As I walk across the back lawn at Blenheim Palace I hear a rumbling in the distance.
Slowly creeping around the far corner I spot a jet black Ferrari F50, gently bobbing up and down over the uneven ground.
I could only be walking towards Salon Privé, the UK’s most exclusive car show.
Arriving a little early I walk down the diagonal line of cars that now leads you to the entrance. It’s hard to ignore the two helicopters perched on the lawn just to my right, the ultimate in jet set style they just add to the theatre of the event.
Gates slightly open I walk through.
The grandeur of the event opens up before me once more.
Every year I come back and every year it feels just as special. Intimate as ever, but including some of the most incredible machinery ever created, all laid out before your very eyes.
Turning left I notice the Morgan stand straight away.
It’s the first time they have exhibited at Salon Privé, but it should have happened long ago. The rich, the wealthy and the upper classes are a captive audience.
On display is the brand new Morgan EV3. Now we’ve seen this car before at Geneva, but this is the Selfridges edition model.
Only 19 are to be made, each owner will have the choice of purchasing a bespoke ‘Driving Kit’ which will consist of items from Alexander McQueen, Belstaff, Dents, Richard James and five others.
All made in the UK to celebrate the 1909 inception of both Selfrdiges & Morgan.
Exclusive to the very last, it fits in perfectly with its surroundings.
Moving back across the venue I walk past a gaggle of old girls from Tom Hartley Jnr, probably totalling near enough six million pound.
Not one, but two 300SL Mercs, one drop top in lipstick red, the other a Gullwing in light blue.
Opposite sits a 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB in verde pino green and a 1963 Aston Martin DB4 convertible, finished in Caribbean Pearl. Between them sat a 918 Spyder, perfectly mixing the old with the new.
Behind me stands a McLaren P1 in dark grey. Throughout the day it was probably the car that received the least attention. That shows the gravitas of this event.
Lamborghini were showing off the Centenario all but a stone’s throw from the P1. Having seen it at Geneva toward the beginning of the year I wasn’t that enamoured with it.
But for some reason seeing it in this surrounding with two Huracans perched on its shoulders it looked incredible.
The mean, low angular lines, the small yellow details and the ferocity of the rear end from the side…it’s a work of art
But not to be upstaged Koenigsegg was across the way.
They were showing off the very last Agera R and the final Agera RS.
Named Naraya, the RS was finished in blue tinted clear carbon fibre, the first time the whole tub has been finished in this way.
Gold leaf was the applied by hand to numerous parts of the car, the process took two full weeks, working 12 hour days, six days per week.
The details on the car were just something else, the gold was quite flat in appearance, not your gaudy orangey colour.
Now I’m not a fan of gold, but this was so tastefully done, the exhaust, the edges of the engine bay glass, the text and intricate parts of the suspension, all finished with gold highlights.
Moving across to the other side of Salon Privé I walk past the new Bristol Bullet, looking like a modernist take on an AC Cobra it’s different…I’m not sold on it yet, but the interior was gorgeous.
Behind that was a lonely Spyker C8. I have always loved these things, and in the marques absence at the show it was good to see one here looking resplendent in burnt orange.
Sitting in the back corner there’s a gaggle of Miura’s. More Miura’s than I have ever seen in fact.
Celebrating 50 years since the inception of the original supercar, it was a spectacular sight to so many gathered together.
I move on to the Chubb Concours display. First up was a rare rocking horse. A 1966 AC Shelby Cobra, it was immaculate.
You could have cut chips through the wire mesh covering the headlights, before coiffuring yourself in the chrome bumpers.
God did it look good.
It was one of those moments when you seriously contemplate jumping in, gunning the throttle and heading for the open road…if only the keys had been inside.
There were a few other stunners, a 1962 Aston Martin DB4 Series V Vantage, and a baby blue 300SL Gullwing parked side by side.
It’s unimaginable owning either one of these beauties, and as I walk off I catch the start of two gentleman’s conversations
…oh yes, I was part of a car club a few years ago…when I owned the Dino
It’s another world, and for just a few hours it’s incredible to become immersed in it.
As the barbeques fire up, the lobsters are bought in. Free champagne has been flowing since the gates opened at 11am and the weather – albeit bleak – has held off.
I leave the main show, head back out to the front of the palace and make my way to the Silverstone Auction pavilion.
As soon as I enter a rather nice DeLorean piques my interest. Built in November 81 it has covered just 33,000 miles from new and a one owner car.
It carried an estimate of £28-33k…now where did I leave my credit card?!
Over in the corner near the entrance sat a rather peculiar looking Mercedes.
Wrapped in giant cling film – to stop more bits falling off of it – a 190SL hid beneath the layers. It was a 1957 model and had been imported from the USA last year as a barn find. No reserve.
A few others caught my eye. A Subaru P1 that had undergone restoration, thus carrying a huge estimate of £38k.
A Mercedes SLS AMG Coupe, 9,811 miles since new, finished in Designo-Magno-Sylvanite Grey Matte – I was instantly reminded of the one I drove a few years back, another lottery win car – £120k estimate.
Quickly dipping inside I drool over a bright red Aston Martin DB4. A cool 300k.
And then it’s time to leave.
Walking out toward the car park I look back at the magnificent surroundings that are Blenheim Palace.
Salon Privé have tweaked a few things since last year, the new entrance is far grander, the helicopters are an impressive sight and the quality of the metal on show is – as ever – second to none.
Attending is a once in a lifetime event for most people, but to be part of that world for a day is simply incredible and must be experienced.