Salon Privé is a very different type of motor show. Don’t expect to see any world exclusives here, more a fine collection of both modern and classic exotica for the champagne-sipping showgoers to admire.
The fifth annual three-day Luxury Supercar Event and Concours D’Elégance kicked off at London’s Hurlingham Club today. Last year’s show was perhaps the most memorable yet as showgoers were treated the public debut of the Jaguar XJ, as well as a rare look at the Aston Martin One-77.
But there were no such launches at this year’s event. Instead, it was a chance for new metal launched over the past 12 months to be seen in Britain for the first time, or at least the first time in a static show environment if you discount Goodwood’s excellent Supercar Run.
British manufacturers were out in force. There was a special Jaguar stand featuring many of the firm’s iconic models in its 75-year history, up to and including the new XJ.
Rolls-Royce exhibited the new Ghost, alongside the Phantom and a sparkly new picnic set some of its designers had created. Morgan showcased the Aero Supersports, Bentley showed off the new Muslanne, Aston Martin had a Rapide on show and Lotus brought along the Evora. It’ll be interesting to see just how different the Lotus stand will look in a year’s time, given its plans for a more luxurious and expensive future.
Many other manufacturers were represented, too. Maserati’s new GranCabrio was the focal point of its stand, while there were also plenty of admiring glances in the direction of the Mercedes SLS, Lexus LFA and Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera. A customary Bugatti Veyron was also on show, a matte blue and black open-top Gran Sport model.
Tucked away in the corner of the Hurlingham Club's grounds was a small display of pre-2000 hypercars frantically being cleaned and polished for judging in the Concours D’Elegance. Highlights here included pristine examples of the Ferrari F50, McLaren F1, Jaguar XJ220 and Bugatti EB110 GT.
Given the price of admission, Salon Prive is never going to be a headline motor show on the circuit. But it is still relevant; luxury car sales have suffered in recent times and it is rare for luxury manufacturers to be able to assemble so many wealthy potential buyers in one place, many looking to add to their collections.
Showgoers are also treated well, enjoying free lunches, teas and drinks in a relaxed atmosphere, things that may make the difference when tempting a potential customer into their latest luxury car purchase. All a far cry from the crowded, stuffy show halls of your typical motor show.
So Salon Privé is something different, and is now turning itself into an established and popular annual event with manufacturers and showgoers alike. And something that appears to be here to stay.