Motoring

Antiques Roadshow

Hampton Court Palace Concours Of Elegance

© Matt Ankers

Beautiful weather, beautiful landscapes and beautiful cars… it’s not hard to see the appeal of a good automotive event.

The best are more than just looking at the machines themselves – however exquisite they may be – but are an experience unto themselves, one replete with fine Champagne and social schmoozing. There are plenty around the world to choose from – but you can’t go to them all, no matter how much you wish you could. However, like an important polo match, one simply must be seen at the correct ones, darling. From the charms of Hampton Court Palace to the sundrenched shores of Lake Como, these are very much the locations to be seen at…

 

Hampton Court Palace Concours Of Elegance

Add the Hampton Court Palace event to your diary this September and enjoy stunning motors in incredible surroundings

Hampton Court Palace Concours Of Elegance – 1st September

‘Classic cars in Britain’ – it would almost be strange if Goodwood wasn’t the first place to jump to mind. But while the Festival of Speed, Revival and even the Members’ Meet all have their unique charms, they tend to be more for actual racers and collectors than appreciators – and therefore not the most accessible in the world. One afternoon at the Hampton Court Palace event, however, and you’ll be enamoured.

The building itself needs little introduction and indeed the Queen’s royal residence isn’t the only aristocratic link. The entire concours is under the patronage of Prince Michael of Kent who also happens to be President of the Royal Automobile Club. Essentially, if you own land or a title, you’ll fit in just fine.

The biggest difference between the Concours of Elegance and other events isn’t so much the cars – plenty do the tour throughout the year – but the way a winner is picked. Rather than a panel of judges, the 60-odd owners each cast their own vote for one of their competitors. It’s good-natured, mildly eccentric and wonderfully British.

concoursofelegance.co.uk

 

Pebble Beach Concours D’elegance

Pebble Beach Concours D’elegancePebble Beach Concours D’elegance

Pebble Beach Concours D’elegance – 20th August

Our stateside cousins have certainly embraced the tenets of the British social elite at their annual concours. Forget the vast automotive fair that’s also hosted at California’s Pebble Beach; the concours is an entirely different – not to mention far more civilised – affair. Replace the press passes and mountains of camera equipment with boaters and appreciative nods and you have some sense of the event. Taking place on the 18th fairway of the Pebble Beach Golf Links, the perfectly-manicured greenery acts as a fitting annual stage for 200 of the most important classic cars still on four wheels. Just don’t let the joviality fool you; this is as competitive as any beauty pageant, with collectors as precious of their vehicles as any pushy mother. The result is a collection of the most obsessively-perfect cars of their kind. There are few more captivating sights than the road race to kick off proceedings. This is what Pebble Beach was made for.

www.pebblebeachconcours.net

 

D’eleganza Villa D’este

D’eleganza Villa D’este

D’eleganza Villa D’este – 26th May

What could possibly be better to the true classic car enthusiast than sitting along the wonderfully warm shores of Italy’s grandest lake, all the while surrounded by 50-odd cars of unsurpassable provenance? What the Concorso lacks in scale – at least in comparison to other concours – it more than makes up in prestige. The event has been held since 1929, making it one of the oldest in the world, and, thanks to both its heritage and boutique nature, it feels altogether more refined than even the likes of Pebble Beach and Hampton Court Palace. Despite the innately Italian setting, this year’s theme is as global as Phileas Fogg himself. The full title is ‘Around the World in 80 Days – Voyage Through an Era of Records’, so you can expect to see some extraordinary automobiles taking part. Covering the 1920s all the way through to the 1980s, this is very much the car event to be seen at.

concorsodeleganzavilladeste.com

 

Top Marques Monaco

Top Marques Monaco – 20th April

So far we’ve stuck to classic concours d’elegance – and for good reason. Most modern automotive spectacles tend to lack the kind of exclusivity that earns them a spot on the social calendar – as well as the car one. Top Marques Monaco, however, earns that and more.

For one it’s not solely a car event. Alongside the engines on four wheels you’ll find a plethora of boats and yachts of various sizes, plenty of luxury brands and (of obvious interest to us) watches. Just like a good concours, it’s more of a lifestyle show than an automotive one. That said, the cars are still very much centre stage; the stars are simply more art house than Hollywood.

Top Marques Monaco

Supercars are the name of the game at Top Marques but not always those you’ll have heard of. This is an event for visitors to discover, not simply have Ferrari and Lamborghini steal the limelight year after year. Yet while the cars are more extreme than a cliff face in a snowstorm, the atmosphere is still one of genuine automotive enthusiasm. Just expect a little more Champagne.

www.topmarquesmonaco.com

About the author

Sam Kessler

Legend has it that Sam’s first word was ‘escapement’ and, while he might have started that legend himself, he’s been in the watch world long enough that it makes little difference. As the editor of Oracle Time, he’s our leading man for all things horological – even if he does love yellow dials to a worrying degree. Owns a Pogue; doesn’t own an Oyster Perpetual. Yet.

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