Topiary meets timeless classics at the 2021 Concours of Elegance
We’re here this Friday at the stunningly manicured grounds of Hampton Court Palace, once the home of Henry VII, not to see any wives get divorced or beheaded, but rather to witness some of the automotive world’s finest metal congregate for the 2021 Concours of Elegance. We have already shared with you the reveal of the Aston Martin Bulldog, but straight after the event kicked off with a spectacular parade of 95 of the most iconic British cars, one from each year of the Queen’s life, of which our three favourites had to be the 2008 Morgan AeroMax, 1976 Aston Martin Lagonda S2, and a stunning 1990 Lotus Carlton. However, that was just the opening ceremony, and the rest of the weekend is absolutely bursting with spectacular features.
One of the main themes for this year’s Concours of Elegance is Gulf VS. Martini, and as such this Saturday the perfectly sculpted topiary will be accompanied by some of the most iconic race cars to ever bear the distinctive blue, sky blue and red stripes of Martini, and the distinctive zenith blue and sharp tangerine orange of Gulf oil. Another main theme for this weekend is Coachbuilt Rolls Royces, which explains the multitude of bespoke creations from Barker, Park Ward, and HJ Mulliner attempting to outdo Hampton Court Palace itself in terms of grandiosity. However, it’s not just British coach builders being showcased here this weekend, because some of Zagato, Scaglietti, and Touring Superleggera’s most curvaceous rides have also made an appearance as part of this weekend’s final main theme — European Coachbuilt Greats.
In total, 60 cars, spanning almost 100 years of automotive passion, will take part in the Concours itself, but what sets the Concours of Elegance apart from other events in the calendar is that the winner isn’t selected by a panel of judges. Instead, the owner of the cars themselves choose, with each participant being asked to vote on the other models on display to decide which car will take home ‘Best of Show’.
The motoring royalty includes not one but two Porsche 917Ks, Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato, two Ferrari 275s and two Porsche 911 RSR, one being the fearsome turbo variant. Lancia are well represented with a Group V, Beta Monte-Carlo, the Le Mans LC2 and Group B 037. Modern supercars are also well represented with the McLaren F1 GTR 11R, Ferrari F50 and Carrera GT amongst the modern exotica.
Some of the more forward-looking events will be taking place on Sunday, including the Thirty Under 30 Concours, which is for anyone, 30 or under, that owns a motor car from 1900 to 1999. Also nurturing the next-generation of petrol heads is the Junior Concours, which celebrates the best pint-sized hand built pedal, electric and petrol powered cars, each of which have us wishing we were about three feet shorter. One of the final features to look forward to on Sunday is the Future Classics, which considers which modern-day rides will eventually become Concours-worthy themselves, with some of the most exclusive metal on the market vying for the crowd’s attention — think Singer Porsche 911 and Ferrari Monza.
Photos: Rob Cooper for Classic Driver © 2021