More than 100 of the world’s finest and greatest cars, spanning nine classes, will be featured in the upcoming 2021 Salon Privé Concours d’Elégance, and those cars make up more than a century of motoring history. Although each car has its own story and rich history, this year’s event will have three very special pre-war cars that will be presented in front of the Blenheim Palace to sway the panel of knowledgeable and highly esteemed ICJAG concours judges.
The pre-war era is known to have made the most beautiful high-performance cars, but even then, the Mercedes-Benz 540K set itself apart with its achievements and it is still one of the most highly sought pre-war models. The car is equipped with a 5.4-liter supercharged straight-eight engine, and it can run at 100mph, and also have a luxurious interior. The flagship model was launched at the 1936 Paris Salon and Mercedes-Benz hailed it as ‘a car for the connoisseur’.
Road-testers were unanimous in praising the 540k as it was the perfect combination of speed and comfort. In Brooklands, The Autocar, even with three passengers, was able to record a top speed of 104.65mph. The writers were captivated by the sound that the supercharger on full throttle made.
The example was one of the 98 cars that were made in 1938. The 540k Cabriolet A, chassis number 154076, which will be presented at the South Lawn at Blenheim Palace had a unique specification from its first owner. It was delivered on February 5, 1938, to a Berlin advertising agency, Tauentzien-Verlag, that was owned by Georg Niedermeier. It is a one-off configuration with a two-seater Cabriolet A coachwork that has a longer-wheelbase chassis. The engine and gearbox were moved back almost 20cm.
Joining the 540K is the gorgeous 1929 Mercedes-Benz 680S that has a Gangloff body. The renowned coachbuilder produced coachwork for the finest marques of its time like Rolls-Royce, Isotta Fraschini, Hispano-Suiza, and Bugatti.
In October 1928, chassis number 35979 was delivered to the Swiss carrosserie, and it was fitted with a Sport 4 body. In early 1929, it was then showcased at the Copenhagen Motor Show where Prince Axel of Denmark himself admired the car. It was then acquired by its first owner, Hermann Schreiber from Grenchen, Switzerland.
In the 1950s, the 680S was modified and turned into a two-seater, although they retained most of the front half of the bodywork. Recently, it was given a ground-up restoration where they returned it to its original glory. They used as reference the photographs that were taken at the Mercedes-Benz factory at the time.
Joining the two Mercedes-Benz is one of the most rakish pre-war sports cars in England. SS Cars Ltd, which was founded by William Lyons and would eventually be renamed to Jaguar after the war. The 3.5-liter Jaguar SS 100 set the template that would later be perfected by Jaguar – a car with exquisite looks and great performance, at a relatively low price.
Only 118 3.5-liter SS 100s were built, and in 1938 chassis number 39080 was sold to its first owner JMF Hilton. In 1951, it was acquired by Frank Lobb and was brought to Australia. For the next 10 years, chassis 39080 would join competitions Down Under sporadically.
In the late 1960s, chassis 39080 was dismantled and it remained in that condition for more than 40 years until it was acquired by renowned authority John Clucas in 2012. He then had the SS 100 go through a meticulous restoration. The painstaking restoration and end product was then considered the finest example in the world. The project was eventually documented in a book, and it eventually became what is considered the ‘bible’ for future SS 100 restorations.
The Concours d’Elégance is one of the main events for Salon Privé week. It is presented over three days, with ICJAG jury and specialist judges are invited to give awards. There are also a special few awards that are given by the Duke of Marlborough, Chairman Andrew Bagley, and Salon Privé guests themselves.
Ladies’ Day presented by Boodles is held on Friday. It is the best time to see and be seen during the event. Hats of every shape, size, and design will be seen on the lawn. On Saturday, there is the Salon Privé Club Trophy presented by Lockton. It is the largest club-only event in the UK and it features a lot of prestigious single-marque clubs. The Salon Privé Week finale will be held on Sunday at the Classic and Supercar event. This year, the 60th anniversary of the legendary jaguar E-type will also be celebrated.
In 2020, the South Lawn had the debut of 25 Global, European, and UK debuts from the most famous automotive brands all over the world. They will also be hosting similar debuts for this year. The most experienced and knowledgeable classic car specialists in the UK will also be in attendance. This year, there is also a brand-new element in the form of the Salon Privé TIME, wherein they will showcase the leading watchmakers in the world.
The most exclusive luxury brands will also be offering the best form of retail therapy as well as first-class hospitality. Everything is set for another memorable Salon Privé Week.
Salon Privé Week 2021 1 September – Salon Privé Concours d’Elégance presented by Aviva 2 September – Salon Privé Concours d’Elégance presented by Aviva 3 September – Salon Privé Ladies’ Day presented by Boodles 4 September – Salon Privé Club Trophy presented by Lockton 5 September – Salon Privé Classic & Supercar
For those interested to attend, tickets are available at the website www.salonpriveconcours.com or via the Ticket Hotline: 0808 100 2205.