The Concours of Elegance brought sunshine and £100m+ of cars to Scotland

Uncharacteristically bathed in glorious sunshine for the entire weekend, the lawns of Holyroodhouse Palace in Edinburgh hosted 60 upper-echelon automobiles for the fourth Royal Concours of Elegance…

The event’s organisers once again went with the unique ‘all cars are winners’ formula, so none of the cars was singled out by the steering committee for individual prizes – although the owners’ choice ‘Best in Show’ award went to the earliest machine at the event, the 1903 Mercedes 60HP Simplex. In the end, it was the car’s complex engineering combined with the female crew’s tenacity (and surprising speed) on the pre-Concours tour that earned the votes of their driving peers. By claiming the title, the German-owned car will automatically be invited to The Quail in 2016, as part of a new ‘Best of the Best’ initiative that will gather the overall winners from the six most prestigious concours events in the calendar.

112 years of automotive highpoints

At the other end of the 2015 event’s impressive chronological span were two of the latest Ferraris: a rather intimidating ‘LaF’, and an F12 that had come to Scotland via Carrozzeria Touring’s workshops in order to be transformed into a one-of-five Berlinetta Lusso. Chaperoning the elegant masterpiece was its designer, Louis de Fabribeckers, who also sketched us a theoretical ‘Quattroporte’ (four-door) version for a bit of fun, and was clearly soaking up inspiration for future projects from the magnificent machinery around him. His personal favourite from the field was the unique, Irish-owned Aston Martin DB4GT Jet by Bertone, and we doubt he was alone…

Best of British

Another Newport Pagnell-sired beauty was the American-owned short-chassis DB6 Volante – but it was Jaguar and Bentley that had the largest presence of the British stalwarts, each with a full day to promote their heritage. In partnership with Classic Driver, Jaguar held its own concours for private entries on the Saturday (more on that later), while Bentley used the Sunday for a number of historic vehicles, including the legendary 'Blue Train'. On the subject of patriotic provenance, a full quota of Royal vehicles was displayed, including impressive state limousines and two ‘Queensmobile’ Land Rovers.

From the track to the concours lawn

Other themed displays included the largest-ever gathering of Ecurie Ecosse cars – with privately owned C- and D-types watching over the other members of their racing brotherhood from the roof of their matching Commer transporter. More track-born machines came in the form of the ex-Innes Ireland 250 GTO (the most expensive car in the world when bought by Craig McCaw in 2012), Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato ‘2 VEV’, and one of the ten 275 GTS/4 Spyders commissioned by the North American Racing Team. The latter, one of the two aluminium-bodied examples, won the RAC Spirit of Motoring award and was driven enthusiastically throughout the pre-Concours tour by its owner Jon Shirley.

A Royal treat

Other notable cars included an F40 LM, a unique Ghia Spyder prototype on Fiat underpinnings, and an Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 that proudly bore the Scuderia Ferrari crest from its days as one of Enzo’s team cars. The organisers must be duly commended, such was the quality of cars spanning all eras, backgrounds and continents; and they announced on Sunday that the event will return to Windsor Castle next year with the Queen’s blessing. To return the favour, the field will be expanded from 60 to 90 cars to celebrate Her Majesty’s 90th birthday – and if the quality of entries at this year’s Concours can be upheld, we’re in for a Royal treat… quite literally.

Photos: Tom Shaxson for Classic Driver © 2015