St James’s concours of Elegance 2013, an annual event that brings together a collection of the finest cars to have ever been produced. This years event in the stunning setting of the gardens of the Place of St. James was an event to be remembered. Being my first time attending an event of this kind my expectations were superseded by the quality and glamour of the event leaving me desiring classic cars as I do modern builds. Cars From famous marques such as Bugatti, Maserati, Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes, Lancia and coach-builders including Zagato and Eagle resulted in the event being one that I will be sure to attend again in the future.
The lunacy and creativity put into cars pre-1970, such as the 1932 Bugatti Type-50T, were created and imagined over and over to result in cars that today will never exist due to the strict and confining regulations that write these beautiful car well and truly written to the history books. Events such as St James’s and Salon Privé then are the only chances we have then to pay homage to some of the greatest cars of all time. These delectable and highly collectable cars are not those that have been built and forgotten, but those that had such strong design features that they forged the way for future designers. There is no better example of a car like this other than the McLaren F1, a car that held the highest top-speed of a production road legal vehicle at a staggering 240mph, making it the fastest car on Earth, a title it held for a grand seven years. It’s not just the speed but the, at the time, space aged materials its was built from, predominately Carbon-Fiber a material that is just trickling down into the cars of today.
The collection of cars on the lawn looked sublime in the September sunlight that beat down on London and bounced of the hand beaten panels of some of the most famous cars in history. History was not the only theme of the show though. A small selection of much more modern cars were also present. The car that stood out the most due to its overstated looks and presence was the aptly named Alfa Romeo Disco Volante. The Touring Superleggera Disco Volante was unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show 2012 as a concept car, premiered at the Geneva Motor Show 2013 in production spec. The car is based off the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione so is predicted to come with a similar V8 engine and is therefore predicted to produce around 450hp and 480Nm of torque at 4,750rpm.
Another unique modern car that was present on the lush lawns of St. James’s was the Ferrari SP12 EC, a car that is technically identical to the Ferrari 458. It is a one off car that was commissioned for the musician Eric Clapton and was deigned using cues from the iconic Ferrari 512BB. The car reportedly cost £3,000,000 and was built by a specialist team at the Ferrari factory in Maranello. The car stood-out remarkably in the crowd of multi-million pound classics truly holding its own even against Ferrari’s latest creations, the 458 and FF, that they also took to the show.
A very special surprise was also due for all those in attendance. The world premiere of a very special modern-classic, the Eagle Low Drag GT. This take on one of the most infamous cars ever manages to combine the thrill of classic motoring but with the added convenience and mod-cons such as air conditioning and improved brakes and engineering to make the experience and whole lot less nervous! There will be more to come this week on this spectacular take on an unbelievably pretty car.
The atmosphere of the show was very jovial and being the preview day, a number of owners of the classic road-car and purpose built racers were present and many had fascinating stories to tell about the ownership experiences that they had all highlighting how they never regret owning such machines.
This week another great Concours d’Elegance and supercar event took place in the United Kingdom, GTspirit also attended Salon Prive 2013 and you can see our Salon Prive 2013 coverage here!