Top 10 things you need to know about Salon Privé

Welcome to one of the most exclusive motor shows in the world. - By Tyler Heatley

18w ago

A version of this article was first published on YesAuto UK.

Garden party meets motor show

A typical motor show sees thousands attending to get their first glimpse of the latest models. Crowds of photographers are doing battle, the cars are typically roped off, and you’re rushing around the halls to get to the next reveal. Salon Privé is a much more sophisticated affair.

Imagine a motor show crossed with a garden party. Instead of worn carpet there’s perfectly manicured lawns: forget overpriced cola and grab a glass of champagne, and then there are the cars…

You won’t find the latest Ford Fiesta here. An incredible blend of historic icons and modern supercars gather for guests to freely explore and maybe even purchase.

It’s an incredible environment full of legendary vehicles, money, and excellent tailoring.

An eclectic mix of cars

Salon Privé has grown over the years and now resides in the beautiful grounds of Blenheim Palace. It attracts a wealth of four-wheeled stars that range from near priceless historic machines to the very latest hypercars.

Two of the event’s days are devoted to a councours that sees iconic vehicles from all over the world attend in the hope of taking home a trophy. A group of prestigious judges take in every tiny detail of competitors, looking for strong historical accuracy and good provenance.

Salon Privé has become such a noteworthy event on the calendar that some car manufacturers chose to reveal models for the first time. Lamborghini’s Aventador SVJ got its first outing here, and the new Hispano Suiza EV made its first UK public appearance this year.

If you’re a connoisseur of cars, you won’t be disappointed.

Concours d’Elégance

Salon Privé plays out over a series of days each year, and for 2021 it’s a total of five. The crown jewel is the Concours d’Elégance. Internationally famed judges gather to score the rich field of classics that enter. You’ll find everything from rarified Bugatti’s to a sea of Jaguar E-Types all hoping to take home some silverware.

Ladies’ Day

Salon Privé Ladies’ Day celebrates fashion and sees beautiful dresses and intricate hats worn by guests. The champagne flows and there’s still plenty of four-wheeled curiosities, but this day is ideal for guests whose interests go beyond the show cars.

There’s even the chance to talk to the resident milliner, Jess Collett, and small some of the very greatest items in fashion. Fancy something sparkly? The cars aren’t the only jewels on show.

Club Trophy

Salon Privé Club Trophy day is an exclusive day for owners of the marques exhibiting. Vehicles compete for various trophies, but owners are treated to a special day free of the public. Lunch in the sunshine – hopefully – and the chance to socialise with like-minded owners is not to be missed.

Classic and Supercar

Salon Privé Classic and Supercar is a public day where all things four-wheels are celebrated. This day incorporates a dynamic element with performance cars sprinting up the hill to demonstrate what they are cable of.

With some of the latest supercars on display, this is often the first time the public will see them in motion.

More than cars

As well as a sea of star cars, guests also have the opportunity to browse some of the boutiques on the grounds. If you’re looking for a dramatic piece of Le Mans artwork, or maybe a vintage petrol pump as a garage ornament, bring your credit card. There are so many oddities here that provide bespoke items you might not get the chance to buy elsewhere.

Test drive

Obviously, you’ll need to be serious about the car in question, but prospective buyers are able to take many of the amazing machines on show for a test drive. Teetering on the edge of placing an order for that Lamborghini? Why not take one for a spin in the countryside to help kill curiosity. Who knows, you might return and signed the paperwork over a glass of champagne.

Dress code

Salon Privé is a rather formal event with the dress code being stated as ‘formal and elegant.' Smart casual isn’t the done thing here, but making the effort is worthwhile to join everyone looking at their most polished.

For the public Casual and Supercar day, smart casual is acceptable for those entering the grounds.

Blenheim Palace

Blenheim Palace is the perfect setting for this automotive event. Its opulent grounds and expertly nurtured gardens are a special backdrop for the iconic vehicles that grace its lawn. Initially, the event took place at Syon House in London, but the elegant backdrop of this historic palace has better suited this rarified event as it has grown over the years.


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