City Concours 2017
On the 8th – 9th June 2017, AlphaLuxe was at the City Concours 2017 at the Honourable Artillery Company on its 5-acre garden in the centre of London. We announced the event previously on AlphaLuxe.
We were surprised by a vast green oasis surrounded by high rise buildings of the City that is one of the secret training grounds of the English Test Cricket Team.
The Honourable Artillery Company (HAC) can trace its history back to 1087 A.D., but was incorporated by Royal Charter in 1537 by King Henry VIII and is considered one of the oldest military organisations in the world. Then, the ancient word “artillery” did not have the same meaning as used today. They were authorised to establish a perpetual corporation for the defence of the realm to be known as the Fraternity or Guild of Artillery of Longbows, Crossbows and Handgonnes. Artillery meant any projectile and the modern equivalent would be “Honourable Military Company”.
Today it is a registered charity whose purpose is to attend to the “better defence of the realm”, this purpose is primarily achieved by the support of the HAC Regiment and a detachment of Special Constabulary to the City of London Police. Members played a significant role forming both the 17th century Royal Marines and the Grenadier Guards. More recently, regiments, battalions and batteries of the Company fought in both World Wars and its current Regiment, as part of the Army Reserve, is the oldest surviving regiment in the British Army. Members of the Regiment and Specials are drawn mainly from young men and women working in and around the City and Greater London. Those leaving the active units may become Veteran Members and remain within the fraternity of the Company.
Cars, Bikes and Watches Galore
More than 70 Concours vintage cars were on show covering thema such as:
- Pioneering Spirit
- The Joy of the Road
- The Swinging Sixties
- Built for Speed
- Evolution of the Supercar
- The American Muscle Collector
- Modern Bespoke
- History of the Superbike
There was a special nod of respect for the “old gals” like the 1907 Itala 40hp, 1903 Daimler 14 HP Tonneau Tourer and 1912 Roll-Royce Silver Ghost having survived more than a century of motoring at the hands of their loving owners.
The relative youngsters at a mere 70 or 80 years old like the Bentleys and BMWs had some age to catch up with.
We were treated to a number of cars that had a distinguished career racing in classics like the 24 Hours of Le Mans and Mille Miglia. One such example was the 1956 Jaguar D-Type Long Nose racing for the Ecurie Ecosse Team as privateers.
We got to see and hear the glorious Jaguar straight-six XK engine in a cloud of smoke and gurgles on the over-run.
The original cockpit has not been restored and the patina of cracked aged leather mingled with the scuff marks of countless drivers’ hands, elbows, feet and arses.
Swinging 60s and forward
For most of us, the cars of the Swinging 60s and forward were more familiar and were well represented in the evolution of the supercar. Here are a few that caught my eye amongst the plethora of testosterone-induced dreams…
Based on the donor Jaguar E-Type, this modernised variant reflected light like a mirror and the wind like an arrow.
Additionally, there were more modern supercars on offer from luxury vendors, auction houses and bespoke makers such as Atlanta, Aston Martin, Bentley, Rolls Royce, Lamborghini, Ferrari, Bugatti, Maserati and Jaguar, but I didn’t try to count them!
Many supercars were low to the ground but the Vulcan took the prize for the “Lowest Cutting Lawnmower” 🙂
The Atlanta Two-seater Open Top above is a modern construction of the 1937 car with Ash frame and hand-beaten Aluminium panels. Remaining true to the original design and hand crafted ethos, all round performance is assured by using modern materials and technology only where appropriate.
Original Atlanta design fully independent front and rear with upgraded FEA LM25 castings and employing tailor-made coil-over shock absorbers with a remote “Telecontrol” adjustable option available as per the original.
Un-supercharged four cylinder 2.5 litre aluminium engine with variable valve timing, producing 214hp and 198lb ft of torque. As in 1937, high performance supercharged options are also available. £150,000.
The Yanks are Back in Town
A gaggle of gloss black American muscle cars with matt black hoods gave the London crowd an insight into a different motoring culture from “across the pond”.
Bicycles Built for Two
The small but perfectly formed cluster of superbikes represented another tribe in the motoring culture. We could all imagine we were like Lawrence of Arabia.
Other Luxury Houses
Glashütte Original and Breguet represented the watchmakers and the House of Taittinger champagne flowed freely….
Glashütte Original CEO Thomas Meier partnered and hosted motoring and watch enthusiasts.
Watches and Cars share qualities of precision engineering and attention to aesthetic details. The appreciation of one genre is often associated with the other amongst enthusiasts. The timing of automotive sports with chronographs, both dashboard and handheld is the raison d’etre of horologic innovation.
We are pleased to share but a fraction of the City Concours 2017 for those who could not attend in-person.
Do try to catch the show live next year; we’ll let you know when….
Author’s Biography: Melvyn Teillol-Foo (MTF)
Dr Melvyn Teillol-Foo is a contributor on AlphaLuxe web-zine.
He is also a moderator on PuristSPro.com horology discussion fora. He blends his scientific medical objectivity from the pharmaceutical industry with purist passion, in his musings about watches, travel, wine, food and other epicurean delights.
His travelogue ‘Lazing’ and feasting ‘Grazing’ series of articles have now passed into “mythic legend” on the original ‘ThePuristS.com’ website. Those were the halcyon days when he was “rich and famous” that he remembers with bittersweet fondness.
Dr Teillol-Foo is a quoted enthusiast on the watch industry, appearing in feature articles and interviews by Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, Sunday Times (London), Chronos (Japan), Citizen Hedonist (France) and other publications. He has authored articles for magazines like International Watch (iW) – both U.S. & Chinese editions, ICON (Singapore), August Man (Singapore), Comfort (China) and The Watch (Hong Kong).