The Hampton Court Palace Concours 2018 was staged 31 August – 2 September at the historic Hampton Court Palace, a royal palace situated on the Thames in London. The seventh annual Concours of Elegance featured more than 60 automobiles displayed in the Fountain Gardens on the East side of the Palace.
Nearly 13,000 motoring enthusiasts converged to the Hampton Court Palace for the largest Concours of Elegance yet. The quality of the cars on the show field included the Isotta Fraschini Tipo A FENC, Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Short Chassis Spider, Porsche 917K driven by Steve McQueen during filming for Le Mans, McLaren F1 GTR Long Tail and the last four-cylinder Ferrari built; the 500 TRC.
Best of Show at the Hampton Court Palace Concours 2018 was awarded to the 1929 Mercedes-Benz S-Type Barker ‘Boat Tail’, voted for by the Owners of the cars themselves. Originally owned by British Racing Drivers’ Club co-founder Earl Howe, this ‘Boat Tail’ car was fitted with a body which incorporated a lightweight and aerodynamic shell with unique aircraft-inspired aluminium side pods crafted by English coachbuilders Barker. The rich blue color was reportedly inspired by a dress made of peacock feathers in the 1850s. Over the years, the majority of Earl Howe’s unique specifications were all but lost, until a recent sympathetic restoration brought it back to its former glory.
For the first time at the Concours of Elegance, awards were also given out for different classes and eras. Once more judged by the owners of the Main Concours cars, the winners included a fresh factory-restored Lamborghini Miura P400 S in the post-1970s class and a Maserati 300S driven to victory by Sir Stirling Moss in the 1940s – ’50s class. The Royal Automobile Club also presented Katie Forrest with the Spirit of Motoring Award for her passion and flair in taking part in the Hampton Court Palace Concours 2018 in her 1912 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost ‘Taj Mahal’, affectionately nicknamed ‘Nellie’.
Outside of the main Concours of Elegance cars, nearly 1,000 other models parked at Hampton Court Palace for the weekend, including a collection of Future Classics which crowned by the car that eventually won this class; the one-off Rolls-Royce Sweptail. Also taking part in the feature were the one-of-seven Aston Martin V12 Vantage V600 and McLaren Senna #001. Meanwhile, the Harry’s Garage display brought together the world’s fastest supersaloons, including the Ferrari-engined Lancia Thema 8.32, Jaguar XE SV PROJECT 8 and Aston Martin Rapide AMR.
Also on display were some examples from the UK’s car clubs, as part of the RAC Club Trophy. A panel of judges, including HRH Prince Michael of Kent, deemed an Alvis Speed 25 Drophead Coupe to be the best on display. The Speed 25 is acknowledged as possibly the finest pre-war Alvis, with this Drophead Coupe example delivered to coachbuilders, Hooper, incomplete with unfitted panels supplied by Charlesworth. Although the shape is therefore unmistakably Charlesworth the interior and many fittings are unique.
Nearly 80 historic Jaguars were on display on Saturday, competing for the Jaguar Trophy. Led by Jaguar guru, Phillip Porter, a panel of judges overwhelmingly decided the car they would most want to take home, was an impeccable and highly original X120. The very early steel car has only covered 53,000 miles since new.
On Sunday more than 60 Bentleys arrived in the gardens, ranging from the pre-war grand prix cars to some of Bentley’s latest Continental models. A judging team of Bentley experts assessed each model on display before deciding that the pre-1965 Bentley Trophy be awarded to a S2 Saloon. The post-1965 Trophy went to a 2000 Continental T.
As ever with the Concours of Elegance, a huge amount of money was raised for the event’s chosen charities this year; Springfield Youth Club Hackney and the College of St. George. This year’s charity auction was sponsored by Ferrari Financial Services.
Similar to the 2012 Windsor Castle, 2013 St. James’s, 2014 Hampton Court, 2015 Holyroodhouse, 2016 Windsor Castle and 2017 Hampton Court events, Sports Car Digest also documented the UK Concours of Elegance 2018, with Tim Scott producing the following stunning images from the unique Palace setting.
Hampton Court Palace Concours 2018 – Photo Gallery (photos: Tim Scott)
Hampton Court Palace Concours 2018 – Award Winners
Best in Show –
Mercedes-Benz S-Type Barker ‘Boat Tail’
sotta Fraschini Tipo A FENG
Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Short Chassis Spider
1940s – 1950s –
The RAC Club Trophy –
Alvis Speed 25 Drophead Coupe
The RAC Spirit of Motoring –
Katie Forrest and her 1912 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost
The Jaguar Trophy –
The Bentley Trophy (pre-1965) –
Bentley S2 Saloon
The Bentley Trophy (post-1965) –
Bentley Continental T
Bridge of Weir British Legends –
Future Classics –
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[Source: Concours of Elegance; photos: Julien Mahiels]