Salon Privé 2012 to Honour F40 and Gullwing Anniversaries
It'll be the second year that the festivities take place in the grounds of the Duke of Northumberland's London pad, following its migration from the Hurlingham Club to cope with swelling attendances year-on-year. It will, however, be the first time that the event has taken place so late in the summer, with renovation works to the house nudging the date back to 5-7 September.
Leading the Concours parade through the grounds of Syon each day will be a cluster of F40s, each campaigning to be crowned luminary of their earmarked category. Also enjoying their own, dedicated class will be a congregation of Gullwing Mercedes — but even the owners of the most beautiful examples must accept that the early W194 300SL racing car from the Mercedes heritage fleet may all but take the title simply by being there.
Another category highlighted this year is 'Shooting Brakes' — one which certainly promises to be an intriguing affair. One significant entrant already confirmed is the Vignale-bodied Ferrari 330 GT belonging to respected collector and musician Jay Kay, though he has promised a new colour scheme to replace the distinctive green and gold currently sported by the inimitable coupé-come-estate.
A two-tone paint scheme which is set to remain applied is the Gulf Powder Blue and Marigold Orange hues of the eminent Gulf livery, paraded by not one, but some 18 cars from a single owner. Known as the ROFGO collection — assembled for the individual by Adrian Hamilton of Classic Driver dealer Duncan Hamilton — it comprises many of the most important cars ever to wear the famous colours, chronologically bracketed by a 1967 Mirage and a 2010 Lamborghini Gallardo.
Of course, a few hours of being wowed by these and the other classics in attendance (another noteworthy example being the stunning one-off DB4 Bertone Jet, already confirmed) may leave some with a hankering for new metal — and there'll be no shortage of manufacturers happy to oblige. Repeat visitors such as Aston Martin, Bentley, BMW, Ferrari, Jaguar and Mercedes-Benz will once again tussle for attention, joined this year by newcomers such as Fisker, SSC and Touring Superleggera. The latter will hand a British debut to the Disco Volante 2012, one of the few modern cars with the required styling calibre to share Touring's stand with the 1953 Pegaso Z 102 'Thrill', whose Concours resumé includes Pebble and Villa d'Este.
Also new for 2012 will be the 'Aviation Lawn', which provides guests with an insight into ownership and charter options within the private aviation industry. On hand elsewhere will be representatives for yachts and other luxury sectors, while trade stands for various classic car dealers could have you driving home in something ready for the Concours at Privé 2013.
Add into the mix the Boodles Ladies Day and the Diamond Jubilee Ball, buoyed by lashings of Pommery champagne and the hope of a balmy early September, and the event certainly looks to be enticing. Tickets start at £195 per person, which includes a luncheon on the lawns with complimentary bar, and afternoon tea.
Photos: Salon Privé (F40 detail shot by Kristoff Buckow)