While its twin sister, the London Concours, is set tucked in between the harsh skyscraper of the City of London, the Concours of Elegance takes a splendid royal garden as its playground. The spaces are wide, the ornamental trees perfectly formed and the pebbled alleys open up deep perspectives towards the seemingly infinite grounds.
The quality of the cars is up there with the best. From the utterly exotic Rolls Royce, complete with two factory mounted shotguns, to the gold lined, yet splendidly understated McLaren F1, the variety is overwhelming. Some splendid Art Deco cars share the stage with a surreal line up of Ferrari 166s and an impressive display of every single Aston Martin model that was bodied by Zagato.
In this ocean of green, the Alfas dressed for the occasion. There were two in the main competition, a splendid Pininfarina bodied 1948 6C-2500 SS Cabriolet and a rarer than rare Zagato bodied 1954 1900 C SS. Two very different cars, highlighting two very distinct ways to Alfa. One is splendid, luxurious, generous in its dimensions, the other is more compact, race bred, aggressive and generously sprinkled with unique Zagato character.
A few steps away from the main exhibits, another couple of heart warming Alfas gathered. From a stunning 8C convertible to a sharp SZ, we were reminded how the spirit of the biscione reverberated across the decades. Coincidence or not, you could not help but the trace back the lineage of the 8C to the green Pininfarina masterpiece, while the red Zagato was just as visually infuriating to many visitors as was its two tone green ancestor. Part of the Alfa spirit has always been to challenge and provoke. This will never change.
One great thing that both the London Concours and the Concours of Elegance have in common it that most of the cars arrive and drive off on their own. It’s one of the most applaudable traits of the British car culture, that the cars are meant to be used and enjoyed, not stowed away and trailer queened. Maybe a no other shows the spectacle of the moving cars has quite the same impact. In the vast space of the Hamptons, the cars get to stretch their legs a little and, for a brief moment, you almost feel that you are witnessing a glimpse of what the Mille Miglia might have been, back in the day.