Tag Archives: Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

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Elegance Was Expected

Now in it’s fifth incarnation the Concours of Elegance returns to its birthplace, Windsor Castle. More about this fabulous event in detail later this month………..but for now a gallery to illustrate a Friday well spent.

John Brooks, September 2016

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

 

The Long Walk

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

On the first public day of the Windsor Concours of Elegance the scale of the event was extended by the presence of several car clubs bringing a fantastic selection of their members’ vehicles.

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

As might have been expected the thoroughbred British brands were to the fore, Aston Martin sending a brace of cars to support the efforts of the Aston Martin Owners’ Club. And what a pair? An Aston Martin V12 Zagato and an Aston Martin V12 Vantage – shaken and stirred.

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

The AMOC had come up with an appropriate salute to Her Majesty on her Diamond Jubilee, an example of the marque from each of the 60 years. Leading the way was the 1952 Aston Martin DB3, chassis 5, that raced that year at Monaco, Le Mans, Sebring, the Mille Miglia and Goodwood. This actual car actually triumphed in the Goodwood Nine Hours that year driven by Peter Collins and Pat Griffith.

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

The rich heritage of Aston Martin was fully illustrated under the blue Berkshire skies, in the shadow of Windsor Castle.

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

From 1985, the Aston Martin Lagonda, certainly marching to a different drum stylistically. This very expensive saloon was the first production car in the world to use digital instrumentation and computer management, but the whole affair was prone to terrible reliability problems.

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

The exhibition was not solely a British affair with Ferrari showing a fabulous display of their supercars that have been produced during Queen’s reign.

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

Completely different answers to the same question, a Ferrari Dino 246 GT and Ferrari 275 GTB/4. Both from the 60’s and illustrating performance and style, both utterly desirable.

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

Just look at the wheels, how they match the Ferrari red, takes one back to the 512S, one of the stars of Steve McQueen’s film Le Mans.

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

A unique product from Maranello that was on the lawn was this Ferrari Dino 208 GT4 Spyder.

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

Styled by Bertone this car was a one off exercise in looking at how the 208 might look as a soft top. It never made it into production.

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

Completely original and unrestored since its production in 1975, it was a rare beast, even in the Windsor setting.

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

The Ferrari F40 still has shock and awe qualities even some 20 years on.

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

The same might well be said of the “Batmobile” aka BMW 3.0 litre CSL

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

The Bentley Drivers’ Club was also well represented. Not every item was factory fitted.

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

This Bentley Continental S2 Drophead particularly caught my eye.

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

With the famous track only a short distance from Windsor it was inevitable that the Brooklands Museum would put in an appearance with a reminder of the days of The Bentley Boys.

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

Power behind the legend.

2012 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance

Perhaps the most surprising thing about this part of the Windsor Concours of Elegance is that it was free and completely open to the public. Combined with the beautiful weather and the strange spirit of the country in the wake of Jubilee and the Olympics it made for a fantastic weekend. More tomorrow.

John Brooks, December 2012

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

The Royal Seal

Windsor Castle is where Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth ll lives, so it is an unlikely setting for a motoring event. However in this, the year of her Diamond Jubilee, an automotive celebration and tribute has been arranged. Sixty of the finest cars in the world are on display at Windsor Castle this weekend, absolutely magical.

More later

John Brooks, September 2012