An event such as the Tour of Elegance, which culminates in the Royal Concours that begins today, is as much about socialising with like-minded enthusiasts as it is about the driving. Classic Driver met some of the prominent personalities and, of course, their very special cars…
HRH Prince Michael of Kent and the Bentley 4¼ Litre
His Royal Highness Prince Michael not only lends his name to the patronage of the event, but is also actively involved in its organisation and took part in the tour – followed everywhere by two Q-cars full of Royal Protection Officers, of course. Fittingly, he completed the tour in one of the concours cars, a 1937 Bentley 4¼ Litre Vanden Plas Tourer owned by Paul Wood, the co-founder of renowned marque specialist P&A Wood. “I find it quite interesting that while Mr Wood is one of the leading Bentley restorers in the world,” His Royal Highness told Classic Driver, “he’s left his own car in the most wonderfully original condition.”
Clive Beecham and his long-nose Jaguar D-type
We first met Clive Beecham when shooting his ex-Agnelli Ferrari 166 MM earlier this year. He’s brought something equally special (and fitting) to the Edinburgh Concours: a long-nose Jaguar D-type with Works and Ecurie Ecosse provenance (if you look in the right places, you’ll be able to see the original green paint beneath the Ecosse blue). This car placed second at the famous clean-sweep at Le Mans in 1957, and is probably the most original example of the eight remaining long-nose factory team cars.
Tom Hartley Jnr. and his Lamborghini Miura S
As a renowned dealer, Tom Hartley Jnr. can often be seen at the major events in something special – but none are more beloved to him than his personal (hence the numberplate) 1970 Miura S. It has just 14,000 miles or so from new (a few hundred more were spiritedly added during the pre-Concours tour), and the car’s original orange paintwork is as vibrant as ever, even 45 years on. This magnificent Miura will certainly be one of the crowd favourites…
The Schäfer family and their 1930 Mercedes-Benz 710 SS Tourer
Back after winning the ‘Most Elegant Lady Driver’ award at Hampton Court last year, Sonja Schäfer and her family have travelled to the Edinburgh Concours from Germany, this time bringing along the 1930 Mercedes-Benz 710 SS Tourer Sonja co-owns with her two sisters. The car’s former owners include a Paris Match director and a Nobel Prize winner – and its appearance at the Holyrood Concours of Elegance comes 50 years after it was first shown at Pebble Beach.
Jon Shirley and his Ferrari 275 GTS/4 N.A.R.T. Spyder
As one of the most respected collectors in the world, Jon Shirley is no stranger to the concours circuit; he won Best in Show at the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours with his Ferrari 375 MM. This year, he’s brought another of his prized Ferraris to Edinburgh: one of the two alloy-bodied 275 GTS/4 N.A.R.T. Spyders built. The ex-Microsoft president has owned the car for more than 20 years (how about that for an appreciating asset…), proving that he’s earned his stripes as a genuine enthusiast as well an astute businessman.
Gregor Fisken and his prototype Jaguar E-type Lightweight
Entering two cars into the Holyrood concours, Gregor Fisken is certainly embracing his Scottish roots. Alongside a Bentley S1 Continental Drophead, he has also taken along the prototype Jaguar E-type Lightweight that Briggs Cunningham (another Scotsman) campaigned to victory at the 1962 Sebring 12 Hours. “Before this, the car hadn’t turned a wheel for more than 20 years,” Gregor told us during the pre-Concours tour, “but she runs like a dream.”
Stephen Brauer and his short-chassis Aston Martin DB6 Volant
Wine importer Stephen Brauer clearly has great taste, proved by the exquisite short-chassis DB6 Volante (one of 37) he and his wife Camilla have brought over from Missouri. It’s by no means the car’s first top-level competition: it has also completed several Copperstate Rallies and Louis Vuitton tours. “It’s the ideal car in which to compete in a rally or tour. Although it has a solid rear axle, it’s probably the nicest to drive of all my cars.”
Jeff Pope and his father’s Maserati A6G 2000 Zagato
This rare Maserati (one of only 21 A6s given Zagato coachwork) was chaperoned from Arizona by Jeff Pope – son of noted collector Bill Pope – and is the only example with period U.S. racing history. As beautiful as it is (it previously won Best in Class at Pebble Beach), it’s still used as intended, evidenced by Jeff’s spirited driving on the tour.
Photos: Tom Shaxson for Classic Driver © 2015