Our Review of the 2023 Concours of Elegance

The Concours of Elegance 2023 assembled 90 of the leading automotive rarities at Hampton Court Palace. The day begins with the grand arrival, the cars rolling into the palace and taking their places in the immaculate gardens. I always feel so very privileged to be in these beautiful surroundings where Kings and Queens, an aristocracy walked at one point in history.

The Concours of Elegance has been one of my favourite car events of the year since its inception along with Salon Privé events. The Concours of Elegance took place from Friday 1st to Sunday 3rd September. I attended this event on Friday 1st.

During the morning, unfortunately it rained a little, but it brightened up in the afternoon and I had a wonderful day as I always have done at this wonderful car show. Loads of content for you to review and read and watch. It will take me some time to get all the content written up and videos uploaded onto YouTube and social media channels, so bear with me.

11 years ago, the Concours of Elegance had its first event in honour of her Majesty the Queen’s 60 years on the throne, 60 very special cars were selected for display in the quadrangle within the walls of Windsor Castle and around the grounds. The Concours of Elegance then continued its association with Royal palaces and the jewels of the car world. Following Windsor Castle in 2012, it subsequently took place at St. James‘s Palace, the Palace of Holyroodhouse, and Hampton Court Palace in Fountain Gardens, its home since 2017.

The event has been the launchpad for some of the most exciting supercars and bespoke creations in the new car realm; Aston Martin chose the event to present the one-off Victor in 2020, for example. The event’s steering committee of experts, each year, invite cars to the Concours of Elegance to ensure a wonderful selection of cars are available for viewing close up. Many of these cars will not have been seen for a very long time. It’s also worth noting that if a car has been displayed at the show before it cannot be shown again for at least a decade. This ensures there are always lots of new cars to view every year.

The show every year has a Best in Show winner, but also a winner for pre-1920s, 1930s, 1940s, 1950s, 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s onwards. Unusual for a Concours event, only the owners showing their cars can have a vote, which I think is quite cool. I also chose my top 10 cars from the show before knowing the winners. So who were the Concours winners in 2023:


Concours of Elegance – Best in Show winner 2023

1955 Maserati A6GCS/53 Frua Spider

1955 Maserati A6GCS 53 Frua-Spider CoE 2023

Embarrassingly, I don’t remember this car from the show. Oops.

This Best in Show winner for 2023 is an exceptionally rare vehicle, one of just three completed with delightful Frua coachwork, and two that survive. The Frua Spider is widely considered to be among the most beautiful and desirable of all 1950s cars.

The wonderful A6GCS Frua Spider was conceived by Gugliemo ‘Mimmo ’ Dei, the official Maserati dealer for Rome, who commissioned a small series of exquisitely coachbuilt cars based on the high-performance A6GCS platform. The 6GCS/53 – the ‘CS’ standing for ‘Corsa Sport’ – had originally been developed for the 1953 World Sports Car Championship, and featured motorsport – honed mechanicals. It featured a potent 170 BHP in cash line 6 – cylinder engine – initially developed by famed engine builder, Columbo for formula 2 racing – and a similarly race-bred, lightweight, tubular chassis by Gilco. The resulting car, weighing just 740 kg, was a real work of automotive art, the perfect blend of delicate, spider styling, delightful handling, and potent, race-car performance. 

Chassis to 110 was shipped to the United States in the late 1950s, where it has remained until the present day. In the early 2000s it was subject to a painstaking restoration under the supervision of Maserati aficionado, Adolfo Orsi. Its appearance at Hampton Court represented its first ever UK appearance. A wonderful motor car and a fitting winner.


Pre-1920s Concours class winner

1913 Hispano-Souza 14/45 HP ‘Alfonso XIII’ Car No. 2.

1913 Hispano-Souza 14/45 HP ‘Alfonso XIII’ Car No. 2. at the Concours of Elegance 2023

This roadgoing car, aluminium body – unusually rakish for the period – was inspired by the Barcelona-based marque’s successful race cars of the 1910s. Despite its modest dimensions, its slim bonnet conceals a large 3.6 L four-cylinder motor house in the middle of the chassis, putting out 63bhp – enough for a top speed of 80 mph. The 14/45HP was named in honour of the Spanish king, Alfonso XIII, and just 500 were built before the onset of World War I.


1920s Concours class winner

1929 Bentley Speed Six ‘Old Number One’

1929 Bentley Speed Six ‘Old Number One’

This is the double-winning Le Mans Bentley. This was the first car to win the 24 hours back to back in 1929 and 1930. The Speed Six ‘Old Number One’ is considered to be among the greatest of Le Mans cars of all. It was the lead machine of five entered by the British Monarch in 1929 and was based on the speed six sporting version of the venerable 6 1/2 litre tourer. Its tweaked engine made 190 BHP, enabling 115 mph flat-out. Piloted by Woolf Bernato and Tim Birkin, it led the team to a podium sweep – and in 1930, despite strong opposition from the newly entered Alfa Romeo and Mercedes–Benz, it repeated its winning feet, with Bernato and Glen Kidston at the wheel. A worthy winner, and arguably the most significant car in the grand history of British motorsport.


