The legendary Le Mans racer was joined by other motorsport stars, including the Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 driven to victory in the Mille Miglia in the 1920s
The 2020 edition of the Concours of Elegance, presented by A Lange & Sohne, celebrated its most memorable running yet. Greeting visitors as they emerged from Henry VIII’s former home and into the Fountain Gardens was a special Ford vs Ferrari display, paying homage to some of Le Mans 24 Hours’ most famous racers. Among them were a Ford GT40, a Ferrari 250 LM, 365 P2 and a stunning Ferrari 250 GTO. And that’s even before reaching the main lineup of concours vehicles, with the Best in Show award, voted by the owners of these cars, going to a 1969 Porsche 917 KH racecar.
The Porsche 917 (short-tail, start number 23) with the 580bhp 4.5-litre 12-cylinder engine under the hood was finished in the world-famous red-white Salzburg design. What is remarkable, however, is this was the very same racecar that Richard Attwood and Hans Herrmann drove to victory in the 1970 Le Mans 24 Hours race, the brand’s first of 19 overall wins (so far) at the event.
And that’s not all, as in a fortuitous coincidence, the winner of the event’s all-new ‘Junior Concours, sponsored by The Little Car Company’ Best in Show prize went to a petrol-powered three-quarter scale replica of the very same car, judged the winner against 10 other scale children’s classics.
Awards were also given out for different classes and eras. Once more judged by the owners of the Main Concours cars, the winners included the very first production Land Rover – making its debut following an enormously detailed restoration – and an Alfa Romeo 6C 1750, famed for its Mille Miglia win in the 1920s.
Outside of the main Concours of Elegance cars, nearly 1000 other models were parked at Hampton Court Palace for the weekend, including a collection of Future Classics, from a Porsche 911 Reimagined by Singer to a Bentley Continental GT No.1 Edition. Despite the quality on display, there could really only be one winner: the Aston Martin Victor. This one-off commission is the most powerful road-legal naturally aspirated Aston Martin ever produced, boasting 836bhp. With styling inspired by the 1980s Vantage, the mechanicals are thoroughly modern, comprised of race-ready powertrain and chassis components and lightweight carbon fibre.
Also on display were some of the finest examples from the UK’s most prestigious car clubs, as part of the Club Trophy presented by the Royal Automobile Club and supported by Classic & Sports Car. A panel of expert judges, including HRH Prince Michael of Kent and Classic and Sports Car editor, Alastair Clements, deemed a Messerschmitt KR200 to be the best on display. Powered by a two stroke 191cc Fichtel & Sachs engine that produces a modest 9bhp, the Messerschmitt was chosen not on the basis of its engine, but that of its charming design and excellent condition which won over the judges. It will now take its place among the main concours cars for the Concours of Elegance 2021, which is already scheduled to take place from September 3-5, as part of a special tenth running of the event.
Our Car Club displays, sponsored by Classic & Sports Car, formed a line-up of individual marques around the perimeter of the Garden, including the Jenson Owners’ Club, Alvis Owners’ Club, XK Club, E-type Club and more. Each day the Classic & Sports Car editorial team picked their favourite, awarding a Lotus Eclat – owned by its current custodian for more than 30 years – and a Jaguar XK120 Roadster, finished in a striking bronze. This very same XK120 also caught the eye of the Jaguar Trophy judges, winning the top prize from a line-up of gathered E-types, XKs and more.
On Sunday, September 6, the Concours of Elegance welcomed in a lineup of distinguished Bentley models throughout the ages, each competing for the event’s Bentley Trophy. A judging panel, led by Giles Crickmay of Frank Dale & Stepsons, picked out a Bentley 4.25-Litre Streamlined Drophead Coupe, first owned by Bentley Boy and one-time Bentley Chairman Woolf Barnato. Presented in near-perfect condition, the body is said to be finished in the colour of Barnato’s wife’s favourite dress.
Newly introduced for this year’s event was the Bridge of Weir Leather Design Award, picked by a committee of automotive designers gathered by the Scottish company. The stunning 1938 Bugatti Type 57 Atalante Coupe by Gangloff, with its unique body and black over purple paintwork was recognised by the judges for its outstanding design and innovation.
Gooding & Company also hosted its first sale outside of the USA at the Concours of Elegance, with a display of the lots hosted within the Tudor Courtyard of the Palace. One of the most significant vehicle collections ever gathered for sale was crowned by a Bugatti Type 59 from 1934, previously owned by King Leopold. In a record-breaking sale, this highly original car set the highest price ever for a Bugatti at auction, at £9,535,000 (or a whopping Rs 92 crore). Further, a Type 35C sold for £3,935,000 (Rs 38 crore) and a Type 57S Atalante for £7,855,000 (Rs 75.8 crore), setting respective records for these models. The auction also included the highest price ever for a Vauxhall 30-98 and the highest price ever for a Miura, as the SV Speciale sold for £3,207,000 (Rs 30.9 crore).
The main vehicle features were complemented by lineups from the world’s greatest classic car specialists and car manufacturers, many of whom were displaying cars at the event for the first time. Aston Martin showcased its latest range, as well as the debut of the one-off Victor, while Ineos paraded its all-new Grenadier with a collection of rugged off-road legends. Jaguar Classic presented its continuation D-type in a bespoke two-tone colour scheme while, at the other end of the spectrum, Lotus displayed its Evija all-electric hypercar and Brabham showcased its racing car for the road, the BT62R.