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Aristocrats on show at Salon Privé

Published Aug 30, 2012


The Concours d'Elégance at next weekend's Salon Privé classic car show in the grounds of Syon House in London will feature many exotic and rare vehicles, some of which will be seen in public for the first time in decades.

Certainly the most aristocratic is a royal rarity - King George V's Daimler 'Royal Four' Limousine. In 1923, the King commissioned seven cars to be built to his own specification, four of which were placed into service, hence the 'Royal Four' name.

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During a recent comprehensive restoration, this car was repainted in the Royal Claret livery and its huge yet beautiful 9.4-litre sleeve-valve engine rebuilt to original running condition.

The Ferrari 166 is represented by two classic examples, a 1949 Inter Coupé and a 1950 Barchetta.

The Coupé's competition life didn't begin until the mid-1990's, but since then it has been displayed in shows and concours events throughout Europe, winning numerous awards.

The Barchetta, however, is a genuine 166MM works racer; it's number 16 of just 25 Barchettas with hand-built bodies by Carrozzeria Touring and its racing history includes the famous Targa Florio and Mille Miglia - in the days when they were still flat-out races! - and, more recently, the Monaco Historique and the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Possibly the least-known is a 1965 Alvis 'Super' Cabriolet that hasn't been seen in public since its world debut at the 1965 Geneva motor show. It was one of just three Alvis Cabriolets built by celebrated Swiss coachbuilder, Hermann Graber, who gave it the 'Super' model name.

They were regarded as Graber's masterpieces.

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This one, the Geneva show car, is believed to be the best of the three.

Also from the 1960's is a 1967 Lotus 47 GT; unlike the standard Europa, the ultra-rare 47 GT had a 135kW twin-cam Cosworth engine with Tecalmit fuel injection coupled to a Hewland FT2000 five-speed gearbox.

This example has an extensive and successful competition history; in the late 1970s it was timed 290km/h at a Royal Air Force base and, remarkably, has never been crashed.

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That makes it one of the most original 47 GTs in existence; the current owner has just completed a five-year rebuild and this will be its first public appearance after three decades under wraps.


Other concours highlights include a 1912 Bugatti Type 16 number with the chassis number 471; it's the oldest competition Bugatti still in existence and it was once the personal racing car of Ettore Bugatti.

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Then there's a 1934 Aston Martin Ulster entered into Class G, a 1952 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing (which has its own stand - The Legend at 60 - in honour of its 60th anniversary) the unique 1953 Pegaso Z-102 'Thrill', the 1961 Lamborghini 'Flying Star' (built for the Turin Motor Show by Carrozzeria Touring), a 1963 Shelby Cobra 289, a 1964 Alfa Romeo Giulia Sprint Speciale, a 1965 ISO Grifo A3C, a 1969 Lamborghini Muira S and a 1982 Jaguar XJS Lynx Eventor.

This year Salon Privé will also celebrate the 25th anniversary of the first road car to top 320km/h with 13 Ferrari F40 supercars parked in a gleaming red row.

Some of these classics will also join the first Salon Privé Tour d'Elégance from the Royal Automobile Club's Woodcote Park in Epsom to Syon House in West London, to officially open the show on Wednesday 5 September, led by Jamiroquai frontman Jay Kay in his 1969 Aston Martin DB6 Volante, with Syon House owner Earl Percy as his passenger.

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