Hampton Court Palace, one of King Henry Vlll’s most favoured residences and presently owned by Queen Elizabeth ll, once again was the stage for the 2021 Concours of Elegance. Having only ever been staged at royal palaces for its nine previous editions Henry Vlll’s magnificent Fountain Gardens have become the Concours setting for the past four years.
With Covid restrictions easing in the UK, Concours organizers were able to gather a selection of 60 of the rarest cars from around the world – many of which have never been seen in the UK before -all competing for the Pullman Trophy `Best in Show` which is voted by the owners of the competing cars . In addition, now in its seventh year, is the Club Trophy, which sees some of the UK’s most prestigious car clubs offering up their finest examples to an independent panel of judges. The winning Club Trophy car secures a place in the following year’s main Concours of Elegance event.
One word could sum up the central feature `Spirit` whether you put it into a glass or a gas tank. Martini vs Gulf was the theme celebrating those two iconic liveries with a line-up of racing Porsches spanning the years of sponsorship. Among the cars on display were a Targa Florio-winning Porsche 911 Carrera RSR, a 1974 911 Carrera RSR Turbo and the inimitable Porsche 917K Le Mans racecar.
In addition to their regular categories for `Best in Show` and each decade throughout the twentieth century 2021 saw two new classes. Future Classics that brought along a display of the latest exclusive limited-edition luxury performance cars, models that will become sought-after collectors items in the future, if not already. Secondly was the Junior Concours with an amazing display of half and three-quarter scale Mercedes, Bugattis, Jaguars and Ferraris driven by the next generation of Concours entrants.
Also encouraging younger enthusiasts Sunday welcomed the 30 under 30 parade specifically for entrants 30 or under who owned a car made between 1900 and 1999. Thirty vehicles from around the World entered including marques from Britain, France, Germany, Italy and of course some American Muscle.
Friday paid homage to HRH Queen Elizabeth 2nd 95th birthday with a breath-taking line-up of classic British cars-one from each year of Her Majesties life-spanning from a 1926 Bentley 4 ½ litre Bentley to the 2021 all-electric Lotus Evija with Aston Martins, Jaguars, MGs Triumphs and McLarens between.
`Best in Show` was voted to be the 1934 Voisin Type C27 Aerosport an Art Deco jaw dropper. Its outrageous looks are the result of collaboration between Gabriel Voisin and André Noël-Noël Telmont, an architect who had met Voisin during their education. Using the basic outline of the Aerodyne as a start, the pair lowered it and added more luggage space, pentagon side windows, piano-hinged doors and aluminium accents. It also features a sliding roof powered by its own motor that works off the main engine’s vacuum. Having recently undergone a complete restoration the Voisin also features an unusual upholstery choice that compliments its unique character. The Club Trophy was awarded to a beautifully presented Fiat Dino Spider immediately earning it an entry for the main concours in 2022.
Already scheduled for the first weekend in September 2022 the Concours will be back at Hampton Court Palace where the organisers again aim to bring together a field of exotic and rare cars from around the World.