As I sit here awaiting my pizza and ten to one in the morning, pondering the following days events at Salon Privé I find myself tackling where the event stands philosophically.
It’s quite alone in its unique execution of the british motoring gathering. A more private, pampering and quaint affair- one is found far more up close and personal with the machines that captivate our imaginations, YouTube videos and desktop wallpapers.
The rush of many of these events can often get in the way of the fun and turn it into a busmans holiday of sorts. But with Salon Privé the content though lower in quantity appears exponentially higher in quality. The journey should be more enjoyable and the route more scenic.
So what stops are there along the way? The immediate first impression is that this is a meticulously planned and organised event.
As well it should be for a ticket outlay of just under £250. Half of the purpose of the thing is to rope in wealthy buyers. Many of the people here are after all window shopping.
The lack of the touristy hustle and bustle is to be savoured- as are the machines on display here. Unadulterated by clammy rabble- the venue, the smattering of subject matter and the atmosphere are exquisite.
Upon arrival having followed requisite signage for the past 3 miles you are directed to the car park. In which, for me, was resting a red Ferrari Enzo. A well stocked car park is always a good sign at events like this, and telling of its target audience.
This is not a weekend family jaunt. Walk up the red carpet, grab your lanyard, get a wristband and make a beeline for the lawn through the tunnel. What came into view felt like something out of a motoring enthusiasts idea of heaven.
To my immediate right sits two magnificent Lamborghini Huracans. Directly ahead the cream of BMWs crop- i8 and M4.
Its abundantly clear that both the Italians and the Germans are here to grab the attention of potential buyers. Order books at the ready salesmen…
Far right stands a quintet of veritable Hypercar royalty. Jay Kays infamous green LaFerrari sits central atop a red carpet to an Agera and Huayra on the left and a Veyron and a magnificent RUF CTR3 on the right.
Under this 5 million pound canapé also sits seating dotted amongst the cars where later on I would park myself- contemplating the backside of the beautifully configured Huayra over a cool glass of water.
There will undoubtedly be a recurring theme in my account of Salon Privé. This is a far more slower paced and consequently more soothing experience. A very customer driven event- that much is apparent and I’m enjoying proceedings far more as a result. Its a casual exhibition of fine automotive art.
Obviously the LaFerrari was represented well. Jays Kermit along with one from Joe Macari as well as one displayed alongside the astonishing one off F12 TRS.
A P1 sat alongside the LF at Macaris area. Zondas aplenty, two Huayras, a couple of XJ220S’, a Miura, a Countach, a Tesla Model S, some F40s, an F50.
The new Mustang sat proudly alongside the corking little Caterham Aero 7 concept- an odd pairing.
Ian Callums wonderful pet project Mk2 re mastering that as announced is making limited production. Im making it all sound rather mundane but the important factor is not whats about but the way that these cars can be experienced at Salon Privé.
You may have seen them all before but the class with which these machines are presented here adds something more.
Morgan brought their bizarre, yet captivating SP1 one off along. Looking into the engine bay on it you can actually see where the motor links to the gearbox. Very cool.
Overfinch debuted a couple of Range Rovers. La de da.
Stuff I had a jolly good snoop around included the Huracan- which I can report is beautifully appointed on the inside and worlds away from the dated cabin of its predecessor. The hexagonal thing though, isn’t for me.
Some seat time in the i8 and M4 was nice. Categorically i am in love with the interiors in newer Beemers.
The design of the wheel, positioning of the screen and arrangement of controls is intuitive and expensive looking. The i8 feels really special in a way most BMs dont- the way a £100,000 car should. Probably because it requires the entry and exit procedure akin to most carbon clad £4-500,000 machinery.
By far the most impressive however was the Model S. The screen although gargantuan isn’t the kicker, for me at least. Its the gorgeous amounts of space in the airy expensive smelling cabin. No engine. No transmission tunnel. Worlds of room freed up for the pilot to enjoy the inside.
So aside from the more close up work one can do with whats on display, Salon Privé seems to follow standard car show procedure.
That is until you sit down to dine on some gorgeous lobster, sipping an icy glass of orange juice. Albeit some 10 feet away from some of fastest motorcars on the planet. As I write this I’m sitting four feet away from the lovely blue Huayra with Jay Kays LaFerrari over my right flank.
The main attraction for me, and I think by chance the main feature for this years Salon Privé is the attendance of none other than Mr Horacio Pagani along with a procession of his finest products.
As I write now he and some henchmen are fettling with the Huayra in front of me.
An hour earlier he headed the spectacular Pagani parade. A Huayra, three Zonda S’ and an F Roadster took a noisy lap of the grounds of Syon house and they delivered to the rabid punters the noise and the theatre that made the brand so famous and the Zonda so iconic.
An hour before that I met the man and needless to say I made an absolute pillock of myself. But what an incredible opportunity Salon Privé gave to a lifetime Pagani fangirl!
So following my moseying around the beautifully groomed grounds of Syon house, browsing some of the finest exotic automotive jewellery in existence, meeting an absolute hero, demolishing a gorgeous lunch, guzzling down icey beverages immersed in it all, how did Salon Privé round off?
Here, what becomes evident is the sheer amount of passion and planning that goes into this event by its organisers. The final blow out parade of the greatest of the exhibitors across the red carpet with accompanying commentary by Autocars Matt Saunders.
A Tesla spins up the carpet with its instant torque, the intoxicating Ferrari F12 TRS sings for us, awards and thanks are given and everyone goes home.
It’s definitive. Exquisite. It is that at any other event the stars are irrefutably the cars- if you can get anywhere near them or in fact around the venue in time to see everything. It is that at Salon Privé the experience is deliciously immersive.
The amount of content is reduced, but richer in its quality. You have the day to explore, relax and just enjoy being around these magnificent pieces of engineering and art that we hold so dear. You are beautifully catered for with food and drink and can comfortably soldier through the day.
It is however, an enormous outlay for a day ticket indeed. If its beyond your average expenditure on such a thing then I would still urge you to do it at least once.
If I could, i’d go every year.