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A classic day out: Concours of Elegance 2019

The most astonishing cars ever produced, a line-up of world-famous luxury brands, and one of the UK’s most beautiful historic settings. That’s the very successful recipe for the world-famous Concours of Elegance, which is coming to Hampton Court Palace from 6-8th September.

Presented by luxury watchmakers, A. Lange & Söhne, the Concours of Elegance first began at Windsor Castle in 2012, as the only motoring event ever to have been granted access to the secretive, idyllic Quadrangle and personally signed off by Her Majesty The Queen.

Since then, the event has grown, hosted at St James’s Palace in 2013, Hampton Court Palace in 2014, the Palace of Holyroodhouse in 2015, back to Windsor in 2016 and then finding itself a semi-permanent home at Hampton Court Palace in 2017, where it returns once more this year. As the Concours of Elegance has evolved over the years – always with a stunning collection of cars at its heart – it has morphed into a celebration of luxury goods, fine food and drink, wonderful music and superb displays of art.

Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato - Credit Tim Scott.JPG (1)
On display is a stunning Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato. Image credit Tim Scott

But it’s worth spending a bit of time focusing on the cars: the line-up is a veritable feast of the most famous brands in the world; Ferrari, Rolls-Royce, Bugatti and Lamborghini all feature. But each car in the Concours must be invited to attend, and in order to get an invitation, your car must be extremely special. An expert Concours of Elegance Steering Committee of motoring aficionados pick one-offs, rarities and models with incredible backstories to invite to Hampton Court Palace to create a truly special line-up of vehicles.

On display is an impeccable and highly original Ballot 3/8 LC, hidden away for many years in England and only recently rediscovered. The incredible finding turned out to be more momentous than anyone had realised, as it came to light this Ballot was the exact car that won the very first Italian Grand Prix back in 1921. It’s an impeccable piece of motorsport history, and one that’ll be proudly on display at Hampton Court Palace. You can find the first ever Jaguar D-Type built, the 15th E-Type built, or the legendary McLaren F1 parked next to a unique McLaren P1 GTR ‘Beco’ inspired by racing driver, Ayrton Senna. There’s no shortage of rarity on display.

For three days only, the gardens at Hampton Court Palace will be home to over 300 of the finest and rarest motor cars ever to be seen

The line-up continues with a collection of fine Italian supercars from Pagani. In celebration of 20 years since it burst onto the performance car scene with the Zonda, the Concours of Elegance will gather six examples, spanning its near-20-year production run. With an advanced carbon fibre body, fine Italian craftsmanship and up to 800hp, the Zonda is perhaps the ultimate expression of a supercar.

A special feature this year will gather together a number of Ferrari 166 models – the only car to ever have won the Le Mans 24 Hours, the Mille Miglia and the Spa 24 Hours races. In the year that legendary design house Zagato celebrates its Centenary, visitors to the Concours of Elegance will also be able to browse one example of each of its gorgeous masterpieces created in partnership with Aston Martin – a total of 17.

And, during Bentley’s Centenary Year, Concours of Elegance visitors will have the chance to see the most significant Bentleys ever produced, including the first to race at Le Mans – a 3 Litre – the first to ever win back-to-back at Le Mans and the famous Speed Six ‘Blue Train’ fabled to have raced Le Train Bleu across France.

Ballot 3_8 LC - Credit - Tim Scott
On display is an impeccable and highly original Ballot 3/8 LC. Image credit Tim Scott

In total, nearly 1000 cars will gather in the Palace grounds for a number of other features, including the sixth annual Royal Automobile Club Trophy. The UK’s finest car clubs, from Rolls-Royce, Ferrari, Aston Martin, enter their finest vehicles for an opportunity to win a much-vaunted place among the Main Concours collection of cars in the 2020 event.

All of these cars provide a unique atmosphere for a whole host of luxury experiences at Concours of Elegance, including three-course luxury picnics and an on-site fine-dining restaurant by Tom Aikens and champagne by the original Champagne Charlie, Charles Heidsieck.

There’s the opportunity for a bit of luxury shopping, too, with pop-up boutiques from the likes of fine horologists A. Lange & Söhne and their intricately crafted German timepieces, and fashion brands like Mason and Sons. And if all of that isn’t enough, your tickets to the Concours of Elegance also provide access to Hampton Court Palace itself.