As the collector car season draws to an end and leaves start to turn gold and red in the north-east of Europe (and everywhere that lies east, speaking from an Andalusian point of view) hypercars and classic cars emerge from garages in Spain and the Costa del Sol to head to the iconic jet-setter towns of Marbella and Estepona for the eclectic Concurso de Elegancia Costa del Sol. It’s an event where brand new cars manufactured in extremely limited numbers and built by the “bespoke”, “tailor made” or “sur measure” divisions of car manufacturers are judged next to priceless automotive artworks from the past.
We visited this event last year and were blown away by its scale, the quality of the cars (more on the hypercar end of the spectrum, but still) the scenery and especially the light. The sun shines differently on the Costa - it being so close to Africa - and the way it brings out the colours of everything, from the greenery to the metal, makes the Concurso de Elegancia Costa del Sol one of the most attractive concours events on the planet. As the whole thing happens in the evenings, mostly in order to prevent the guests from cooking in their suits and gowns — yes, Marbella is a hot place even on the last weekend of September — anywhere you turn the lens of a camera makes for a pretty amazing picture.
The structure of the event changed slightly since 2022. The first day, held exclusively for an elite few hypercar owners, as well as some invited guests, VIP’s and media, saw judging being done (in part by our own CEO JP Rathgen) in the gardens of the Kempinski Hotel Bahia. It was quite a spectacular sight, as the garden itself separates the hotel from the beach, so the exotic metal was displayed with a backdrop of either palm trees or sand and water. By the evening’s end, all cars were also romantically covered in the sea’s ‘spray’, which was probably a nightmare for the detailing team that had to clean them before the following day.
Our favourite cars of the day? The Bugatti Chiron Supersport 300+ in a mean orange and black livery, which visually and technically mimicked the world speed record-breaking car that exceeded the threshold of 300 mph (482 km/h) with Andy Wallace at the wheel. Also technically similar, but completely different in style, was the all white Chiron Super Sport ‘Habillé par Hermès’, which had the craziest modernist pattern in its interior.
The ‘classic’ Porsche Carrera GT in signal yellow, entered into the concours by one of Ferdinand Piëch’s progeny, was also a sight to behold. The same can be said for the Ferrari F40 sitting right next to a modern day Countach and an SP3 Daytona, not to mention the various Veyrons and the matching pair of McLarens — a P1 and Speedtail — both in a one-off blue that is registered and can be used only by the owner.
On day two, all hypercars travelled to Magna Marbella Golf Course, where they were they met with classic cars ranging from a Rolls Royce Phantom I and stunning 275 GTB Ferrari, to what one could call the cool “youngtimers” of the moment, like the Rolls-Royce Corniche III, a 2005 Ferrari Superamerica and the 722 Stirling Moss McLaren-Mercedes. Special cars like the Porsche 935 and the Marsien, manufactured by our friend Marc Philipp Gemballa, were also displayed, as were various supercars and luxo-barges belonging to guests of the event.
Our eye was caught, however, by the Blu Pozzi Ferrari F50, a lovely Porsche RS-61 Spyder and of course… the Wood & Pickett Range Rover Goodwood Convertible from 1976. We last saw this unmistakable Range Rover in our 25th Anniversary Display at the Hampton Court Concours of Elegance, and it is the perfect fit to Marbella with its extravagant image.
The award ceremony was held on the next evening in the stunning setting of the Puerto Banus Marina, with various super yachts serving as a quite surreal background. We were happy to see that an immaculate Ford Escort Cosworth, a true blue collar working-class hero, won best in class in the 1990-2000 category, with a matching-numbers Ferrari 250 GT California Spider taking Best of Show and proving to be the most elegant classic car. This example was already celebrated during concours events around the world, including this year’s Copa d’Oro Villa d’Este, so we wholeheartedly agree with the jury’s verdict. Best of Show for hypercars went, unsurprisingly, to the Bugatti Chiron 300+ , a true tour de force car.
While we mused upon whether these hypercars will become true classics in time, just like the Ferrari 250 or the Dino 246 GTS (we think so - just looking at how the Veyron is ageing), we enjoyed the fireworks display over the bay and the excellent local jazz band, which together with the oysters and champagne made us nostalgic of the legendary decadence of Marbella during the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s. Then it was cue the Jan Hammer music as we hopped into the Range Rover and headed back the hotel. See you at next year’s Concurso, which the way things are going might just become our favourite end of season event!
Photos by Błażej Żuławski