The 2007 Cartier Style et Luxe

As usual, one of the high spots of the Goodwood Festival was the super-luxury concours. With five Bugatti Royales and a star-studded cast of judges, not even the weather could put a dampener on proceedings.

The big story was the presence of no less than five examples of what many consider to be the world’s most elegant car – the sublime Bugatti Royale. Quite literally ‘in a class of their own’, experts estimated their total value to surpass $60 million. After much debate the category-winner was the Kellner-bodied Coach from a private European collection – the car that holds the world record automobile auction price of £5.5million from its 1986 sale at the Royal Albert Hall.

Both Darcey Bussell and Bryan Ferry (two of the multi-talented team of judges) would happily have been chauffeured home from Goodwood in one of the Royales.

The 2007 Cartier Style et Luxe The 2007 Cartier Style et Luxe

Size, style and value notwithstanding, the event’s Best of Show award went to a British rarity; Brian Classic’s 1937 Atalanta Sports. The Cheshire-based classic car aficionado and dealer was genuinely lost for words when Arnaud Bamberger, Managing Director, Cartier UK presented top prize.

The Festival is a great one for ‘themes’, and a strong one (that covered a lot of acreage on the lawn this year) was Finned Fantasy - the Space-Age influence on 1950s American car design. This was won by Paul Gatty’s 1959 Chevrolet Impala, and its surroundings were suitably enlivened by a line of life-size renderings of finned American classics, ‘installed’ in the manner of the famous Cadillac Ranch on Route 66 by painter (and Cartier Style et Luxe judge) Allen Jones.

After the Festival the sculptures will be moved to a more permanent display at the Goodwood Sculpture Park.

Other winning cars included the Lotus Elite that impressed judges at Goodwood just as it wowed onlookers 50 years ago when launched at the London Motor Show. “It’s so beautiful I want to hang the bodyshell on my wall at home,” said Gordon Murray, designer of the McLaren F1 supercar.

The unique 1946 Hewson Rocket entered for Goodwood by the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville was the choice of design guru Sir Terence Conran and interior designer Jane Churchill with its rounded, highly polished bodywork, simple details and innovative safety ideas.

The 2007 Cartier Style et Luxe The 2007 Cartier Style et Luxe

Pick of the European GTs would have to be the winner of the Gran Turismo class, the 1957 Ferrari 250GT Tour de France owned by Friedrich von Bohlen und Halbach – a car that was racing last weekend at the Shell Ferrari Historic Challenge at Le Mans.

For sheer style, you can’t really beat that.

Ms Darcey Bussell and Lord Linley

Ms Dannii Minogue and Lady Alexandra Gordon-Lennox

Mr Bryan Ferry and Mr Arnaud Bamberger


Class One: GONE WITH THE WIND The dawn of the thoroughbred sports car
1922 Ballot 2L. Owner Douglas Blain

Class Two: KINGS OF THE ROAD. The fabulous Bugatti Royale 1927-1931
1932 Bugatti Type 41 with bodywork by Kellner of Paris. Owner Private European Collection

Class Three: GENTLEMAN’S RELISH. British sports car of the 1930s
1936 Riley MPH. Owner Julian Messent

Class Four: ONE FOR ALL. The 75th anniversary of the Ford Flat-head V8
1946 Hewson Rocket. Owner Sue and Jeff Lane

Class Five: GRAN TOURISMO. Fabulous fast backs of the 1950s
1957 Ferrari 250GT Tour de France. Owner Friedrich von Bohlen und Halbach

Class Six: FINNED FANTASY. Space-Age influence on 1950s American car design
1959 Chevrolet Impala. Owner Paul Gatty

Class Seven: CHANGING LINES. Innovative GTs 1957-1967
1961 Lotus Elite. Owner Olav Glasius

Class Eight: GOING NOWHERE FAST. Rare supercars of the 1990s
1993 Jaguar XJR15. Owner Ian Headon

1937 Atalanta Sports. Owner Brian Classic.

Text: Steve Wakefield
Photos: Cartier, courtesy of James Mann / Tim Griffiths - all strictly copyright

ClassicInside - The Classic Driver Newsletter
Free Subscription!