Blog: Glenn BrooksRod Stewart and a red Messerschmitt

Glenn Brooks | 27 June 2011

What were they reading? The Times, of course.

What were they reading? The Times, of course.

Somehow, I managed to score a ticket to this year's Salon Privé, a Concours d'Elégance held for the first time in the grounds of Syon House. The stately home might be bang under the flight path of Heathrow, but then so is Kew, one of the English capital's swisher suburbs. Champagne flowed, lobsters were gorged and celebrities air-kissed one another. Miracle of miracle, the sun was even shining. In England. In summer!

Spotted Rod Stewart but most of the glamorously famous women were more or less lost on me, as were the slaughtered sea creatures. And as I had to drive to Wales for the weekend straight after the event, it was mineral water all afternoon. But who cares when the cars were so amazing: here, a brand new Jensen Interceptor that a firm based near Oxford will sell you complete with a supercharged 6.2-litre GM crate V8, there, a gaggle of Spykers.

A short stroll away across the lawns you could squeeze yourself into any number of unlocked beauties such as the Veyrons, or even a Bentley Conti GT with yellow leather and carbon trim. To match its wheels. And then in a corner, a whole collection of Porsche 956 and 962 racers from the 1980s and around behind the house, on another lawn, a 1978 Ferrari F1 racer with the name Gilles Villeneuve on its side. I'm sad not to be quite old enough to remember the latter car but I did think Nick Mason is a very lucky man to own such a beautiful creation.

You could dismiss Salon Privé as a shocking irrelevance, especially in the UK where on the same day, yet another national retail chain went bust (Habitat) and where so very many people continue to rightly worry about their jobs. But we all need a little glamour now and then, so mark your diary for next year. Not to mention as a wonderful appetizer for this coming weekend's Goodwood Festival of Speed.


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