GALLERY: Peeking Into The Future Of Concours At A Royal Palace In England
Photography by Nick Dalton
Slowly but surely, the old guard of high-end concours is being infiltrated by a younger set of automobiles and their disciples. The swooping pre-war coachbuilt masterpieces should always be considered just that, but if we’re being honest a papaya orange McLaren F1 GTR is just more interesting at this point. It’s not like a rapid sea change is taking place, but the inclusion of Group 5 silhouettes, the aforementioned Mac, Group B rally cars, and the last analog supercars in the judged section of the show is a view into the future.
The first-ever cars have not become less significant with age, but they have become less relevant—that’s not a dig at any era in support of another, that’s just how time works. And if the electric revolution really is just getting started, we shouldn’t waste any time celebrating the cars that formed the post-war zenith of badass internal combustion, whether it be a Porsche LM prototype or a naturally aspirated V12 Ferrari road car.
This past weekend, we visited Henry VIII’s old digs for the Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court Palace. That’s the official name of the event. It would only sound like more of an old money if it had its own set of roman numerals tacked on, which makes its future-leaning slant even more interesting.
What the major, mark-your-calendars concours events of the car world lack in the humble grassroots fun of a local parking lot meet-up, they make up for with opulent locations and hyperbolic machinery. And while it’s easy to scoff and shake our heads at the absurd amount of concentrated wealth that underpins these gatherings, it’s a lot easier—and a lot more enjoyable—to appreciate the cars and places for what they are. Case in point, we can admire the architecture and splendor of Hampton Court separately from the fact that one of its former resident’s had a propensity for having his wives’ heads lopped off.