Tag Archives: Embiricos Bentley 4¼ Litre Pourtout Coupé

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Indian Summer

2012 Salon Prive

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.

2012 Salon Prive

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.

2012 Salon Prive

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.

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

The answer was really rather obvious, although actually getting permission to use it would have required great diplomacy on the part of the organisers.

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

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.

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

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.

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

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.

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

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.

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

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

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

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.

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

A more modern Italian is this Lamborghini Miura SV in a dramatic yellow livery.

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

And what concours would be possible without a contribution from Maranello? This Ferrari GT SWB Berlinetta is a fine example.

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

Let us not forget contributions from the locals, a Jaguar E-Type and an AC Cobra sit in the shadow of the Round Tower.

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

Aston Martin in the shape of this DB6 Volante, owned by HRH Prince of Wales, was also on display.

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

And when it comes to perfection of outline it is hard to imagine anything more sublime than the Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato Berlinetta

2012 Salon Prive

More elegant luxury is found with this Bentley Continental S Type with HJ Mulliner bodywork.

2012 Salon Prive

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.

2012 Salon Prive

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.

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

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.
Tickets and more information from www.concoursofelegance.co.uk.
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

 

Retro Retro

2013 Retromobile

It is safe to say that the Classic Car Season really kicks off when the Retromobile comes round.

2013 Retromobile

Held at Pavilions 2 and 3 at the Parc des expositions, Porte de Versailles, Paris, the Retromobile has grown in stature and importance, as well as size, reflecting, perhaps, the general rising level of interest in automotive heritage.

2013 Retromobile

The Show is a cocktail of many ingredients, from the flea market to the top dealers, car manufacturers to the car clubs, enthusiasm abounds and there is much to see for even the casual visitor, let alone the dyed in the wool enthusiast.

2013 Retromobile

This Delahaye is typical of the quality that was found throughout the Retromobile.

2013 Retromobile

Despite the difficult trading conditions that prevail in Europe’s car market, especially for the French, there were prominent stands from Peugeot, Citroën and Renault, the latter having a well designed circular effort with the stars being

2013 Retromobile

a 1937 Renault Nerva Grand Sport

2013 Retromobile

and, from 1968/69, an Alpine Renault A220 that ran at the Le Mans 24 Hours.

2013 Retromobile

I also liked the contrast between the Renault 8 and Renault’s first modern day F1 car.

2013 Retromobile

The 70’s graphics are still striking.

2013 Retromobile

I witnessed the Renault RS01’s first race at Silverstone in 1977, the turbo era had arrived, though we did not appreciate it that day. We were more concerned with James Hunt and John Watson, and some crazy Canadian, Gilles Villeneuve making his debut.

2013 Retromobile

As with every show, anniversaries and birthdays are celebrated, any excuse and the Retromobile was no exception. So 30 years of the 205, one the quintessential hot hatches, was a focus on the Peugeot stand.

2013 Retromobile

Citroën’s DS19 did not have any obvious celebration to make, except being about as Gallic as is possible for a car. There were many fine examples of this ground breaker to be seen.

2013 Retromobile

The Germans occupied a big slice of Parisian territory with one of the show’s highlights being the Mercedes-Benz stand.

2013 Retromobile

Leading the fine selection of Mercedes rarities was  a joint exhibition with the Louwman Museum of the pair of recently restored Prince Heinrich 1910 Benz. The pair of cars had left in store room for decades, and recognising the importance of these cars, the two organisations decided to pool their efforts at restoration.

2013 Retromobile

“Since the beginning of the twentieth century, a large number of car races have taken place in Europe. Sons of wealthy families and rich sportsmen were the main competitors. One of these races was the Prince Heinrich, named after a keen sportsman who was the brother of Kaiser Wilhelm II. It was restricted to four-seater touring cars.”

2013 Retromobile

“On 10 June 1910 no less than 10 Benz cars took part in a 1,900 kilometer race across Germany and part of France. They had 80HP and 100HP engines with lubrication pumps, drive shaft transmission replacing the old chain system, and elegant ‘tulip’ bodywork. A month later, some of these cars took part in the ‘Kaiser Nicolas’ race in Russia covering 2,800 kilometres in eight days.”

2013 Retromobile

Speaking of the Louwman Museum, they had as a companion to the Benz a 1903 Spyker as they describe it. “This was the first car in the world to be equipped with a six-cylinder engine, and the first petrol-driven car with four-wheel drive and all-wheel brakes. This Spyker 60-HP is therefore one of the most significant cars in motoring history.”

2013 Retromobile

Rounding off the display of Mercedes Benz’ rich heritage was the “Blitzen Benz”.

One of the key goals in those early years of the 20th century was to break the then magic speed barrier of 200 km/h. Benz was the first company to do so, with a petrol-engine automobile: the 200 hp racing car took to the track at the Brooklands circuit in England in 1909, achieving an average speed of 202.7 km/h. This record-breaking racing car, with its massive four-cylinder engine, would however go on to achieve its greatest successes in Florida, USA. In 1911, Bob Burman reached the amazing speed of 228.1 km/h on the sand track at Daytona Beach, so making the “Lightning Benz”, as the model became known in the US, the fastest vehicle in the world – faster even than any aeroplane or train. It was a record that would remain unbeaten for eight years.”

