2012 was weird time to live in and around London, the coincidence of Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee and the staging of the XXX Olympiad meant that there were many events occurring that would never be seen again in the lifetimes of those who witnessed them.
Given the strong heritage that the automobile enjoys in Britain it came as no surprise that there would be some form of motoring celebration that would pay tribute to the Queen’s anniversary.
The question would be where, as any concours would have to be in suitable surroundings at least the equal of Villa d’Este or Pebble Beach.
The answer was really rather obvious, although actually getting permission to use it would have required great diplomacy on the part of the organisers.
Windsor Castle’s Upper Ward was the final choice, a private area in the largest inhabited castle in the world and the longest occupied palace in Europe. It does not get much better than that.
So that is how I found myself in the Queen’s palace, reputed to be her favourite, last September. I was not really sure what to expect as this was new event and usually it takes a few years to get matters up to speed.
I had been to Pebble Beach and Amelia Island a few years back and knew how high they had set the bar. However nothing prepared me for the astounding display of automotive treasure arranged on the lawn.
Within the castle walls there were 60 of the world’s greatest cars, chosen with great care by the organising committee, one for each year of the monarch’s reign.
Although all present were worthy inclusions we all have favourites, so here are a few of mine starting with the Embiricos Bentley 4¼ Litre Pourtout Coupé, an absolute gem of a car.
I have written about this unique creation HERE
It was not just the French coach builders who overwhelmed our senses in the 1930’s, this Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Touring Berlinetta, one of six built with a roof, was not just a pretty face, similar models won the Mille Miglia and the Spa 24 Hours outright.
A more modern Italian is this Lamborghini Miura SV in a dramatic yellow livery.
And what concours would be possible without a contribution from Maranello? This Ferrari GT SWB Berlinetta is a fine example.
Let us not forget contributions from the locals, a Jaguar E-Type and an AC Cobra sit in the shadow of the Round Tower.
Aston Martin in the shape of this DB6 Volante, owned by HRH Prince of Wales, was also on display.
And when it comes to perfection of outline it is hard to imagine anything more sublime than the Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato Berlinetta
More elegant luxury is found with this Bentley Continental S Type with HJ Mulliner bodywork.
Arguably the most imposing vehicle on display was the Rolls-Royce Phantom I Jonckheere Coupé, brought over by the Petersen Automotive Museum in California. The art deco style bodywork with oval doors is absolutely stunning.
It is not a car for mere mortals, only a Maharaja or a Hollywood star of the 1930’s could really carry off being seen with such a creation.
So looking back at last year’s event the question is will there be a repeat?
Thankfully the answer is in the affirmative.
I quote the release from the Concours’ organisers.
Sixty of the world’s rarest historic cars will gather on the Royal lawns of St James’s, Central London from September 5-7, 2013. Some of these cars have never before been seen and the public is not normally allowed access to this area of St James’s.
In addition to the amazing Concours cars will be a line-up of Lamborghini’s to celebrate the marque’s 50th anniversary plus the Royal Automobile Club is bringing its Spirit of Motoring Tour.
On the opening morning, our Royal Patron HRH Prince Michael of Kent will lead the convoy of Concours cars as they leave the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace to travel down The Mall before turning into Marlborough Road and into the Concours.
Members of the public who own a historic, GT or sports car can also be part of this display of automotive sculpture as they will be allowed to park along part of the Mall just outside the Concours.
My recommendation is that if you can attend, do, the quality will not be surpassed anywhere and the cost of a ticket is very reasonable considering what is on offer.
In the meantime here is a gallery from 2012.
I looked at the cars that were parked outside the castle walls earlier HERE
John Brooks, August 2013