A 1929 Mercedes-Benz S-Type Barker “Boat Tail” took Best of Show honors Sunday at the Royal Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court Palace in England. The event drew more than 1,000 vehicles and 13,000 visitors, with fewer than 70 vehicles invited into the Fountain Gardens to compete for the top honor, which was selected in a vote by the owners of those cars.
The winning car originally was owned by Earl Howe, founder of the British Racing Drivers’ Club. Based on the powerful Mercedes-Benz S-Type, Howe had his car outfitted with a lightweight and aerodynamic body shell with aircraft-inspired aluminum side pods. The car recently was restored to Howe’s original specification.
The Concours of Elegance was founded in 2012 to mark the diamond jubilee of Queen Elizabeth’s reign and has been held in various royal castles in ensuing years.
This year, for the first time, awards were presented by decades. The winning cars were: Through the 1920s, Isotta Fraschini Tipe A FENG; 1930s, Alfa Romeo 8C 23000 short-chassis Spider; 1940s and ‘50s, Maserati 300s (a car raced by Stirling Moss); 1960s, Porsche 917K (the Steve McQueen Le Mans movie racer); 1970 and onwards, Lamborghini Miura.
There also were awards for Best Jaguar, Best Bentley, and the RAC Club Trophy for best car from the various car-club displays.
The RAC also presented the Spirit of Motoring award to Katie Forrest “for her passion and flair” in the presentation of her 1912 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghose “Taj Mahal” more commonly known as “Nellie.”
Bugatti Type 55, Porsche 944 Turbo racer honored at Salon Prive
Just before the Royal concours, the three-day Salon Prive was held at Blenheim Palace, where an unrestored 1933 Bugatti Type 55 roadster claimed Best of Show honors at the 13th annual Chubb Insurance Concours d’Elegance.
A 1937 Delage D8-120 was runner-up with a 1971 Lamborghini Miura S judged third.
An original 1964 Ferrari 250 LM was voted the People’s Choice award.
Salon Prive managing director and concours chairman Andrew Bagley noted that the Bugatti “is considered to be the most original specimen in the world as it is the only unrestored example with less than 50,000 miles on the clock.”
The event drew 53 cars, 17 of them “international” entries, as well as 20 motorcycles, and was opened a three-day automotive garden party that followed with the annual Boodles Ladies Day and then the Concours Masters, this year paying tribute to Porsche’s 70th anniversary.
At Concours Masters, “a more relaxed version of a traditionally judged Concours,” the Owner’s Choice Award went to a 1988 Porsche 944 Turbo Cup car, one of only 150 built. The runner-up was a 1956 365A Carrera GS Coupe.
Other awards included Ladies’ Choice to a 1957 Porsche 356A Carrera Speedster in black. The same car won the Best Engine and Best Open Car trophies.