There were a record 93 entries in the 2020 Salon Privé Concours d’Elégance with entries covering more than a century of automotive history. From the 1904 Napier to the 2020 McLaren Senna GTR LM, everything was represented in the magnificent grounds of Blenheim Palace. The 17 classes were composed of a total of 77 cars and 16 motorbikes.
Acknowledged as the most prestigious such event in the UK, Salon Privé is a partner concours of The Peninsula Classic Best of the Best Award. The jury was led by Italian historian Adolfo Orsi and El Gilbertson and was composed of the world’s most experienced and knowledgeable ICJAG judges. Among the judges who extensively examined the cars was the Louwman Museum technical curator, Raoul San Giorgi, a Ferrari expert, and owner of the Maranello Concessionaires archive. Joining them were Girardo & Co’s Marcus Willis, and Audi stalwart, David Ingram, amongst others.
Within the ‘Veterans At The Palace group’ for pre-war classes machinery, the standout vehicle was the winner, a 1919 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost. It was built in the marque’s Springfield, Massachusetts factory. The car was seen in the 1974 film adaptation of The Great Gatsby which starred Robert Redford and Mia Farrow.
In the Pre-War Touring class, a 1936 SS Jaguar 100 took the prize. The car had competition history and was used as the basis for a matchbox scale model. The 110 years of Alfa Romeo history was celebrated with its own category and a 1933 Alfa Romeo 8C Monza Zagato was victorious.
Another Alfa Romeo that was given recognition was the ex-works, Tipo 33 TT12, which won ‘The Milestones of Endurance Racing’ 12 cylinder class. Chassis 008 was first raced at the 1974 Monza 1000km where they crossed the line first with drivers Arturo Merzario and Monza Andretti behind the wheel.
A 1988 Porsche 962 won the Milestones of Endurance Racing class. It was the model that helped define the remarkable Group C era of motorsport racing and was the privateer’s favorite during the later years of the 1980s.
In every prestigious Concours d’elégance event, Ferraris has a reputation of playing a center of attention role, and this year at Salon Privé was no exception. One of the most notable cars in the marque’s celebrated history won the Post-War Sports Racers class – 1949 Ferrari 166 MM Touring Barchetta. It won both the Mille Miglia and the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1949. To this day, it is the only car to win both events in the same year.
In the Post-War Sports Racers class, a Dino 246 GTS that was just recently completed after a three-year restoration took the prize; while the ‘Passione Ferrari’ class was taken by one of the only 22 right-hand-drive 250 GT Lussos. The Maranello marquee had a further win in the ‘Classics of the Future’ (Pre-2000) where a 1991 Ferrari F40 took the prize. A 2006 Pagani Zonda Roadster F won the Post-2000 class.
Post-War Touring (Closed, four-seater) class was awarded to one of the only three surviving Henri Chapron-bodied Citroën Le Paris. The car was freshly out from restoration and was immediately presented to the Blenheim Palace. Post-War Touring (Closed, two-seater) class was won by an Aston Martin DB4 Series II. It was bought new by Sir Robertson Huntly Steward and was used for six months to tour Europe before it was taken to New Zealand.
“Every year, we welcome the world’s greatest cars to Blenheim Palace, and 2020 was no exception. The finest marques in automotive history were represented in the Concours d’Elégance – our chosen specialists and marque experts really had their work cut out with the judging process, and the winners represent the very best of the international classic-car scene,”