Concours of Elegance at Hampton Court Palace

As we in Britain draw into the winter months, seeing a plummet of the temperature,  (and seemingly the state of the world thanks to something that shall remain unnamed, for fear of over using such terms as ‘social distance’, ‘quarantine’ and the new sassy slogan ‘hands, face, space’ which sounds like the name of a terrible boy band). We must also turn to another great British tradition and don the rose-tinted spectacles.


This year of 2020 has seen a severe lack of car shows and events in general (take the loss of the OhSoRetro show for example). A few shows however have been able to go ahead, albeit at a reduced capacity and with socially responsible rules in place.

One of my personal favourites has to have been the Concours of Elegance, held at Hampton Court Palace over a long weekend from the 3rd to the 5th September.


This was also the show that Aston Martin decided to preview the new Victor which is a delicious 836bhp blend of technology from the Vulcan, One-77, and Valkyrie whilst taking styling cues from the 1980s Vantage muscle car. This car was so new the paint had barely dried before the punters were let loose around its muscular hunches.


The drive to the palace was also a delight (not something you can usually say driving round London) with a plethora of classics and shouty supercars also making their way to the old house of Henry VIII, parking on what I can only assume counted as his front lawn.


After making your way up old Henry’s driveway past the impeccably dressed guards and staff (that were very pleasant it must be said), you entered the courtyard where ‘Gooding and Company’ were presenting their ‘Passion of a Lifetime’ auction with some cars that felt very at home in the Tudor surroundings. One car which previous owner includes an F1 driver and even a Belgian king, broke a record for the most expensive Bugatti sold at auction, going for a monumental £9.5 Million.


Walking round the event in the glorious sunshine, surrounded by some of the most powerful, influential, expensive and rare cars was a real treat and the atmosphere couldn’t have felt more inclusive with owners more than happy to open the bonnets and even let punters have a seat in their pride and joy.


This event now stays firmly in my calendar as a photographer and enthusiast. Getting the chance to get up close and personal with some of the most highly regarded metal made, with plenty to do and see from the timetable of events makes this show one of the highlights of 2020.

Words and photos: Matt Hardwick – @sfjcreative

For more information: www.

Here’s a little gallery to see you through the rainy months:



OhSoRetro Events