The Queen turns 90th this year and the most prominent Concour d’Elegance of Britain honors Her Majesty by tastefully selecting and carefully placing some of the finest collector’s cars in the World inside the premises of Windsor Castle.
In the stream of the Elegance-oriented events that crowded this week end, Windsor sure would win the “Best of Show” prize if ever there was one dedicated to Concour d’elegance. Let’s try to forget about Pebble Beach for a moment and let’s fill our foreign hearts with some British spirit and pride. Royal troopers guarding the cars as Prince Michael of Kent greets the participants, Graham Hill’s Ferrari 250 GTO roaring as it poses its wheels on the finely mown lawn, the Hispano Suiza Xenia opening its bonnets to showcase its immense engineering…it’s more than enough to feel the enthusiasm that the Brits are making into this event.
If we Italians are emotional, the Brits are a proud bunch with a strong interest in all things vintage. The selection of cars was astonishing: Stirling Moss’s Ferrari 250 SWB, David Brown’s own “UMC 272” DB2, the only Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza with streamlined Viotti coachwork, the Jaguar XK120 Supersonica by Ghia…it was enough to drool around and keep yourself busy.
The cars of the Great Western Tour arrived on a parade on Friday and joined the other participants on the lawn of the Castle: it was a spectacular view indeed.
The Best of Show was assigned to the mesmerizing 1938 Hispano Suiza Dubonnet Xenia of Peter Mullin, the owner of the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard. As a fine conosseur of pre war French coachbuilders, Peter Mullin presented the masterpiece of André Dubonnet, a French WWI Ace, athlete and race car driver with a taste for style and exquisite automobiles. Also an engineer, he developed an ingenious indepentent four wheel suspension system on Hispano H6C chassis, on which he eventually designed his own one off jointly with French coachbuilder Saoutchik. The name “Xenia” is Dubonnet hommage to his first wife, who died at 27 years of age, after being married 2 years. It is a playground for the eyes as its details are some of the most exquisite you’ll ever find on an automobile: automotive art deco, defined. I believe no one can argue with the choice of awarding the Best of Show prize to this piece of pure artistic expression.