The London Concours 2023: Grand Tourisme Concours Class

It has taken me a while to get this post done, as life is busy, I have several videos to upload to out YouTube channel, but now I have got around to the review on the the recent and wonderful London Concours 2023, that was again held at the beautiful and historic Honourable Artillery Company estate in London. I attended on the 6th June which was the VIP, Press & owners day, and what a day.

You can see here our favourite pictures from the wonderful London Concours 2023. All of our photos are here on our Facebook Album here.

The Concours Classes in 2023 were:

Make green great again | Grand tourisme | Evolution of Aero | Golden-age coupes | Bespoke automotive | Built to race for the road | 60 years of Lamborghini | Wild cards


I took videos as I walked around each concours class. Here I want to focus on the Grand tourisme concours class. You can see our video walk around the other classes by clicking on the links above or visiting our dedicated London Concours playlist on YouTube.

Here are the cars that featured in the Grand tourisme concours class.

There’s something truly beguiling about the French approach to motoring- and London Concours 2023 assembled the finest examples of France’s ingenious, idiosyncratic automobiles through the decades; cars that do things their own way, often with a dash of madness and always with consummate style. The selection ranges from the elegant Facel Vega Facel II to the retro-futuristic glory of the Citroën SM, alongside motor sport-inspired legends such as the Alpine Al10 and Renault 5 Turbo .


1962 Facel Vega Facel II

This is one of two right-hand-drive High Output Facel lIs built with the larger, 6765cc Chrysler V8 and Pont-à-Mousson manual ‘box. The other car was bought new by Ringo Starr, while this example’s first owner was Sir Arthur Frederick Wheeler, whose father sold war loans to finance World War One.

First shown at Earls Court in 1962, the car changed colour to grey early in its life and went through a couple of owners before being laid up in 1967 to change the headlamps.

There it stayed until 1997, when the new owner commenced with a major restoration at a London-based specialist. The car later passed to respected Bugatti collector Barry Burnett, before the current owner eventually took stewardship. The Facel Il has since been treated to a refurbishment and partial respray. As of its restoration, it had covered a mere 800 miles since 1967.


1971 Alpine A110 1600 S

The Alpine A110 lived a very long, successful life; over 14 years, this little coupé won several rallying titles – most notably the very first official World Rally Championship in 1973.

Over that time the road car was developed extensively, using many Renault parts. Based around a steel-backbone chassis with Giovanni Michelotti-styled glass fibre bodywork, its original engine options were 1.1-litre R8 Major or R8 Gordini units.

The 1600 S model arrived in 1969 with a 138bhp high-compression version of the R16TS motor with twin Weber carburettors. In 1973 the 1600 S was upgraded to the A310’s 138bhp 1605cc engine, and a few months later the rear suspension was changed from a swing axle to a double-wishbone set-up.


1974 Citroen SM 2.7

An icon of otherness – the Robert Opron-styled SM may have been built from 1970-75, but few cars will look this futuristic again.  As a young boy, the current owner would get off the bus in Richmond, London every day, and see a spaceship in wheeled form – an SM.

When he purchased this example six years ago, he noticed that the number plate was the same as on the car he’d covered all those years ago. The model has covered 52,000 miles has covered 52,000 miles from new and has recently had a bare-metal repaint in Vert Argente.

The radio – a very rare Continental Edison – was sourced from Dortmund, Germany, and the owner had had Cognac lambswool insert rugs custom-made for the car. Its black headlining had also been changed to the original 1970s champagne-coloured brushed nylon.


1978 Alpine A310 V6

The A310 took over from the A110, but thanks to a heavier body and no improvement in engine performance, it was generally thought of as being underpowered.

Thatcham all changed in 1976, with the Robert Opton-styled V6 model. Although sales were more than double those of its four-cylinder predecessor, it was still a rare sight compared with its great rear-engined competitor, the Porsche was just under 9300.

This car has covered 30,000km (18,000 miles) from new, and is one of four DeLorean-engined test cars with unique fuel injection. It’s the only one running in the UK. These four cars were supplied by Renault to DeLorean in Northern Ireland to test the engine, because the new DeLorean model wasn’t ready.


1985 Renault 5 Turbo 2

Once Renault had built the 400 Turbo 1S it needed to homologous the racing cars for Group 4 competition, it created a second version that dialled back some of the more expensive parts of the build process.

The Bertone seats and dashboard were replaced with those from the R5 Alpine, and light alloy parts were superseded with steel. The car was thus much cheaper, but it was still just as fast – it could hit 120 mph all-out, and 0-62 mph in 6.9 seconds.

To keep it planted on the road it used rear suspension derived from that of the Alpine A310 V6, while the five-speed Manuel transmission was sourced from the 30 TX, but rotated through 180 degrees. Unlike the normal front-wheel-drive R5S, power for the Turbo 1 and Turbo 2 went to the rear wheels only.


2021 Alpine A110 GT

For many years Renault had followed the hot-hatchback route, releasing numerous class-leading cars over the decades. With the rebirth of the Alpine brand, there was a return to the low-slung coupe styling that was last seen in the 1990s.

The dramatic A110 was revealed to the world in 2017. Powered by a 1.8-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine matched to a seven-speed Getrag dual-clutch gearbox, the car produces 249 bhp and 236 lb ft of torque. This means it can sprint from 0-62 mph in 4.5 seconds, and keep going all the way up to 155 mph, at which point the limiter kicks in.

The A110 GT’s construction is all aluminium in a bid to save weight – in an era of ever-more, bloated sports cars, the lithe machine tips and scales are only 1103kg.


2004 Renault Sport Clio V6 255

Inspired by the Clio V6 Trophy that ran between 1999-2003, this model was developed and built by Tom Walkinshaw Racing.

The original car quickly developed a reputation for tricky handling, so in 2003 a revised version was launched, with more horses from the 2.9-litre V6 courtesy of fresh cylinder heads, pistons, injectors and intake. At 252 bhp, it was the most muscular hot hatchback in the world – and to contain the power, Renault Sport and ex-TWR staff completely reworked the chassis and suspension; the subframe was totally different. Porsche lent a hand as well, reworking the ECU.

This particular car is one of four UK models in Lunar Grey, and is the one to have Sahara Beige Visual and Touch pack trim. It has recently been treated to fresh paintwork and a major service.


1981 Renault 5 Turbo 1

The Renault 5 Turbo 1 was designed to conquer the world of rallying – so Renault chose to put the engine where the rear seats were and design a sci-fi interior for what little space was left. A true homologous special, the four-cylinder turbocharged engine produced 160 bhp.

The car was successful the first time out, with Jean Ragnotti taking victory in the Monte-Carlo Rally. Despite being up against four-wheel-drive opponents, it would be successful on Tarmac rallies for several years, taking five wins.

The Turbo 1 was owned by the Renault dealer in Brescia, Italy, where it was on display for many years until Hyundai took over the showroom. The current owner bought it and drove it back to Great Britain, and it has since been borrowed by Renault UK for press duties.


The London Concours was a thoroughly enjoyable show as it has been every year that I have attended.  It was also really good to award five of our readers, a pair of tickets each to attend the show, as they won a pair of tickets by entering our competition. Do make sure you are subscribed to our newsletter (click on the link below) and following us on social media (links below) so you don’t miss out on future competitions.

See you around.

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