Louis Vuitton Classic 2004

Moving from its usual Hurlingham Club, London venue, and having missed a year in 2003, it was business as usual for entrants to one of the world’s most prestigious concours. As ever style was all, and the evening saw a magnificent gala dinner in honour of the ‘Best in Show’.

Blessed with generally good weather, Waddesdon Manor, purchased by Baron Ferdinand Rothschild from the Duke of Marlborough some 130 years ago, and now owned by the National Trust (near Oxford in Central England) was a magnificent backdrop to nearly 100 motor cars and ‘bikes. Magnificence in preparation is appreciated, but a Vuitton Classic winner has to show more than that, it has to personify travelling style and excellence in the manner of its sponsors. This year’s overall ‘Grand Prix Best in Show’ went to the 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom II entered by Stephen Brauer in the ‘Kings of the Road - Bespoke Coachwork for Royalty and Heads of State’ class.

The unofficial ‘Classic Driver’ award would have gone to the 1959 Ferrari Dino 246 S, superbly prepared by DK Engineering - and in between racing appearances at Silverstone that weekend. Ferrari experts DK were also responsible for bringing the yellow, ex-Francorchamps 250 LM and the ex-Shah of Iran Lamborghini Miura SVJ. Another gorgeous Italian GT car would have to be the black 1955 Maserati A6G/54 from pop star Jay Kay’s collection, its handler for the day being exotic-car specialist Lee Maxted-Page. And the Bizzarrini Strada, and the 250 SWB of course…the list goes on.

Modern concept cars from Renault, Mitsubishi, Citroën, Jaguar, Nissan and Corvette vied with the superb Rolls-Royce 100 EX convertible outside the front of the Manor, while the motorcycle class had its own avenue of trees to be set under.

Results -

Grand Prix Best in Show - 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom II

Kings of the Road - 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom II

Touring Titans, Sports Cars of the 1920s and early ‘30s - 1932 Invicta S-Type

Gran Turismo – Italian Grand Touring Cars of the 1950s - 1955 Ferrari 375 America

Le Mans Legends - 1959 Ferrari Dino 246 S

Wild Horses, High Performance American V8s - 1966 Ford Mustang GT 350H

Riviera Romance, Exclusive Open Cars from the 1950s and ‘60s - 1947 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500

The Perfect Line, Exotic Sports Cars of the 1930s - 1936 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900A

Gallic Greats, French Coachwork from the Dawn of Motoring - 1901 Serpollet Steam Car

Step On It Bertie, British Sports Cars of the 1930s - 1939 Aston Martin 15/98

1954 Le Mans 24 Hours-winning Ferrari 375 Plus
1955 Maserati A6G/54
1959 Ferrari Dino 246 S
1964 Ferrari 250LM
JW Gulf-liveried 1970 Porsche 917K
Vuitton centrepiece 1928 Bugatti Type 40
'Grand Prix Best in Show’ 1934 Rolls-Royce Phantom II
'Gran Turismo - Italian Touring Cars of the 1950s and '60s'
1937 Lagonda V12 Rapide
1970 Plymouth Superbird
1942 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS
1963 Lister Jaguar GT
Overlooking the Parterre at Waddesdon Manor
'The Perfect Line - Exotic Sports Cars of the 1930s'
1930 Bugatti Type 43 Grand Sport

Story/Photos - Classic Driver