A spectacular day out

at Blenheim Palace:Salon Privé 2021


Tom Senior

Director Classic Car Finance

What a difference a year makes. With the fabulous Blenheim Palace as the backdrop, this year's Salon Privé certainly lived up to its expectations.

The cars are the stars of the show, and there were some absolute superstars featured this year. With only 106 made, it isn't often you see a McLaren F1.
This year there were two at Salon Privé, a rare GTR, and an immaculate road car.

The value of these cars has been on a steady increase for years. One sold at auction in August for over $20m USD and was one of only 7 to pass through an auctioneer's hands in the last 8 years. They will always be the first hypercar, and a true marvel of engineering.

If you thought F1s were rare and expensive, when compared to the 250 GTO they seem like child's play. One of the most famous classic cars of all time, only 36 were manufactured, making them a rare gem. Salon Privé spoiled us with two on the day, a Series I and Series II, both spectacular and worth over $50m USD. People often ask the question 'why is it so expensive?', and it is a complex question to answer. A variety of factors contribute, but the two easiest answers are:

1) Rarity - with only 36 cars made and over 38 million cars in the UK alone, if all 36 were here, then that would represent 0.00009% of all the cars in the UK. A sighting of one of these is more akin to spotting a mythical creature.

2) The 250 GTO has officially been "sanctioned" as a work of art. In the unlikely event that you cannot drive it, then it can always be sold as a work of art. Even $50m USD is small change in the art world, where Leonardo Di Vinci's "Salvator Mundi" painting was sold at auction in New York in 2016 for $450.3m USD.

You could argue that going to the event for these two cars alone would be worth your time, but there was so much more to see. Including global launches of bespoke cars; modern offerings from Ferrari, Rolls Royce, Lamborghini, McLaren and Porsche; a celebration of the E Type in it's 60th year with the fabulous work of Eagle alongside an original low drag coupe, and a diverse range of classic cars from dealer stands. This was all topped off by the cute offerings from the Little Car Company, a ¼ scale fully electric Aston Martin DB5 and Bugatti Type 35.

If you got tired of all the automotive offerings, you could always book yourself your next private jet flight, buy a helicopter or speed boat, or perhaps just a new panama hat!
It's a relatively compact area, so while you are not likely to make your daily step count, there is still a lot to see and do. You can even pull up a chair in and around the pavilion and have a pleasant glass of champagne or rosé.

Overall, it was a magnificent day out, even the weather behaved itself this year. I would highly recommend it for so many reasons, and I look forward to returning next year with clients, colleagues and friends.