Salon Privé, one of the UK’s premier concours shows, opened its doors on Tuesday this week for a special Media Day. The prestigious event welcomed the UK’s automotive press to the wonderful grounds of Blenheim Palace, before the show formally opened to the public on Wednesday.
This year has proven very challenging for public events of this type and scale, with concern in the days leading up to Salon Privé that it may not go ahead. However the very well organised safety precautions on site and the detailed preparations in the build up to the concours meant the show was able to go ahead and guests were free to enjoy the atmosphere and the fantastic cars on display.
Tuesday was also an important first as Salon Privé had the honour of hosting some significant World Premiers from a handful of manufactures. Rolls-Royce unveiled the new Ghost for the very first time. This brand new model represents a new era for the fabled British marque and will set new standards for unparalleled luxury and technological innovation.
Also unveiled for the first time was the striking Touring Superleggera Aero 3. This bespoke GT is a superb example of the companies abilities to tailor make sports cars to a clients specific requirements.
The new Touring Superleggera two seat sports car is a wonderful combination of classic and modern styling, with echoes of the Alfa Romeo 8C and the Disco Volante. However it is the 1930s Alfa Romeo 6C 2500SS Berlinetta and the Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Le Mans Berlinetta, the wonderful historic aerodynamic Alfa’s that truely inspire the aerodynamic profile of the Aero 3.
The rear fin in particular is a nod to the famous Alfa Romeo B.A.T aerodynamic cars of the 1950s. And with a mighty 6.2 Litre V12 under the bonnet coupled with a sequential paddle gearbox, the Aero 3 is good for 0-100km/h in 3.1 seconds.
Also having it’s UK debut was the fantastic Manifattura Automobili Torino Stratos. The reworking of the legendary Lancia really is impressive in the flesh and in many ways tugs at the heart strings, especially for those who lament that Lancia is a shadow of its former self.
The new Stratos will be limited to 25 cars, has been developed under the guidance of Paolo Garella, the founder of MAT, who was head of special projects at Pininfarina. It is powered by a Ferrari 4.3 V8 engine which is refreshingly coupled to a manual gearbox. This is bound to be a wonderfully analogue experience for the dedicated petrolhead.
Moving round the perfectly manicured cricket lawns at Blenheim Palace, there was a superb lineup of amazing automobiles on display. The stars of the world of historic motorsport had a very strong presence at this years show with a remarkable lineup of 7 McLarens and race cars from rival manufacturers such as Jaguar on show.
The display of McLaren’s was truly exceptional with the 1997 McLaren F1 GTR, the Ex-GTC Gulf Team Davidoff endurance race car, the very final one produced taking home the award in the Peoples Choice class.
Over the four days Salon Privé has hosted a total of 17 concours classes, comprising a total of 77 cars and 16 motorbikes. As always there are so many incredible cars on show it is hard to choose an outright winner, indeed even selecting a selection to include in this article is a challenge itself. However below are some of the wonderful cars that stood out at this years Salon Prive Concours d’Elegance.
This 1962 Maserati 3500 GT was a superb example of the Italian GT and looked fantastic in dark green, which makes a welcome change from the more common red or silver that is often found on these cars.
Another lovely little car at this years Salon Prive was this brilliant Fiat 1500 Pininfarina Cabriolet. You don’t often see these convertible Fiat’s and they are always a delight to behold. The Pininfarina styling is elegant and restrained. A very pretty car and this example was in superb condition.
This 1939 Delahaye 135MS was another wonderful entry this year and it looked very graceful as it moved around the grounds. The French marque produced some truly wonderful cabriolets and this example was impressive. It was coachbuilt by Pennock after a design by Chapron. It was once owned by Prince Birabongse of Siam who was a noted racing driver.
Continuing with the convertible theme (with summer disappearing fast one must celebrate these open top cars while the weather holds!), is the simply stunning 1943 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500. This is a very rare example that was coach built by Carrozzeria Garavani. It features interesting styling that is specific to Garavani, but is still unmistakably an Alfa 6C. The colour may not appeal to everyone but this one looks great in yellow/cream and was Take to the Road’s pick for Best of Show.
With Salon Privé drawing to a close tomorrow, the organisers have to be commended for organising such a well planned COVID secure event. Given the uncertainty that was overhanging the show, it was a relief that Salon Privé was able to push ahead. While the atmosphere wasn’t the same as last year, given the circumstances, Salon Prive has succeeded in raising the Concours bar once again. With all other car shows now pretty much cancelled for the rest of the year, Salon Privé was a fantastic way to end what has been a very shortened concours circuit this year.