Salon Privé London
April 21-23, 2022
Royal Hospital, Chelsea, London
Salon Privé has since its inception, 16 years ago, built a reputation as one of the UK’s leading concours events, now Privé has added a second event to its annual calendar a `Concours` but not how we know them.
“The Concours lawn was graced by an array of rare, exotic and priceless cars.” NOT THIS TIME! Privé`s Concours de Vente` certainly featured an array of exotic, if not in most instances particularly rare machinery, but the price was open for the bidding as all entries were up for sale. The April Privé London had the freshness of spring not just because it turned the notion of a concours on its head but also launching no less than 11 new models to the UK and in most cases the World. Bugatti, Aston Martin, Ferrari, Genesis, Range Rover, Pro Drive, and Rolls-Royce all debuted new contemporary models many being electric powered.
Electric power is not yet something that we hear talked about often in vintage/classic car circles but the zephyrs of change are slowly picking up. Launched at Prive London the all new Chase Mustang looks like a Mustang, performs like one but doesn’t sound like one, on lifting the hood there’s no engine just a bank of batteries. Its 536bhp comes from a quad-motor configuration-one at each wheel-delivering 0-60mph in 3.9 seconds, an amp eater in stallion’s clothing.
Perhaps closer to the classic/vintage enthusiast’s heart was Everrati’s solution, offering to “redefine iconic internal combustion engined cars into cosmetically-preserved & improved electric powered examples” displaying a Porsche 911 and a Series 3 Land Rover both converted. Interestingly, Everrati also displayed a replica nose cone from the 1966 Le Mans winning GT 40 MKII; hopefully the original car will not receive their treatment but Everrati do offer to source the donor vehicle-we wait to hear more!
Happily more conventional `new/old` vehicles were also on display to please the internal combustion diehard. Launching at London was the Caton Healey, fledgling Coventry Coachbuilder Caton has re-imagined the 1953 Healey 100 with a modernised body and running gear, powered by the original 3-litre 4-cylinder block as the 100 but with new internals doubling the BHP to 185 with 25 units as the planned production run.
Ecurie Ecosse presented homage their past success in the form of the LM-C, just seven of the original 1950s chassis remain today and Ecosse intend to build seven numbered sister cars, all to be hand-built in Coventry with uprated Jaguar 4.2-liter engines, suspension and brakes.
With a 113-year legacy Morgan Cars have weathered the passage of time choosing Privé London to UK debut their latest model the Super 3. As with every previous Morgan since 1909 the car is built in Malvern, Worcestershire but unlike its forbears the 3 has a monocoque construction and is powered by a 1.5-litre Ford three-cylinder engine. It has the familiar 3-wheeler layout but looks quite futuristic, dare we say `Star Wars`!
Salon Privé Concours de Vente` provided more familiar territory over 30 recognized classic car dealers from the UK and Europe had been invited to enter cars they have for sale, here it was old school as all entries were traditionally powered and considered to be a classic. Most unusual was probably the 1934 Barnato-Hassen Bentley 8-liter offered by dealer Vintage Bentley with its blue, stream-lined, bodywork one-time Brooklands lap record holder expected to fetch £4.5 million. If that price is out of your range the same dealer was offering a 1925 Supersports 3.0-liter Bentley for £1.9 million. Dealer Fiskens was displaying a beautiful 1936 Delahaye 135 CS that had competed in the 1936-’37 French Grand Prix, plus the1952 Mille Miglia and Monaco Grand Prix, POA. Another unusual entry this time from The Classic Motor Hub was their 1954 OSCA Tipo MT4-2AD a veteran in period of Le Mans, the Mille Miglia and Targa Florio, also POA. Beautiful, but pricey, was Barkways’ immaculate and Privé class winning 1963 Alfa Romeo 101 Giulia Spider at £220,000. DT Vintage offered a rare, 1 of only 3 built,1965 TVR Trident Prototype Coupe` by Carrozzeria of Turin an unusual and elegant classic for £125,000. Even more within the everyman’s budget was The Classic Motor Hub’s 1961 Fiat-Osca 1500S Spider by Pinin Farina at £60,000. Flanking these offerings was a host of more regularly seen, but none the less desirable, Ferraris, Porsches, BMWs, Aston Martins, and Jaguars.
The Royal Hospital is famous for its residents UK ex-military service men and women who are entitled to spend their retirement in this magnificent establishment. Resplendent in their scarlet coats they were out in force to view the twice daily parade of cars along the Hospital’s central avenue. Two `In Pensioners` who had particular and knowledgeable interest were ex-Royal Engineers Sergeant Peter Cooper and Warrant Officer 1st class James Little both had been motoring enthusiasts in their youth. Peter had been a bike man telling us of his time modifying his AJS and Norton motorcycles while James told of his laps of the Nurburgring in a Austin Healy Sprite and watching Stirling Moss race a Birdcage Maserati.
Of a similar vintage to Peter and James also clothed in red, but not scarlet, and on display in the UK for the first time at Privé London was the long lost 1938 Alfa Romeo 12C Prototipo. Restored but keeping the patina of its history the car came to light again recently in Switzerland, a missing link in Alfa Romeo history. Fitted to the car when it was rediscovered is an experimental V12 Alfa engine designed by engineer Bruno Trevisan that was not original to the car, when the V12 was mated to this 8C chassis is still a mystery but at present this is the only known example of the engine muted to have inspired Gioachino Colombo’s legendry Ferrari V12.
The Royal connection of the Hospital was linked to a celebration display for Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee with display of Minis formed into the number 70. The cars were flagged off to tour the grounds before making their formation by, of course, a Union Flag.
September will see Salon Privé return to Blenheim Palace and take on its more traditional guise but on leaving the London event there was a sign bidding `See you next year` if the new formula has proved successful we hope this is the case. It does have an appeal to be able to view an exotic classic and not have to ponder its worth.