The Concours of Elegance 2016 – held at Windsor Castle between 2-4 September – will be showcasing more than 200 years of coachbuilt luxury. From Her Majesty The Queen’s 1800s Ascot Landau by Hooper and 1842 ‘Ivory Mounted’ Phaeton by Barker to the 2016 Touring Superleggera Disco Volante Spider, visitors can admire the hand-crafted luxury of some of history’s most legendary coachbuilders.
The Royal Carriages of Hooper and Barker are just two of five cars lent by the Royal Household to contend the Concours of Elegance this year, with the coachbuilt 1977 Rolls-Royce Phantom VI ‘High Top’ State Limousine and 2002 Bentley State Saloon by Mulliner also on display.
From the very earliest Royal Carriages, including the 1842 Phaeton by Barker, the Concours moves into some of Barker’s later work, as it became famous for its elegant Rolls-Royce bodies. From 1908, the Concours will be displaying the Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Roi des Belges Tourer by Barker, as well as the 1914 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Barker Alpine Eagle.
Marking a noticeable shift in design from Barker’s Rolls-Royces, the Concours is displaying the streamlined, chrome-finished designs of Saoutchik, a Paris-based coachbuilder. The incredible 1937 Hispano-Suiza H6C Dubonnet Xenia, featuring sliding doors and a streamlined art deco body, sits alongside the 1948 Talbot-Lago T26 Saoutchik Grand Sport Cabriolet – two unique models from the height of coachbuilt luxury.
One of the most famous coachbuilders remains Pininfarina, and Concours of Elegance will be displaying a number of Pininfarina-designed Ferraris, but perhaps less famous is the 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SC Pininfarina Coupé. Based on the 300SC two-door, Pininfarina crafted a more contemporary pillarless coupé body for the Mercedes, just a year after the firm built a coupé version of the 300B four-door – seen at Concours of Elegance 2014.
Likewise, Zagato remains a prominent coachbuilder to this day, despite being officially established in 1919. Some of Zagato’s earlier work is on display at the Concours in the form of the 1932 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Zagato Spider; a coachbuilt model based on one of the most successful racing cars of all time. But Zagato is now more famous for its work with Aston Martin, a reputation created from work such as the 1961 DB4 GT Zagato and 2012 V12 Zagato – both of which will star at Windsor Castle.
And representing the very latest in coachbuilt style is the 2016 Disco Volante Spider from Touring Superleggera. Based on the Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione Spider this one-of-seven sports car is powered by a 4.7-litre V8 engine.
Concours of Elegance takes place between 2-4 September and has partnered with a series of exclusive brands for the event, including AIG, Autoglym, Bentley, Ferrari, Jaguar Land Rover, Octane, RM Sotheby’s and the Royal Automobile Club. Tickets are available now from concoursofelegance.co.uk, with an adult ticket costing £40, and discounts for children. A variety of hospitality packages are also available.
One of the primary aims of Concours of Elegance is to raise money for charity, and this year’s event will be generating funds for The Queen’s Choral Foundation, The Household Cavalry Foundation, and Springfield Youth Club Hackney. So far Concours of Elegance has raised more than £800,000 for its charities.