The fourth Concours of Elegance brings a tantalising collection of classic and modern metal to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh
Richard Webber
6 September 2015

The fourth Concours of Elegance has taken place at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh. As the Queen's official residence in Scotland, Holyrood followed Windsor Castle, St James's Palace and Hampton Court Palace in hosting the prestigious classic car event, which ran from 4-6 September. Many of the participating cars took part in a two-day tour of the Highlands en route to Holyrood, with drivers including four-time IndyCar champion Dario Franchitti.

Hosted by HRH Prince Michael of Kent and Sir Jackie Stewart, the event's focus was the main concours in which 60 specially selected classics competed for the Pullman Trophy, which went to the car that accumulated most votes from other concours owners. The prize was awarded to a 1903 Mecedes Simplex 60HP - a car that in its day was claimed capable of 80mph thanks to its 9.2-litre four-cylinder engine.

Saturday's Club Trophy was contested by entrants from car clubs representing Bentley, Aston Martin, Rolls-Royce, Ferrari, Bristol, Jaguar, Maserati, AC Cars, Lamborghini and the RAC. The judging panel included Jaguar design director Ian Callum, who also helped choose the recipient of the Jaguar Trophy for the best entrant among 100 Jaguars attending. Both prizes went to the same car - a Jaguar SS1, a model that Callum described as "one of the most beautiful cars ever made". As the Club Trophy winner, the SS1 will be invited to join the main concours at the 2016 event.

On Sunday the Bentley Trophy was awarded to the best privately owned Bentley of the day - a Barnato Green Continental R. Bentley's own display included a Blower Bentley and Woolf Barnato's famous 'Blue Train' Speed Six.

Highlights of the main concours included the 1951 Ferrari 212 Export Vignale, fresh from a stint at the Ferrari museum in Maranello following a 14-month restoration. Powered by a 150bhp 2.5-litre V12, the car was delivered to its first owner by Enzo Ferrari himself as a coupé, before being restyled as a barchetta in 1953.

A 1958 Ferrari 250 Tour de France Scaglietti – designed by Pininfarina but finished with Scaglietti-supplied aluminium bodywork – was another show star from Maranello. Colloquially named for the Tour de France race that was dominated by 250 GTs in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the 250 TDF is powered by a 260bhp 3.0-litre V12.

The 250 GTO driven from Maranello to Goodwood's Easter Meeting in 1962 by Innes Ireland was also on show at Holyrood. Boasting 35bhp more than the TDF, the GTO racer also benefits from disc brakes, a five-speed gearbox, and much-improved aerodynamics.

Other Italian show stars included a Lancia Stratos Stradale – the road-going variant of the famous rally car – an ultra-rare 2500 GTS mid-engined V12 coupé from ATS, the short-lived sports car maker created by Ferrari defectors, and from Lamborghini, a 1970 Miura S owned by supercar dealer Tom Hartley Jnr and a dazzling white 5000S example of its successor, the Countach.

British entrants included the one-off Aston Martin DB4GT Bertone 'Jet' that won Best in Show at Villa d'Este in 2001 and was sold in 2013 for £3.25 million. An original, blue and white race-liveried Jaguar E-type Lightweight – on show for the first time in 20 years – was reprised by one of Jaguar's new recreation Lightweights on the JLR stand, and Aristotle Onassis's 1960 Bentley S2 Continental Fastback Mulliner Coupé also competed in the concours.

The 1902 American-built 2500cc twin-cylinder Westfield – good for 50mph – was the joint-oldest car on show. Other vintage entrants included the 9.3-litre Star Gordon Bennett Racer from 1905, the swooping Delahaye Type 165 Touring Cabriolet Figoni et Falaschi commissioned by the French government for the 1939 World's Fair in New York, and a gleaming 1908 Silver Ghost Barker Open Tourer, one of six Rolls-Royces in the field of 60.

A grey, triple-tone BMW M1, one of ten examples tuned to 350bhp by AHG, was among the more modern competitors, while another rare supercar that was tuned for extra performance was a 1987 Ferrari F40 GT, one of seven F40s uprated from 478bhp to 590bhp.

The only contemporary car competing for the Pullman Trophy was Touring Superleggera's Berlinetta Lusso, a limited-run coachbuilt special based on the Ferrari F12. The car was revealed at this year's Geneva motor show, and is making its UK debut in Edinburgh. Following the success of the Alfa Romeo 8C-based Disco Volante, Milan-based Touring Superleggera's latest model has already sold out its run of five cars, each of which will be customised to its buyer's specifications. The pale blue Berlinetta Lusso shown at Holyrood is the first complete example and is soon to be shipped to its owner in Asia; the next will not be ready for another 12 months.

There were also displays to celebrate some of Scotland's greatest racing drivers. All three of Sir Jackie Stewart's F1 title-winning cars were on show together for the first time – one Matra and two Tyrrells – along with his famous tartan-striped helmet from each season. Jim Clark's Lotus 25 and Lotus 38 were also at Holyrood, as was the 1988 Le Mans-winning Jaguar XR9 driven by Johnny Dumfries, and the pace cars from each of Franchitti's Indy 500 wins, consisting of two Chevrolet Corvettes and a Camaro.

The largest collection of cars from legendary Scottish race team Ecurie Ecosse was also in attendance, including a Longnose D-type, 1959 Tojeiro-Jaguar, Le Mans-winning Jaguar D-type and the contemporary BMW Z4 GT3 car. The team's classic Commer Transporter was also on show.

Other displays included Royal heritage vehicles from Jaguar and Land Rover, such as the Land Rover Series 1 used by the Queen and Prince Philip on their Commonwealth tour of 1953-1954, the Range Rover that replaced it in 1974, and the Queen Mother's Daimler DS420. The Jaguar stand also hosted the Project 7 extreme roadster, based on the F-type, on show alongside the recreation Lightweight E-type and one of 16 XK-SS road-racers from 1957.

A strong display from McLaren Glasgow included the bulk of the marque's current models including the new 570S, the 675LT and the P1 hybrid hypercar.

The event at Holyrood was preceded on Thursday evening by a celebration aboard the Royal Yacht Britannia in Leith where the first inductees to the Scottish Motoring Hall of Fame were announced. Organised by the Association of Scottish Motoring Writers, the Hall of Fame's first members were confirmed as Sir Jackie Stewart, Jim Clark and Ian Callum.

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