1930s Concours class winner

1934 Bugatti Type 59

1934 Bugatti Type 59 at Concours of Elegance 2023

In the 1930s category, the wonderfully original Type 59 took victory. The 1934 Type 59 – part of Switzerland’s Pearl Collection – was developed in answer to increasing motor sport competition from the likes of Mercedes-Benz and Alfa Romeo. It was, and still is, considered to be both a technical marvel and a masterpiece of industrial art, with remarkable ‘piano-wire’ wheels, dropped body – and thus lower centre of gravity – longer wheelbase and supercharged straight-eight. As Bugatti’s final GP machine, the T59 is widely held to be the most elegant pre-war competition machine of all. Just six were built, and this particular example went on to take third at the Monaco Grand Prix and overall victory in Belgium.


1950s Concours class winner

1956 Jaguar XKSS

1956 Jaguar XKSS

In the 1950s class, it was the stunning Jaguar XKSS that took the top prize. Jaguar’s abrupt withdrawal from motor sport activities meant that several competition D-types remained. At the time, the American market was hot for European sports cars. Sir William Lyons, seeing the potential for sales success across the pond, ordered a small run of road-going versions of the remaining D-types, to be called the XKSS. Chassis XKD 550 is the 16th and final of the D-Types to be converted to XKSS specification by the factory. The 250bhp 3.4-litre straight-six machine was dispatched to Jaguar Cars in New York in November 1957, and remained in the US until 2009. Now residing in the UK, remains in full factory conversion spec. A superb example of one of the rarest and most desirable British motor cars.

1960s Concours class winner

1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder

1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spyder

This former Paris auto salon star, followed by a period in the ownership of Alan Delon, one of France’s foremost actors, this particular 1961 250 GT California Spider is no stranger to the spotlight. The handsome and charming film star was frequently pictured in the Ferrari, no.2935GT, often alongside stars such as Jane Fonda and Shirley MacLaine. In recent years, it has been treated to a full restoration by specialist Paul Russell and Company, and is in truly stunning condition. Parked up in Hampton Court Palace Gardens, its rich ‘Max Mayer Bleu’ paint glinting in the sun, it really was hard to resist. Another worthy winner. This car also made my top 10 cars, see here.


1970s Concours class winner

1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV

1971 Lamborghini Miura P400 SV at Concours of Elegance 2023

Very cool, in its ‘Oro Metallizzato’ gold paint, that won the hearts of voters. The ultimate version of the Miura, the SV, appeared in 1971, with altered weber carburettors, and different cam timing, which pushed output to 385bhp and torque to 295lb ft. Chassis 4878 was delivered new to French industrialist Jacques Dembiermont, and is one of just a handful of cars upgraded to SV spec by the factory in period. An enthusiastic driver, Dembiermont enjoyed using his car ‘to the max’, often transversing Europe with his wife (and their dog) in the passenger seat. His son later recalled them completing the 140-mile drive from Paris to Avalon in just one hour. The car’s appearance at Hampton Court was the first time since the completion of a three-year long restoration. Beautiful. This car also made my top 10 cars, see here.


Concours of Elegance 2023 – Future Classic Concours Class Winner

2023 Aston Martin Valkyrie

2023 Aston Martin Valkyrie at Concours of Elegance 2023

Marrying one of the world’s most treasured marques, with what many consider to be the greatest Formula One designer of all time, the limited production Valkyrie hybrid sports car is the dramatic result of a meeting of the finest minds in the automotive and motorsport industries. Aston Martin bought Red Bull’s Christian Horner and Adrian Newey on-board to produce what would become one of the most ferocious road machines ever. The Valkyrie boasts a 6.5 litre Aston Martin-Cosworth V12 married to an electric motor to create a 1139bhp monster, which is also capable of generating up to 1814kg of downforce. The victorious car is one of just 150 Valkyries produced, and features a number of ‘Q’ special order touches. Very cool.

So those were the main awards, you can read more on the other awards here.

The 2023 Concours of Elegance was one of the few official events to be helping Le Mans 24 hours and the ACO (Automobile Club de L’Ouest) celebrate their centenary. The ACO was founded in 1906, and designs and organises world-leading car races. It is the creator and organiser of the 24 hours of Le Mans.

It was a delight to see Le Mans veteran cars on display, including ten winners and four out of the five double winners. Here are some of those cars.

This year, private collector, Fritz Burkard was showing 12 of his cars from his amazing pearl collection. Fritz also won the best of the best recently – a competition for the concours car of the year from all the key global events – with his 2022 concours of elegance, winning Delage, D8-120 ‘de Villars’. A few of these cars made our top 10 cars from the show which you can see here. Here are a few of his cars on display (see below).

A really great day out. It makes me smile just thinking about it and writing this article. That says a lot in my world. Now I look forward to next years show and before that its sister event the London Concours in June 2024.

Have you seen our walk around the show? Here it is…

If you did not attend this wonderful event this year, then make sure you do attend in 2024. The show will take place from Friday 30th August to Sunday 1st September 2024.

Check out more Concours of Elegance posts here, our top 10 cars on sale, our top 10 favourite cars, videos, and more.

Remember if you follow us on social media or our newsletter you could have won a pair of tickets to this wonderful event. Follow us now. We are on FacebookInstagramTwitter/X and YouTube. Furthermore, subscribe to our newsletter here so that you can stay up-to-date with all of our competitions and giveaways. For example, in 2023 we have given away over 30 pairs of tickets to the UKs premier car shows. We will always try to run a competition for complimentary tickets to most of the U.K.’s premier car shows and also give away useful car products, books and discount codes, so take a look around the site.

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