Salon Privé 2011 – New date and venue for the luxury lifestyle, supercar event and concours d’elegance
It was all change at Salon Privé last week. Instead of a late-July date in SW6, the event was held some weeks earlier, in the spacious surroundings of Syon House, West London.
Also new for 2011 was the associated classic car sale conducted by RM Auctions, the review of which you can read elsewhere on Classic Driver. But, situated at a better-laid-out venue – occasionally inclement weather notwithstanding – this year’s ‘SP’ was the best in its six-year history.
Each of the three days carried its own theme, the event closing with ‘carriages’ at 1am, in the early hours of Saturday, 25 June. The concours judging took place on the Friday, although guests had ample opportunity to view the entries on all three days, a particular highlight being the drive-through of competing cars every afternoon. As many of these were competition cars, the effect was noisily impressive...
The overall winner of the Chubb Insurance-sponsored concours d’elegance was the 1939 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500S Berlinetta entered by owner Gary Snell. A competitor in Class G, ‘The Thirties’, the superb dark red machine beat top quality opposition from Ferrari, Aston Martin, Bugatti, Delahaye, Rolls-Royce and Bentley.
Upon arriving at Salon Privé, guests were met by a display of modern cars that included Aston Martin, BMW, Bugatti, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Range Rover, Rolls-Royce and Porsche. Local main dealer specialists from the HR Owen Group were on hand to help those unsure of the finer points of the latest Lamborghini Aventador, or to guide the undecided behind the wheel of a Bugatti Veyron, the exciting hypercar now in its last months of production. HR Owen’s Brompton Road official Ferrari dealership had on its stand a Ferrari California and a 458 Italia.
With the weather blowing hot, cold, wet and dry every 10 minutes, the California’s retractable metal roof would have been the perfect car for the conditions.
Behind the modern cars was a field of historic Group C Porsches, gathered from around the world with the help of Henry Pearman (whose Eagle company was debuting its Jaguar Lightweight E-type Speedster at Syon House). The name ‘Derek Bell’ was on many of them, and Bognor Regis’s most famous racing driver was present at Salon Privé as one of the concours judges.
Set on the perimeter of the event’s two large lawns were white tents housing luxury brands eager to showcase their wares to the captive Salon Privé guests. Associate sponsors, including Swiss watchmaker Audemars Piguet and Vertu mobile phones, were showing their latest designs, while those looking for a private jet (ConnectJets), a helicopter (Elite Helicopters) or a boat (Riva was showing its latest Aquariva by Marc Newson) were well catered for.
As an English equivalent to The Quail, the organisers have a little way to go. But moving westwards to a much larger venue with better on-site parking and the attendant RM auction was certainly the right move for the Salon Privé team – see you in 2012.
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