IF you’re in the UK in early September, you might want to pop down to Windsor Castle, where an amazing collection of rare cars will be on display at the 2016 Concours of Elegance.
Sixty cars make up the ‘Main Concours’, held in the castle’s exclusive Quadrangle, but the event will also bring a further 1000 of the world’s most collectible cars to Windsor Castle in a celebration of the Queen’s 90th birthday.
Highlights of the Main Concours include a 1900 Daimler 6hp owned by the Queen, a one-off 1938 Hispano Suiza Dubonnet Xenia and a stunning Ferrari 250 GT Pininfarina Series I Cabriolet.
Some of the more recent cars in the Main Concours are a 1966 Radford Mini de Ville GT previously owned by George Harrison, the only factory-built Ferrari Testarossa Spider and an ultra-rare 2016 Touring Superleggera Disco Volante Spyder.
Special features to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday include a display of remaining cars from the very first British Grand Prix, which was held in 1926 – the year of the Queen’s birth.
A free-to-view section of the Concours of Elegance will see hundreds of cars from the likes of Ferrari, Aston Martin, Rolls-Royce, Jaguar, Bentley and more line Windsor Castle’s famous Long Walk, and some of the UK’s most respected car clubs will be displaying the best models they have to offer, including a standout display from the Aston Martin Owners’ Club, which will showcase one of every single model ever produced by the firm.
The Concours of Elegance is a charity fundraising event which has already donated more than £800,000 to charity, and this year it aims to break through the £1 million barrier. The 2016 Concours is raising funds for The Queen’s Choral Foundation, The Household Cavalry Foundation and Springfield Youth Club in Hackney.
The Concours of Elegance began in 2012, showcasing 60 of the world’s finest cars at Windsor Castle to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. Since then it has moved to St James’s Palace and Hampton Court Palace, before heading to the Palace of Holyrood House in Edinburgh in 2015. This year’s fifth edition returns to Windsor Castle as part of the Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations.
The 1900 Daimler 6hp owned by the Queen represents one of the earliest cars in the event – it was bought by King Edward VII as the first royal motor car.
Among the more unusual exhibits is the 1938 Hispano Suiza Dubonnet Xenia, an art-deco masterpiece designed by Jacques Saoutchik complete with unusual parallel sliding doors and an aviation-themed interior. From 1958 is another coach-built rarity: the Ferrari 250 GT Pininfarina Series I Cabriolet – one of just 40 built.
Sometimes the stories behind the cars are what makes them great, including the 1966 Mini Radford Mini de Ville GT in the Concours. Bought by Beatle George Harrison, the car was painted with a psychedelic livery for the film Magical Mystery Tour.
Also in the Main Concours is a 1986 Ferrari Testarossa Spider Valeo – the only factory-built convertible Testarossa in existence. It was especially built for Gianni Agnelli when he took over Fiat S.p.A in the ‘80s.
The Concours of Elegance traditionally tells the story of the automobile from start to finish, and the very latest car in this year’s Main Concours is the one-of-eight Touring Supeleggera Disco Volante Spyder. Based on the rare Alfa Romeo 8C Spider, the Disco Volante is hand-crafted from aluminium and carbon fibre.
Special features include the 1926 Grand Prix cars: an incredible Delage 155B, Talbot 700, Halford Special and Thomas Special will allow Concours visitors the chance to see where top level motorsport began in the UK.
There will also be ‘Revolutionary Cars of Her Majesty’s lifetime’ – British cars that have defined the British motor industry in each decade of the Queen’s lifetime. From the glamorous Bentley 3 Litre of the ‘20s and Rolls-Royce Phantom of the ‘30s, to the ingenious Mini of the ‘60s and game-changing McLaren F1 of the ‘90s, it will, say the organisers, “be a true celebration of British innovation and engineering”.
The Club Trophy, meanwhile, features hundreds of classic cars from across the UK and the best-of-the-best from the nation’s car clubs. Each club submits their individual Concours winners, which are then judged by a panel of Concours of Elegance experts, chaired by HRH Prince Michael of Kent and guest judges which in recent years have included David Gandy, Mark Knopfler and others.
There will also be a parade of every single Aston Martin ever produced. Organised with the help of the Aston Martin Owners’ Club, the parade will be arriving in to Windsor Castle at 9am on Saturday 3rd September, telling the complete Aston Martin story from the very beginning to the latest DB11 model.