Not many concours events can claim to have the ‘gracious permission of Her Majesty The Queen’, but when you’re parking on the beautifully manicured lawns of Windsor Castle, you can’t just roll up and park. This weekend, 60 of the rarest cars from around the world gathered for the Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance.
The fifth Concours of Elegance
This was the fifth Concours of Elegance, with the first event staged at Windsor Castle in 2012, before moving to St James’s Palace in 2013, Hampton Court Palace in 2014, and the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh in 2015. It’s fair to say this event only visits the country’s finest locations, locations, locations…
The Great West Tour
The 2016 Concours of Elegance kicked off with the Great West Tour, with the starting point of Ellenborough Park Hotel alive with the sound of coachbuilt Ferraris, pre-war Bentleys and lightweight sports cars.
The Great West Tour made its way to the brilliant roads of the Brecon Beacons, with the cars greeted by some unseasonably Welsh weather. Look, no rain!
Sandhurst Military Academy
From Wales, the cars made their way back through the Cotswolds and onto Sandhurst Military Academy, where the concours cars became the first ever to assemble on the Parade Ground. Here we see the Ferrari 250 GTO in which Graham Hill finished second at the 1962 Goodwood Tourist Trophy. It was returned to its original shade of white in 2015.
Touring Superleggera Disco Volante Spyder
Meanwhile, this Touring Superleggera Disco Volante Spyder was making its UK debut. The car was unveiled at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show, with Touring creating the work of art to celebrate its 90th anniversary. It’s one of seven cars, so it must have formed quite a spectacle for motorists who saw the Italian beauty as it made its way to Windsor.
From Sandhurst, the Great West Tour took the relatively short hop to Windsor Castle, where we see the cars making their way along Her Majesty’s driveway. This beautifully formed rear end belongs to a 1956 Maserati 200Si.
Best of Show
The Concours of Elegance is unique in the respect that the winner isn’t selected by a panel of judges but by the owners of the cars themselves. Each participant is asked to vote on the other models on display to decide which car is considered to be the ‘Best of Show’.
Which means the Royal Guards weren’t able to cast a vote…
The winner – as judged by the participants – was this 1937 Hispano-Suiza H6C Dubonnet Xenia.
Best of Show trophy
The ‘Best of Show’ trophy was typically extravagant. Good luck finding a mantelpiece large enough for this formidable chunk of silverware.
Jaguar XK120 DHC
Other awards included the Jaguar Trophy for Barrie Woolston and his Jaguar XK120 DHC. Mr Woolston posted on Twitter that he was “humbled by the award”.
The annoyingly good-looking David Gandy was on hand as one of Bentley’s expert judges for the Bentley Trophies.
The respective winners of the pre- and post-1965 Bentley Trophies were a 3-litre Speed and an immaculate Azure. Study this photograph and you might spot Her Majesty looking out through one of the windows. Probably.
Ferrari 288 GTO Evoluzione
This is an incredibly rare beast: a Ferrari 288 GTO Evoluzione – one of five built. Destined to be a formidable Group B track car, the 288 GTO Evoluzione was a victim of the FIA’s decision to pull the plug on all things Group B. It was left without a party to attend, but not before Ferrari had produced five of these 230mph weapons. It might not be as beautiful as the ‘standard’ 288 GTO, but it provides a neat bridge to the F40.
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Competizione Series III
This is one of just 15 factory-built Daytona Competizione models built, one of five Series III spec cars, and one of just two right-hand drive cars. Fair play to the current owner for taking it on the Great West Tour, not least because it’s believed to be the only unrestored example of a factory Daytona Competizione remaining. It raced at both the 1973 Spa-Francorchamps 1000km race and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Radford Mini de Ville
This is a rather special Radford Mini de Ville, having featured in The Beatles’ movie Magical Mystery Tour. The car – formerly owned by George Harrison – started life as an Austin Cooper S and was converted for the Beatle by Radford and finished in metallic black. Later, having been painted in psychedelic colours, the Mini was gifted to Eric Clapton.
Jaguar E-Type Lightweight
This Lightweight was the fourth of just 12 cars to roll off the production line and was entrusted to British motor racing driver Roy Salvadori for the 1963 season. In its first race it finished second behind another Jaguar driven by Graham Hill. ‘86 PJ’ is said to be the one of the finest examples in the world.
This was the first of the Jaguar D-Type works race cars, with the chassis number XKC 402. This D-Type was raced all over Europe and was the first works car to be sold to a driver. Its new owner, Duncan Hamilton, converted it into a two-seater sports car, with Hamilton claiming it was the forerunner to the XKSS. Later, it was returned to its 1953 Le Mans spec.
Talbot-Lago T26 Saoutchik Grand Sport Cabriolet
This outlandish Talbot-Lago T26 features a body sculpted by Saoutchik and was first shown at the 1949 Geneva Motor Show. Only 29 T26s were built on the short-wheelbase chassis, of which 26 survive, all with coachbuilt bodies. In 1990 it was damaged by a fire, before 10,000 hours were spent on a restoration.
Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competizione
This is the actual Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta Competizione in which Stirling Moss won three races in 1960, and in which Mike Parkes won a further three races the following year. It is owned by none other than Ross Brawn, who said: “to me it’s as aesthetically near perfect as you can get for a sports racing car of that era”.
Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Zagato Spider
The Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 featured an eight-cylinder engine designed by Vittorio Jano. Of the 188 cars built, each was different, with the majority styled by Touring, but others – such as this example – created by Zagato. It won the ‘Best in Show’ award as last year’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este.
Ferrari 375 America Pinin Farina Coupe Speciale
This is a one-off Ferrari built for Fiat chairman Gianni Agnelli and just happens to be one of the most famous Ferraris ever built. Agnelli wanted something that did not resemble anything else, with Pinin Farina tasked with keeping the industrialist happy.
The Grand Depart
As is typical for the Concours of Elegance, the event concluded with a so-called Grand Depart, in which the cars are waved away from Windsor Castle. Here we see a 1974 Lamborghini Countach ahead of an Aston Martin V12 Zagato.
Back for 2017
The sight of these cars leaving Windsor Castle must have been quite a spectacle. Next year, the Concours of Elegance is likely to return again, but the venue is yet to be confirmed.