2013 Retromobile

Porsche began the first of many celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the 911 with a fine selection of examples of the model through the years. Yes I know it’s a 935…………….

2013 Retromobile

BMW’s stand was frankly disappointing with some strange concept cars paying homage to the 328 and the M1, must have sounded better on paper than it looked in reality.

2013 Retromobile

Bentley had a small stand with the amazing Embiricos 4¼ Litre Pourtout Coupé on display, the impact of this important car only slightly diminished by obscure location and lighting of the stand. This will be the last appearance of this Le Mans’ veteran on this side of the Atlantic for a while.

2013 Retromobile

Sharing with the men from Crewe were fellow VW Group members, Bugatti, who brought out a Type 59 Grand Prix racer from 1934. I drew encouragement from the fact that it sported a tax disk, meaning that someone drives it on the UK roads.

2013 Retromobile

Skoda displayed an interesting array of rarely seen competition cars dating back to the 60’s including this sports prototype, the 720.

2013 Retromobile

There are always a selection of quite obscure vehicles at the top shows, tucked away in a corner was a stand celebrating Germain Lambert, an enterprising engineer who ran Automobiles Lambert from the 20’s through to 1953. This is the Lambert 6CV.

2013 Retromobile

Lambert was also an enthusiast, who raced his own creations, this is the CS Cabriolet Sport

2013 Retromobile

The output of another French engineer, Marcel Leyat, was also exhibited at the Show. His idea was to have a lightweight wooden chassis powered by a propeller, a plane without wings.

2013 Retromobile

During the 20’s he managed to sell around 30 of these strange contraptions but the concept never really caught on.

2013 Retromobile

One of the delights of shows such as the Retromobile  is finding the unexpected, here I encountered the Scuderia Filipinetti Ferrari 512S as driven at Le Mans in 1970 by Mike Parkes and Herbert Müller. They were eliminated in the notorious accident early in the race that took out the three 512s of Regazzoni and Wisell, as well as Parkes, I am sure it made for an interesting debrief.

2013 Retromobile

Another 70’s Ferrari present was this immaculate 512 BB LM

2013 Retromobile

And Paul Knapfield’s 312PB, with extra air intake to cool the F1 spec engine.

2013 Retromobile

And one last Prancing Horse, from the early days, a Ferrari 340/375 MM Berlinetta Competizione, promoting the Villa d’Este Concours.

2013 Retromobile

Carrozzeria Touring Superleggera had a stand to show off their skills and it contained a rarity from Lamborghini, dating back to 1966, the Flying Star II prototype. This was a collaboration with the factory and based on a Lamborghini chassis.

2013 Retromobile

The Retromobile had a wide range of automobilia for sale, from the likes of Hortons Books to several stands offering fine wines, and of course there are the ART stalls.

2013 Retromobile

Steve McQueen still has a power to fascinate……………..

2013 Retromobile

Someone’s wall is incomplete without this

2013 Retromobile

The Lukas Huni stand had several outstanding cars, the pick of which was this Type 57 Bugatti

2013 Retromobile

And this Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza

2013 Retromobile

I might be a bit biased but to my mind the two stands that were head and shoulders above the others came from across the English Channel.

2013 Retromobile

The sheer quality of the cars on Hall & Hall and Fiskens, or Fiskens and Hall & Hall, depending on whose stand you were on, was staggering.

2013 Retromobile

Highlights at Fiskens were two Le Mans’ veterans, the 1926 Bentley 3L Le Mans and Scuderia Filipinetti Ferrari 275 GTB/C that was a class winner in 1967, these endurance classics were just part of a fantastic set of cars that the well known London based dealer had in Paris.

2013 Retromobile

I caught up with Gregor Fisken who gave his thoughts on the 2013 Retromobile.

2013 Retromobile

“Every year it gets a little bit bigger, a little bit better, I think the show has really found the right balance. It is important that it still has elements of a flea market, it is important that the modern manufacturers can come in and embrace their heritage as well. It is important that there is wonderful art, models, parts but it is also important that it is Europe’s pre-eminent début event of the year. It kicks off the year and everyone leaves here motivated, they see old friends, they make new friends, they plan for the season and they have the opportunity to review what they are going to use in the future.”

2013 Retromobile

“What we have here on the stand today, I think, is a little bit of something for everyone. We have arguably one of the most important Le Mans’ Bentley team cars to come on the market in recent years and we have a Bugatti T37A that has had 50 years of one family ownership, so that is a special opportunity. Of course with the Ferrari 275 GTB/C there is an opportunity to purchase a car that raced in Les Vingt-Quatre Heures du Mans three times and it won its class. We had Claude Sage on the stand, from Scuderia Filipinetti, who ran the car in period. He remembered driving the car from Geneva to Le Mans, the car running in the race and then being driven back afterwards, absolutely fantastic.”

