Concours of Elegance Hampton Court 2019

I’ll do that again.

This was my first visit to the Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court and, assuming it is repeated, it won’t be my last. 

The event reminded my of the early days of The Goodwood Festival of Speed. There were sufficient cars, with easy access, and not too many people. 

I don’t want to get all ‘the right crowd and no crowding’ ’cause I ain’t posh, but the atmosphere was relaxed and friendly. From the video you will see that most people avoided getting in the way of me videoing. They also waited for me to take images as well. It was all very laid back. 

The little video below shows the real heroes of car shows. There is a saying that they also serve who merely stand and wait. How much better the service you get from those with a duster in their hands. It’s a never-ending job at a car show. Many of the attendees will place their hand on the cars, and every touch is a blemish. That’s not to mention kids.

 

It was a hot day and one aspect which added to the atmosphere was the trees and gardens. The Court was always within sight and added to feeling that the day was special.

My favourite car was this 1929 6.5 litre (I suppose 6½ is to be prefered) Bentley. It was immaculately prepared and looked superb.

The competition was fierce as to which Bentley stole the show. There was the Gurney Nutting ‘Blue Train’ one. Let’s make myself clear, in fear of being criticised. I’m not suggesting this is the actual Blue Train car. I’m not suggesting it isn’t either. I am saying that it was absolutely lovely.

For sheer ability to make you catch your breath, how about this one? It was worth the entry free (perhaps not the parking charges as well) to the Concours. Every little boy’s dream, no matter what their age. Can it get any better?

The answer to that might be no it seems. The Bizzarrini 5300GT looked ‘wrong’ I’m afraid. The front was very smooth, but it would appear that the designer ran out of skill after that. I tried to get a flattering angle on the car, but this is it. Mind you, it wasn’t the ugliest car there . . .

This, I’m sorry to say, is its best view. 

At art college we were told there was no excuse for ugly. If it’s for a particular reason, then fair enough, but the 1936 Scout Scarab’s proportions were uncomfortable. I don’t mind bizarre, but I have my limits. 

One gets the feeling that the designer thought the best way of deflecting critical comments about the side view of the Scarab was to make the front so appalling that no one would be bothered to walk round the side. And he succeeded. 

Moving on to the sublime, the 1904 Napier L29 was charming. It is everyone’s idea of a princely carriage for the well-to-do with taste (it didn’t always go together) at the turn of the last century. The interior reflected the outside. I regret I didn’t see it move as I’m certain it would have been as stately as it promised. 

Stunning.

Back in the day, Lotus racing cars were always the ones to watch. The Mk8 looking futuristic against its competitors, especially the ones with cycle wings. At the time, Chapman was perfecting his ability to build cars that did not quite last the distance and there were always cries of disappointment from the crowd when something fell off.

Most of the cars predated the Lotus by a decade or more and they provided the main backdrop to the day. And talking of backdrops, how about the Court buildings in the background looking just right, even if a little out of time. Even the tent appeared to be something you might find on a jousting day.

It was a very pleasant day, with many people only too willing to have a chat about their car or the one they were looking at. I hope they return next year. I don’t know if this is a Bristol 401 or 403. It didn’t matter. It was impressive.

Concours of Elegance 2019

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