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The Gentleman Driver's Diary: 2016 Windsor Castle Concours of Elegance


If modern auto shows are contemporary art exhibits like the MoMA in New York, Concours d'Elegances are like the Uffizi Gallery in Florence: they are Automotive world's own display of classicism, the utmost representation of timeless sophisticated car culture.

While one too many might believe that seeing a handful of well selected collector's pieces on display in fancy locations is not as thrilling as seeing a 917 thundering down the Mulsanne straight, I'll have to say that sometimes seeing well parked cars is just as exciting as vintage racing.

The British Concours d'Elegance was celebrating the Queen's 90th birthday inside the premises of Windsor Castle and for the occasion has brought a mesmerizing selection of the finest automobiles in the world. Graham Hill's Ferrari 250 GTO, Stirling Moss Ferrari SWB, 1 of six 288 GTOs Evoluzione, 1936 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza bodied by Viotti, the majestic Hispano Suiza Dubonnet Xenia, the only Jaguar XK120 Supersonica by Ghia...it was enough to let your childish enthusiasm take over your gentleman's temper. No one could be more excited to see some static cars in his life ever (except of course for Villa d'Este and Pebble Beach).

Estimators of fine motorcars will sure appreciate the care and the immense skill in selecting the cars to put on display. After all, if the Queen gives her blessing to an event and the Prince of Kent greets the participants as they enter the castle, you sure want to make sure to put some blue-blooded metal on Windsor Castle grass.

Best of Show went to the exceptional 1938 Hispano Suiza H6C Dubonnet Xenia of Peter Mullin, the owner of the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, California, by many considered to be the most important French car collection in the World. Such a car was the masterpiece of WWI ace pilot, athlete and engineer André Dubonnet, who named it after his first wife, Xenia, who died after 2 years of marriage, at the age of 27. The car features a very distinct art deco body style, very aerodynamic indeed: it features Dubonnet's own designed independent four wheel suspension system, consisting in oil filled shocks and coils, a very ingenious system conceived to reduce the unsprung masses while cornering. A well deserved prize for such a unique stunning piece of rolling art.

For a whole weekend, the entire Windsor Castle was celebrating the Queen with proper motoring finesse and style.

Jacopo Villa, contributor

 

Photos: Federico Bajetti for The Outlierman © 2016


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