With Its 14th Edition, Salon Privé Continues To Set Itself Apart Among The World’s Concours
Photography by Patrice Minol
This past weekend marked the 14th edition of one of our favorite shows of the year, Salon Privé. Fourteen iterations makes this a relatively young concours d’elegance in the grander scheme of the type of car show where everything is worth more than a summer home and a flute of champagne is easier to come by than a bottle of water, but the consistent quality over that time frame has given Salon Privé the distinction of being among the best in Britain, if not the best hands down.
The event certainly has the sheetmetal and fiberglass to back that claim up, and the fact that all of this automotive excellence is plopped in front of Winston Churchill’s birthplace, Blenheim Palace, isn’t removing any esteem either.
For this year’s concours, among the 16 judged classes, the 100th anniversary of Bentley was celebrated with a smattering of Bentley Boy-era pre-war machines alongside a Speed 8 Le Mans car and the EXP100 GT concept that’s been making the show circuit rounds seemingly non-stop in 2019, while on Britain’s two-wheeled side of motoring, Brough Superior also had a good turnout for the brand’s centenary year.
It seems that every 10-year period of time elapsed is an excuse to get the gang together for a family portrait, but we aren’t complaining when it puts six Ferrari 250 SWBs in a neat little row for our enjoyment—Ferrari’s venerable short-wheelbase version of the 250 turned 60 this year, and though the 275 is objectively gorgeous, it tends to look a little distended when put up next to its considerably more lithe relative.
To add to the diversity between pre-war race cars, art deco Alfa Romeos, and the aforementioned ‘60s GTs, the more youthful side of the birthday festivities at Salon Privé manifested in five Pagani Zonda models that were lined up to be ogled for the occasion of 20 years since the model’s debut in Geneva.
And if late-20th-century supercars like the Zonda and its forebears are your bag, the Ferrari F40 and McLaren F1 in attendance would surely have stolen your attention from the rest of the top-flight automobiles (and bikes) in the show field. Even leaving the displays behind, you would have found yourself in a parking area that could have constituted a show of its own—it always works out that the better the event, the better the parking lot hunting to be had outside of it. Whether traipsing around hatchbacks to find the 918s in parking or weaving around the well-dressed crowd to get a clear view of something with a plaque in front of it on the grounds in front of the place, Salon Privé once more that it’s a concours to pay attention to.