Falling on the first weekend in September, there are few events better suited to rounding out the great British summer than Concours of Elegance. Not only does this elegant occasion celebrate the undeniably British tradition of Sunday driving – taking out your classic car on an intentionally aimless journey for the sheer joy of the experience – it has also taken place at the country’s finest royal residences and is attended by some of the UK’s most famous car marques.
Being hosted this year at Hampton Court Palace, along with the Rolls-Royces and Bentleys, there will be a distinctly international flavour courtesy of models from the likes of Bugatti, Lamborghini and Ferrari, along with fine dining and even finer shopping thanks to principle partner A. Lange & Söhne. Here’s our essential guide to Concours of Elegance 2019…
Be awed by one-off models
As ever, a stunning array of rare and vintage cars is at the heart of Concours of Elegance with nearly 1,000 cars on vying for the numerous awards and trophies up for grabs this year. Vetted by the event’s expert Steering Committee, each car must be invited to attend and, in most cases, will be one-offs or models with incredible back stories with the aim being to create an unparalleled line up of truly special vehicles.
Among this year’s highlights is an impeccable Ballot 3/8 LC. Having stayed hidden in an English garage for years, its discovery was made all the more momentous by the realisation that this was the car that won the very first Italian Grand Prix in 1921. This exquisite piece of motoring history is joined by the first ever Jaguar D-Type to be built and a unique McLaren P1 GTR ‘Beco’ inspired by legendary racing driver Ayrton Senna.
Help these marques celebrate their birthdays
For many, the best thing about classic car shows is seeing so many models from one marque or coach builder lined up side-by-side – and Concours of Elegance 2019 won’t disappoint. Pagani will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Zonda by gathering together six examples spanning the car’s two decade production run. Documenting the model’s evolution, their shared carbon fibre bodies, Italian craftsmanship and powerful engineering make their combined force something to behold.
Iconic coach builder Zagato is also celebrating a special anniversary – its centenary – this year and is offering visitors to Concours the chance to see an example of each of its 17 collaborations with Aston Martin. Bentley – also turning 100 in 2019 – will be represented by three of its most historic and significant models. These include the first Bentley to race at Le Mans, the first to win back-to-back races at Le Mans and the Speed Six ‘Blue Train’ which legend has it raced Le Train Bleu across France.
Enjoy fine dining and culture
No great British day out is complete without a picnic but, this being Concours of Elegance, don’t expect anything less than a supreme gourmet spread. Tom’s Kitchen will be on hand throughout the three-day event offering luxury picnics, featuring the likes of olive and rosemary focaccia, coronation chicken salad and Eton mess, along with seated lunch and afternoon tea options. Tom’s Kitchen has also teamed up with Patron Tequila to create a menu of summery cocktails – including watermelon punch and Patron Paloma – while more traditional libations will come courtesy of Charles Heidsieck Champagne.
Ticket holders will also be able to wander the halls of the majestic Hampton Court Palace while high-end shopping will be supplied by brands such as A. Lange & Sohne, Bennett Winch, Collier Dobson and Calie Parese.
Don your finery
While there’s no official dress code for Concours of Elegance, it is expected that attendees will put their best foot forward in the style stakes. Semi-casual is the order of the day so dig out your best chinos and a well cut jacket – no tie required. Accessorise with a striking driving-inspired timepiece and you’ll look just the part.
Mr P cotton and linen blazer
Salle Privee chinos
Sir Plus Oxford grandad shirt
Crockett & Jones Sydney loafers
A. Lange & Söhne Richard Lange Jumping Seconds watch
Ettinger money clip
Concours of Elegance
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