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The Windsor Castle Concours Was Worth the Wait

Ferrari 288 GTO (1984
Ferrari 288 GTO (1984

The Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance was held between 2-4 September, presenting 65 vehicles in the main competition — 63 cars and two horse-drawn carriages previously used by the royal family. But besides the world’s most incredible cars, the visitors of the event could admire another couple of hundreds classic vehicles, gathered to the Club Display and parked at the two sides of the castle’s beautiful Long Walk — and among them some real rarities as well.

To mark the Queen’s 90th birthday, this year’s events also included the Jaguar Trophy and Bentley Trophy of Elegance (the two car supplier marque for the royal family), respectively the Club Trophy. Created in recognition of the spirit and dedication of car club members, the Club Trophy (supported by the Royal Automobile Club) mostly featured cars that have been previously victorious at a Concours from their club. The entries had been judged by a panel of experts chaired by Tom Purves of the Royal Automobile Club and including Prince Michael of Kent (a paternal first cousin of Queen Elizabeth II), the patron of the Concours of Elegance at Windsor Castle.

The winner of 2016 Jaguar Trophy was a remarkable 1954 XK120 Open Top Sports SE, while the ‘Coach Built Era Cars’ category won by a stunning 1934 SS1 Tourer. The Bentley Trophy went to a 1924 3-Litre Speed by Vanden Plas in almost original condition. One of the most interesting vehicles of the Club Trophy was a Lagonda based on a 1939 Le Mans chassis (the British constructor made five chassis for the 24 Hour race, but just two have been used for racing cars). The owner created a new bodywork, finished a day before the Concours — after a 14 and half years of hand work. But even more unique was the winner of the Club Trophy: the 1923 Aston Martin Cloverleaf, a three-seater cabriolet, the second production car that was built by the prestigious marque.

With that background, the Cloverleaf would be easily earned his place on the other side of the walk, among the cars of the Best of British exhibition, a display of the most iconic British cars built in the 90 years since The Queen’s birth. Like the 1948 ‘HUE’ Land Rover (how it is called by its number plate), the first pre-production model and the oldest Land Rover in the world, the first production Morris Minor from 1948 and the first Mini, which left the Cowley line on the 8th May 1959, and it always remained in Morris’ hands.

Or the oldest Jaguar E-Type in existence (a 1960 prototype, used initially for development testing), and the DeLorean DMC-12 ‘Pilot 20’, the oldest roadworthy DeLorean in the world — it was, hand-built and engineered by Lotus in August 1980, six months before the first production cars were built in Northern Ireland. The inaugural British Grand Prix was held in 1926, the year of The Queen’s birth, and was commemorated by two racers, the Halford-Special (built on the chassis of an early Aston Martin tourer) and a Delage 15 S8 Grand Prix.

Unique and rare automobiles have been displayed by the classic car dealerships present as well, like Rolls-Royces and Bentleys with coachwork by Veth and Zoon (Netherlands) Houston (Australia) or Worblaufen (Switzerland). Also an ex-Phil Hill Ford GT 40 Ex-Works Prototype Development car from 1964 (the first GT40 to ever be fitted with a 289 Cobra engine) and a Daimler Six Series 3, which practically came home — the sedan was supplied new to Queen Elizabeth II and used between 1991-1995 to attend various public engagements, and personally between Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.

2016 Windsor Castle Concours – Photo Gallery (click image for larger picture and description)

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