Auto Royale: Britain’s newest Classic Car Concours

Auto Royale, the latest Concours d’Elegance with a difference, is set to take place at Waddesdon Manor from 16 – 18 July, unveiling top 10 coach-built rarities, across 11 traditional classes from international collections.

A Lancia Florida Saloon from the Lopresto Collection, in what will be first entry into a UK-based concours (Image: Auto Royale)

More than two years in the making, Auto Royale is a modern reimagining of what the traditional Concours d’Elegance can be. The concours is an exciting new event concept where modern British culture meets world-class automotive machinery in a luxurious yet accessible setting with a feast of fine food, exciting entertainment and engaging retailing.

Auto Royale is not like any other British car event. Powered by the vision of its founders, it sets out to become a globally recognised and admired Concours with a distinctly modern twist. It is as welcoming as it is exclusive; premium without being elitist.

More than 100 cars will feature in the inaugural British International Concours d’Elegance on the front lawns of the same venue which hosted the Louis Vuitton 150th Anniversary Classic concours back in 2004.  Special classes for this year only include the Maharaja Cars, Jagua XK, Scaglietti and Drogo, while the remaining 60 cars will compete in traditional age classes, and in accordance with ICJAG rules. The full list of participating vehicles is below.

For those seeking a special experience, the exclusive VIP Lounge will serve up lunch by multiple-Michelin starred chef, Jean Christophe Novelli. 

Interestingly, both the MC and judge are going to be women, marking a new departure for a sport traditionally dominated by men.

In a very first ever UK event are the pigeon-pair of Pininfarina-designed Lancia Florida concept cars, entered by the famous Lopresto Collection in Italy.  The coupe debuted as a prototype in 1955 at the Turin Motor Show, exhibiting on the Carrozzeria Pinin Farina stand.  Built on the Aureila B56 chassis, it remained a one-off. 

After its success in Turin, the coupe was followed at shows later that year by an even more elegant Berlina, characterised by the absence of a central pillar.  This second concept and the only left-hand drive was sold new to the United States where its owners included Kjell Qvale, founder of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

Two more cars with strong Pebble Beach connections are a pair of Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport models.  They include a 1948 cabriolet with an elegant body by Franay which was first shown at the 1949 Paris Motor Show and a 1950 coupe with slightly restrained coachwork by otherwise flamboyant designer Jacques Saoutchik.  Both are recent arrivals to the UK and will be seen in public for the very first time at Auto Royale in July.

‘It’s not unusual to see special coach-built bodywork at a world-class concours d’elegance’, says Paul Mathers, Event Director, ‘but the sheer volume of these rarities across all our classes, for a first-time event particularly, is simply overwhelming.’

More than 50 of the 100 cars on show at Auto Royale are special coachbuilt examples, some from as far afield as New Zealand and Indonesia.  Other examples include a Pebble Beach-starring 1946 Delahaye 156M by Graber, a 1935 Bentley 3.5 Litre Swept Wing coupe by Gurney Nutting, a rare Triumph Italia 2000 by Vignale, a 1949 Bristol 401 Cabriolet by Farina and a lovely 1937 Delahaye 135M Drophead Coupe by short-lived English coachbuilder, Abbey.

‘A personal favourite, from a fellow Australian collector is the famous 1926 Rolls-Royce “Phantom of Love”, which, with its Marie Antoinette-inspired interior, was once labelled “the most expensive car ever built”‘, Mathers continues. ‘Commissioned by an American Director of F.W Woolworth & Co as a surprise gift for his wife, this New Phantom really is a fantastic display of pre-Depression era excess.’

With more cars to finalise in the coming weeks, this recent announcement barely scratches the surface of what Auto Royale has to offer in 2021, determined to set a new benchmark in British concours events.  Tickets are now on sale at www.autoroyale.org.

