Salon Privé - 2016
Salon Privé is THE most exclusive car show in the UK. At roughly £300 a ticket it also sets the bar high when it comes to expectations.
Walking across the back lawn of Blenheim Palace a small black shape appears from the far corner, low and sleek it bobs up and down over the uneven ground. As it gets closer I realise the unmistakeable shape of a Ferrari F50 making its way to the awesome display of metal that lines the walkway to the show’s entrance.
Over on the right sit two helicopters, which would later be joined by a third which I believe chauffeured in Tom Hartley Jnr and Snr.
Arriving slightly before the masses I walk through the partially open main gates and into wonderland.
Laid out before my very eyes sit multi million pounds worth of the finest vehicles on this earth.
A gaggle of 20 or so Lamborghini Muiras sit in one corner, looking like jelly beans in all their assorted colours. In front of me there are two Mercedes Gullwing’s, one coop and a drop top…if you have to ask the price, you can’t afford them.
Glancing over to the right sits a lone McLaren P1 under a gazeebo, this thing probably received the least amount of attention by passers-by. It had a hard act to follow though, now being old news the Lamborghini Centenario was just a few paces away.
After seeing this latest Lambo at Geneva I wasn’t particularly enamoured by it, yet another limited run, special edition that was sold out even before the cars rolled off the production line.
But sitting here in these intimate surroundings, with Huracan’s perched on its shoulders it looked incredible.
The mean, low angular lines, the ferocity of that rear end from the side and all the small yellow details, it’s like a work of art.
Not to be outdone Koenigsegg was next door but one. They had bought along their trump card, the Naraya. It’s the final ever Agera RS, finished in blue tinted clear coat carbon with gold leaf detailing applied by hand across numerous parts of the vehicle. The process took two full weeks, working 12 hour days, six days per week.
With the gold being quite flat in its appearance the details just leapt off the car. The exhaust, the edges of the engine bay, the text and small components of the suspension, all finished in gold, but looking oh so tasteful.
Meandering across to the other side of Salon Privé I walk by the new Bristol Bullet, looking like a new age AC Cobra it’s a bold statement, hopefully it finds a place in the market.
I also move past a lone Spyker C8, I have always loved these things, and in the marques absence at the show it was good to see one here looking resplendent in burnt orange.
A part of the show not to be missed is the Chubb Insurance Concours display.
First in line was an original 1966 AC Shelby Cobra, it was absolutely spotless. You could have cut chips on the mesh covering the headlights, before preening yourself in the chrome bumpers. Beautiful.
Across from it sat another brace of stunners. A 1962 Aston Martin DB4 Servies V Vantage, another 300SL Gullwing in baby blue, a Porsche 356 and the most amazing Bentley 4.5 litre tourer from 1933. As I walk away from this magnificent gathering I catch the start of two gentleman’s conversations
‘…oh yes, I was part of a car club a few years ago…when I owned the Dino’
It’s another world, and for just a few hours it’s incredible to become immersed in it.
Champagne had been in full flow since 11am - complimentary of course. Just as the lobsters are brought in and the bbq’s fire up for lunch I take my leave for another year.
Once again Salon Privé mixes the small, the intimate and the super-rich effortlessly. It’s the ultimate shopping experience for a car enthusiast.
Attending may be a once in a lifetime opportunity for average Joe, but to be part of that world for a day must be experienced.