perfection
The centre of attention and it is easy to see why
Concours of Elegance 2020 - A display of automotive perfection
One of the worlds most iconic grills and badges

The world of motorsport was further honoured with a fine display of McLaren’s, plus a special line up of former F1 cars to mark the 70th anniversary of Formula 1.

Concours of Elegance 2020 - A display of automotive perfection
The 1995 McLaren F1 GTR on the stage
Concours of Elegance 2020 - A display of automotive perfection
Admiring an icon



Concours of Elegance 2020 - A display of automotive perfection
The 1997 Porsche 911 GT1 Evolution makes its way to the stage
Concours of Elegance 2020 - A display of automotive perfection
The 1954 ex-works Maserati 250F
Concours of Elegance 2020 - A display of automotive perfection
Plus the 1993 Williams FW15C driven to 3 victories by Damon Hill
Concours of Elegance 2020 - A display of automotive perfection
And the 2005 McLaren Mercedes MP4-20 that was driven by Juan Pablo Montoya to 3 victories

The Concours of Elegance is also known for selecting left field cars from the history of the development of the automobile. This year that honour fell to the eccentric 1921 Leyat Helica. At first glance it looked like a plane had flown to Hampton Court and landed in the palace grounds, its wings neatly tucked away somewhere. However the Leyat is indeed a propeller driven car, designed by French engineer Marcel Leyat.

Concours of Elegance - Automotive Perfection at the Palace
The Leyat Helica on the move
Concours of Elegance - Automotive Perfection at the Palace
Taking a moment to admire the car that is not an aeroplane

With the Concours of Elegance over for another year, the organisers can take a bow for putting together a fantastic show in very challenging circumstances. It was a resounding success, which followed on from the London Concours only just two weeks before. With autumn now drawing in, we can look back and reflect on what a rare moment it was to spend a few days admiring collector cars at a public event. The fact this was Take to the Road’s second car show to attend in 2020, shows the impact the new normal we are all still adjusting to is having on the car show network. Here’s to the Concours of Elegance 2021 and a return to normality!

Concours of Elegance 2020 - A display of automotive perfection
The original press car, one of just 3 right hand drive Facel Vega Facel II



Concours of Elegance 2020 - A display of automotive perfection
Lining up the 1961 Facel Vega HK500
Concours of Elegance 2020 - A display of automotive perfection
1965 Ferrari 275 GTB Competizione Clienti
Concours of Elegance 2020 - A display of automotive perfection
1958 Ferrari 250 GT Ellena
Concours of Elegance 2020 - A display of automotive perfection
Armstrong Siddeley Whitley
Concours of Elegance 2020 - A display of automotive perfection
Volvo P1800
Concours of Elegance 2020 - A display of automotive perfection
1929 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750

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