Auto Royale – the entrants

Vintage Class

1912 Rolls-Royce 40/50 ‘Silver Ghost’ Torpedo Phaeton by Barker

1924 Aston Martin 1 ½ L Side Valve Open Four-Seater by Albany

1927 Hispano-Suiza H6B Foursome Coupe by Park Ward

1927 Rolls-Royce Phantom

1928 Bentley 6 ½ L by Vanden Plas

1929 Bentley 4 ½ L ‘Blower’

Pre-War – Closed Class

1933 SS 1 Coupe

1935 Bentley 3 ½ L Swept Wing Pillarless Coupe by Gurney Nutting

1939 Bentley 4 ¼ L Sports Saloon by Hooper

Pre-War – Open Class

1930 Austin Heavy 12 Tourer (Old Min)

1931 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Spider by Zagato

1932 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Le Mans by Touring

1934 Alfa Romeo 8C Long Chassis Spider by Brianza

1934 Morgan Supersports MX4 Barrell-Back Cabriolet

1937 Delahaye 135M Drophead Coupe by Abbey

1938 SS 100 Drophead Coupe

Post-War – Closed Class

1950 Talbot Lago T26 Grand Sport Coupe by Saoutchik

1953 Alfa Romeo 1900 C Coupe

1955 Lancia Aurelia ‘Florida’ Coupe by Pinin Farina

1956 Aston Martin DB2/4 Mk II Coupe

1956 Aston Martin DB2/4 Coupe by Vignale

1956 Lancia Aurelia ‘Florida’ Berlina by Pinin Farina

1958 Bentley S1 Continental Fastback

1959 Triumph Italia 2000

Post-War – Open Class

1946 Delahaye 135M Cabriolet by Graber

1948 Talbot Lago T26 Grand Sport Cabriolet by Franay

1954 Lancia Aurelia B24 GT Spider America

1959 Aston Martin DB2/4 Mk III Convertible

1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster

Post-War – Sports / Racing Class

1950 Ferrari 166MM/212 Export Barchetta ‘Uovo’ by Fontana

1950 Frazer Nash Le Mans ‘Replica’

1951 Ferrari 212 Export Spider by Vignale

1953 Alfa Romeo 6C 3000 PR ‘Disco Volante’

1954 HWM Cadillac Sports Racer

1955 Aston Martin DB3S Coupe

1955 Porsche 550 Spyder

Classic Class

1961 Facel Vega HK500 Coupe

1963 Aston Martin DB4 Vantage SS

1965 Rolls-Royce Phantom V 7-Passenger Limousine

1968 Ferrari 330 GTC Coupe

1970 Monteverdi 375 High-Speed Coupe

1972 Iso Grifo Coupe

1974 Maserati Quattroporte by Frua

1979 Rolls-Royce Phantom VI Limousine by Mulliner Park Ward

Classic – Performance Class

1960 Aston Martin DB4 GT Coupe

1960 Ferrari 250 GT Coupe by Pinin Farina

1961 Lotus Elite Coupe

1965 Maserati Sebring Coupe

1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 Coupe

1973 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 ‘Daytona’ Coupe

1975 Ferrari 365 Berlinetta Boxer

Classic – Sports / Racing Class

1960 Triumph TRS Works Roadster

1962 Ferrari 196SP by Fantuzzi

1963 Abarth Simca 2000GT Corsa

1964 Porsche 904 GTS

Contemporary Class

1985 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Prototype by Zagato

1989 Aston Martin V8 Vantage Volante

1991 Jaguar XJR-15 Coupe

1991 Schuppan 962CR Coupe

1993 Jaguar XJ220 Coupe

2015 Jaguar CX-75 Coupe

Preservation Class

1926 Rolls-Royce Phantom Brougham de Ville ‘Phantom of Love’ by Charles Clark & Son

1933 Rolls-Royce 20/25 Sedanca de Ville by Freestone & Webb

1937 Rolls-Royce Phantom III Sedanca de Ville by Athur Mulliner

1949 Bristol 401 Cabriolet by Pinin Farina

Maharaja Class

1904 Napier L49

1912 Rolls-Royce 40/50 Silver Ghost Tourer

1923 Rolls-Royce 20 HP

1923 Rolls-Royce Barrell-Sided Tourer by Barker

1926 Rolls-Royce Phantom Limousine by Maythorn & Sons

1927 Rolls-Royce 20 HP Tourer by Barker

1930 Delage D8 Cabriolet by Figoni

1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Tourer by Barker

1934 Invicta 4 ½ L S-Type Tourer

1949 Bentley Mk VI 4-Light Touring Saloon by Hooper

Scaglietti Class

1954 Ferrari 500 Mondial

1955 Ferrari 750 Monza

1956 Ferrari 290MM / 250TR

1956 Ferrari 500 TR

1957 Ferrari 500 TRC

1960 Ferrari 250 TR ‘CEGGA’

1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta

1964 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso Berlinetta

1970 Ferrari 246 GT ‘Dino’ Coupe

Sir William Lyons Class

1950 Jaguar XK 120 OTS Competition

1950 Jaguar XK 120 OTS Competition

1951/53 Jaguar XK120 ‘Hansgen Special’

1954 Jaguar XK 120 Coupe by Pinin Farina

1957 Jaguar XK 150 by Bertone

1957 Jaguar XKSS

1958 Jaguar XK 150 Coupe

1961 Jaguar E-Type Coupe

1961 Jaguar E-Type Lightweight

1961 Jaguar Mk X

Drogo Class

1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB ‘Breadvan’

1963 Ferrari 250 GTE


Tickets for Auto Royale are now on sale here.