I had the pleasure of photographing this unique, glamorous and relaxed event for the 3rd consecutive year.
Salon Privé is one of the world's major Concours events, closed to the public and limited to just 2,500 guests per day. Presenting the finest collection of supercars, hypercars, classic cars and motorbikes.
This year’s prestigious event marks a particularly special milestone as Salon Privé relocated to the foot of Blenheim Palace to become the first event ever to be located on the Palace’s famous Cricket Pitch. I felt this was the perfect place to position the event with the Palace as the ideal backdrop, it really did feel like a garden party, and it wasn't too far to walk from the car park.
I was commissioned to photograph on Thursday 30th August, the first day of the show when the judging and presenting of the trophies takes place during the Chubb Insurance Concours d'Elegance official parade.
The expert panel of 17 judges was chaired by Derek Bell MBE, and included Ben Barkaway, Matthias Bartz, Keith Bluemel, Henry Cole, Yasmin Le Bon, Louis de Fabribeckers, Marco Makaus, John Mayston-Taylor, Hugo Modderman, Cecelia Muldoon, Steve Parrish, Jeff Smith MBE, Harvey Stanley, Giles Taylor, Marcus Willis and Tony Willis.
During the course of the morning the judges carefully inspected and spoke to the owners or representatives of each of the 53 cars – 17 of them international entries – plus 20 motorcycles.
The star-studded Concours comprised of three motorcycle and ten car classes, including ‘Preservation at its Best’; ‘Pre-war Bugattis’; ‘Pre-war Luxury Tourers’; ‘Grand Tourers of the 1950s & ’60s’; ‘Wind in Your Hair’; ‘Best of British at Blenheim Palace’; ‘Streamlined Closed Sports Cars’; ’50 Years of the Dino’; ‘Supercars of the ’70s’ and ‘Competition Cars’, all competing for the prestigious Best of Show, Best of Show runner-up and individual Class prizes.
The photographs I took show the day unfolding, starting with the European Debut of the new Lamborghini Aventador SVJ, with 770 bhp and 720 Nm of torque at 6,750 rpm, the Aventador SVJ is Lamborghini’s most powerful, naturally-aspirated V12 ever produced: SV standing for ‘super veloce’ meaning superfast, and the ‘Jota’ suffice referencing the car’s potency on both track and road.
This year the weather was wonderfully warm and dry unlike last year when there was a downpour during the parade.
Before the Chubb Insurance Concours d’Elégance official parade & trophy presentation a wonderful lobster luncheon was served with champagne by this year's official sponsor Pommery.
The parade was an eclectic mix of automobiles and motorbikes spanning the last century, driven by their proud owners onto the red carpeted stage under a canopy for all the audience to admire. The Master of Ceremonies – the highly knowledgable Max Girardo – gave a brief history about each one. On hand to present the trophies were His Grace the 12th Duke of Marlborough and Andrew Bagley Salon Privé co-founder.
The day concluded with a quintessentially English afternoon tea and many trophies and rosettes taking pride of place on the winning automobiles and motorbikes.
Last but not least, the camera kit I used comprised of two Nikon D700 bodies, one Nikon D750 body, one Nikon 70-200mm lens, one Nikon 24-120mm lens and one Sigma 15-30mm lens and one Nikon 910 Speedlight, fortunately I wasn't holding all the cameras at the same time!
To view additional photographs from the day please follow this link to the events section of the website.