2013 Retromobile

I think cars from this period, the 60’s GT era, were the last that could be genuinely driven from the factory to Le Mans, win their class and be driven home. I think for a lot of new people that are coming into the market they find the opportunity to use such a car on the road and on rallies, events and races is very attractive. They can go to the Le Mans Classic and have a pretty prestigious way to travel down the Mulsanne.”

2013 Retromobile

It is hard to imagine but this impressive array of classics were matched by the Hall & Hall display. Endurance Racing was again well represented with Porsche 956/001 supporting Jaguar XJR-12 chassis 288, with the unique record of a victory in both the Le Mans and Daytona 24 Hours. Another flash from my misspent youth was a Lotus 49C in Gold Leaf Team Lotus livery, this being an unraced spare built for Ford.

2013 Retromobile

Rob Hall gave me his views on the Retromobile. “We have been attending the Retromobile for seven years now, it starts the season off for us really, it is a good shop window for the selling side of the business, a few of the cars here are not for sale but they add to interest to the exhibit and it gets our name noticed. It costs us certainly but during the rest of the year we recoup the outlay, either through picking up work or picking up sales.”

2013 Retromobile

“I had a quick look round the Show early today before things got busy and it is clearly a great event. There is something for everyone, whether it is old, new or something to help you work on your car.”

2013 Retromobile

“The Show is quite a big commitment but what has made it a lot easier is that it is now condensed into one weekend and a few days as opposed running over two weekends as it did in the past. The cost of hotels and travel and having staff on site has been reduced and that acts as an incentive for us to come to Paris. So both parties benefit.”

2013 Retromobile

A show would not be a show without an auction taking place and Artcurial provided the necessary ingredients, with many fine lots. The hammer came down the loudest when a 1936 Talbot Lago T150C Roadster went to a new owner for just under €1,500,000, despite the financial storms that rage in Europe there is still some money about for a classic car.

2013 Retromobile

The 2013 season is now underway having been launched at the Retromobile, it is worth a visit and especially as Paris is but a short train ride away, it can be done in a day and enthusiasts should be making their plans for February 2014.

John Brooks, February 2013

 

 

The Greatest Show on Earth?

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

To have been in the UK during 2012 was to be in a place at a very special time. Dominating the August and September months were the London Olympics and Paralympics, never has a city and a nation embraced the Games with such fervor and passion, we surprised ourselves, we amazed others.

Perhaps the positive mood of the British public was set in the months before the Games when there were prolonged celebrations of the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth ΙΙ. Over the length and breadth of Britain, events were held to commemorate 60 years of service to the Nation. Some of these were on a huge scale like those in London, some more intimate like street parties, but all with a common purpose, a collective thank you from the British people to our Monarch.

2012 Salon Prive

The Automotive aspect of our culture was naturally also part of these celebrations with an event that claimed the status of “Instant Classic” without any shadow of doubt. In early September Windsor Castle was the setting for a new show, the Windsor Concours of Elegance. A simple concept really, bring 60 of the world’s finest automobiles into a unique setting, Windsor Castle. Of course creating such an meeting is no simple matter, meticulous planning and years of sheer hard work went into the preparation, we should give thanks to those involved, they know who they are.

2012 Salon Prive

The setting, Windsor Castle, is one the Queen’s three Official Residences and is widely thought to be her favourite. Originally built by William the Conqueror after 1066, the palace is both the oldest castle in continuous occupation and largest inhabited castle in the world. The public can visit large parts of what is Her Majesty’s home and there is the added attraction of ceremonies like the Changing of the Guard. In fact Windsor Castle is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the UK, around a million visitors each year. Staging a Concours at such venue was a major coup for the organisers, almost beyond value and typically the event was to benefit a number of charities that deal with the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

2012 Salon Prive

Almost beyond value could also be a description applied to the cars on display both within and without The Upper Ward and the Cambridge Gate and down The Long Walk. After clearing security, a standard procedure for any visitors to the Royal Palaces, it was time to make the trip up to the George ΙV Gateway.

2012 Salon Prive

There was a small display of Bentley, Jaguar, Land Rover and McLaren cars both old and new, it set the tone for the weekend.

2012 Salon Prive

Woking’s finest were on parade including the debut of the latest model, the 12C Spider, stunning even in this august company.

2012 Salon Prive

The latest version of the GT3 racer was parked up.

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

A little further on was an old friend, the Bentley Speed 8 that TK, Dindo and Guido Smythe raced and triumphed in at Le Mans in 2003.

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

Still showing signs of battle, it was a moment when the brand recaptured the spirit of the WO days and his legion of “Bentley Boys”. Five wins in seven years in the 20’s is an Audi or Porsche like performance record, perhaps it most appropriate that the revival has taken place as part of the Volkswagen family.

2012 Salon Prive

And on that note……………….

2012 Salon Prive

It was time to leave the display behind and head up to The Upper Ward………………

2012 Salon Prive

Where some truly sublime cars were awaiting – Embiricos Bentley 4¼ Litre Pourtout Coupé and Avions Voisin C-25 Berline Aérodyne anyone?

More tomorrow.

John Brooks, December 2012