• Keith Bluemel (English)

Salón Privé 2019

Salon Privé, Blenheim Palace, 04–08 September 2019 The 14th edition of the Salon Privé Concours d’Elegance by Chubb Insurance took place at its now regular venue, the South Lawn at Blen- heim Palace in Oxfordshire, home of the 12th Duke of Marlborough, with the splendid architecture of the palace forming a spectacular bac- kdrop to the proceedings on the concours lawn. Each year the quality of the entry seems to get better and better, with a number of entrants from mainland Europe, together with increasing numbers from across the Atlantic. Over the course of the gathering there were more than 25,000 visitors, whilst a total of 80 luxury and automotive brands together with classic car dealers presented their offerings. These in- cluded debuts for 11 new cars, 5 of which were UK debuts, another 5 being European debuts, and a world debut in the form of the 1939 Bentley Corniche. In case a world debut for a 1939 car in 2019 sounds strange, Bentley and their coachbuilder Mulliner recreated a “missing link” in the company’s history, using many original parts from stock for a model that should have gone into production. However, the original car was crashed in France and then destroyed in a bombing raid during World War II on the facility where it had been stored in Dieppe. Bentley Motors Chairman & CEO, Adrian Hallmark, also announced the world’s first continuation series of a pre-war race car, confirming that they will build a 12-strong continuation series of the 1929 Team Blower. The 12 new examples, each identical to the ori- ginal will be built – one for every race the original Team Blowers en- tered. Another celebration was the 20th anniversary of the Pagani Zonda, which made its debut at the 1999 Geneva Motor Show, with a quintet of examples on display, a C12, a F Roadster, a Cinque Roads- ter, the Tricolore and the one-off 760 “Oliver”.

Fortunately this year the event enjoyed dry weather for the duration, although there was an occasional chilly breeze, but Chubb were ahead of the game and provided the ladies in their finery with blanket wraps to ward off the chill. Although the main judging is taken seriously for originality and authenticity, the ethos of the event is fun to be had by all. In this vein the event kicked off with a Hawaiian themed “beach party” at the Soho Farmhouse in nearby Great Tew on the Tuesday evening. This was followed on the Wednesday by a road tour, starting and finishing at Blenheim Pa