The Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court Place on 1-3 September was a vast and varied selection of vintage, classic and sure to become classic cars. It was actually difficult to take in everything on show, particularly the significance of many of the cars because of their racing or ownership history. However, what I particularly enjoyed was the healthy number of unrestored and sensitively renovated cars being shown.
Words by Angelica Fuentes, Photos by Keith Mainland
The star of the show for me was definitely the unrestored Ford GT40 that won Lemans in 1968 and 1969, the 1968 win with my countryman and hero Pedro Rodriguez at the wheel. I am very grateful to the owner for letting me sit behind the wheel despite the obvious fragility of the interior that remains as it was at the end of the car’s second Lemans win in 1969. The next to catch my eye was a purposeful looking Jaguar XKSS with an unrestored and well worn interior that gave the impression of the car having been enjoyed properly. For the fans of the unrestored the 1930 Bugatti Type 59 from the Pearl Collection was also a highpoint and it was nice to see that this car and the XKSS won their Class in the Concours.
Lamborghini Muiras, James Bond Aston Martin DB5, Ferrari 250GTO, Bentley ‘Old Number One’ and Speed Eight, both Leman winners but 74 years apart, all deserved a closer look. As well as intriguing rarities like the 1935 Hoffman X8 Prototype, Offenhauser engined 1963 Apollo 3500 GT Spyder, 1971 Maserati Quattroporte Frua Prototipo and 1980 Rondeau M379B, the only Lemans winner driven by its maker.
After taking in all of the cars, there was still fun to be had and I took a drive in one of The Little Car Company’s scaled down, electric powered Bugatti Type 37s. Lovely to look at and beautifully finished, I still can’t quite get my head around the £80-100K price tag but that is not stopping many others. Production of their Aston Martin, Bugatti, Ferrari and now Bentley models is running at five per week.
All of this in the beautiful surroundings of Hampton Court Palace and gardens made for a day out I would be happy to repeat.