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Concours of Elegance Hampton Court 2019

Prince Michael of Kent

Prince Michael of Kent


Hampton Court, 6th - 8th of September, 2019

After a long season the September normally provides the last weekends with more or less predictable late summer weather conditions and so this is one of the busiest months in the classic car calendar. Traditionally at the beginning of the month the concours in greater London are on the program with the Salon Privé in Blenheim Palace and the Concours of Elegance held in the royal castles. After a very successful first edition at Windsor castle celebrating the queens crown jubilee the event became an annual event with further editions held in St. James Palace in Central London, in Hampton Court and even in Edinburgh. After another edition in Windsor finally the concours found a new home in Hampton Court that will showcase the editions to come, so we headed to Hampton west of London at the Themse to have a look at about 60 concours cars in the garden settings of Hampton Court.

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Arriving on Friday morning for the set-up of the cars the first that could be seen was an increase of the sponsor tents around the car display area, German watch maker Lange&Söhne even built an entire temporary building to welcome their guests and a further display of their watches just next to the classic cars. Furthermore the former “owner’s day” with a quiet private atmosphere became a public day with tickets on sale so the numbers of people was clearly up well before the cars arrived. Although we are in a Bentley year with the centenary going on it was again (like in Goodwood) Aston Martin to leave a big mark at the event. Celebrating the collaboration with coachbuilder Zagato in joint efforts they were able to set up a display with every single example of the Milanese design on the cars from AM ranging from the legendary DB4 GT Zagato to the latest range of the Vanquish in the different body forms. While people were waiting for the entrants to arrive in groups and set up on their designated spots the parade of the Zagato Astons brought some pastime.

Finally at about 11am the 60 cars entered the field and journalists and spotters assembled at the driveway to see the cars coming in with a decent background without disturbing tents. It was funny to see the different interest of the attending photographers when the cars arrived as the younger Instagram generation was in sheer excitement when the McLarens P1 and F1 arrived whereas the more seasoned concours attendants were more attracted by the potential show winners. The field was led by Gregor Fisken in a very original Jaguar D-Type followed by the group of Bentley. Many of these cars just made it over the Atlantic from their latest adventure at Pebble Beach including the oldest Bentley ever delivered to a customer, the 3 Litre chassis number 3 with its polished alloy body. Not only is this a rare survivor of the early history but it also has a link to James Bond. It is known that in the early Bond books James was actually driving Bentley and although the Bentley was replaced with the famous Aston Martin DB5 in the movies it was the son of the owner of this very first delivered 3 litre, Desmond Llewelyn, who would become famous as Q.

Going on in the Bentley history it was the 3 Litre chassis 141 that was the first Bentley to race in Le Mans in private hands of John Duff. Although W.O.Bentley was not keen in seeing his car on the 24h torture he and his works test driver Frank Clement joined in for the first edition and after seeing the challenge and the possible PR effect W.O.Bentley would never miss another edition until the takeover by Rolls-Royce resulting in 5 victories. Most famous was the works entry of the Speed Six giving “Old No.1” a double victory in 1929 and 1930. After a very colorful life with several changes the car actually today is an 8 Litre racer in the Brooklands configuration, in Hampton Court it was again joined by its sister car Old No.3 as well as Bruce McCaw’s second treasure, the Gurney Nutting Sportsman Coupe widely known as the Blue Train Bentley.

It is very common fact that W.O.Bentley was never a fan of Supercharging and so the actual Blowers were built by Tim Birkin, two of the Birkin Blowers were in London, the car of Bentley Motors themselves and the single seater that was missing in Pebble last month. What is less known that there was actually a supercharged Bentley built by the works service well before the Blower made their appearance as a single 3 Litre was developed, the red unicorn was present as well. 

Looking at the potential show stoppers it certainly was a trio of French designed cars that drew a lot of attention with the big names of the Concours Circus Bugatti, Delahaye and Delage, potential class and BoS winners all over the world. Peter Mullin brought the Delage D8-120 Cabriolet whose Chapron body was prominently featured in the movie “An American in Paris”. A very well-known car the two-tone maroon body attracted a lot of attention. Chapron also bodied the Delahaye 175 S but the lines on this one seemed more flamboyant than those on the Delage. Last but not least a Bugatti was admired and people did not seem the care that it actually is a rebodied. The Shah of Persia had this design on his car as seen in the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles and the car on show was rebodied in the same VanVooren design after losing its original body. 

Talking about originality the was nothing coming close to the 1911 Lancia Delta that was neglected for decades and is just brought back to a running condition. Not few looked at the rotten interior and were wondering what a car like this does on a show field but as a great reference for what the cars were built like in those years it was great to see as was the Diatto a Clément. 

So coming to the highlight and most likely the headline of most of the press releases and articles about Hampton Court is the quintet of Touring Superleggera Ferrari. No less than 4 166 MM Barchettas and a 212 Export Berlinetta were on display directly in front of the main building. After having a meeting with a drive to the Brooklands museum the cars arrived in Hampton Court and were surrounded the whole day by people. Rarely does one see several of them on one place and after the Monaco Concours several weeks back this was the second chance to look at this amount, an equal display might have only been possible in Pebble Beach in the past. 

So London in September is certainly well worth a visit with both the Concours in Hampton Court and the Salon Privé only an hour away. Thursday saw the opening of the Salon Privé, Saturday the change to the Bentley Display from the former Concours cars and today finally a world record in association with the Bentley Drivers Club when about 1300 Bentleys are expected to be placed at Blenheim. We will report later on that and leave you now with some impressions of the first of the two events this weekend


Report & images ... Peter Singhof

Ferrari Entry



Chassis #

166 MM Touring Barchetta



166 MM Touring Barchetta



166 MM Touring Barchetta



166 MM Touring Barchetta

Blue Metallizzato-Green Metallizzato


212 Export Touring Berlinetta



500 Mondial



290 MM/250 TR



330 GTC

Blue Metallizzato



Keith Bluemel