Arts and Elegance 2016: Savoir Vivre with Classic Cars

A classic car event like Chantilly Arts & Elegance is not just content with presenting historical vehicles. Peter Auto, the organizer, wants to use the show to convey the essence of French savoir vivre, hence its choice of a fairy-tale venue north of Paris, complete with palace and extensive grounds. On September 4, 2016, visitors to Chateau Chantilly will see hot-air balloons in the sky, historical steam boats on the lakes and ponds, thoroughbred horses galloping over the meadows, plus culinary treats, art and fashion.

It’s the perfect day out for classic car fans bringing families in tow, with exciting activities for all ages and interests. Visitors might suspect from the dress code and from the majestic surrounds that Chantilly Arts & Elegance is one of the more exclusive classic car events. However, the size alone – with 850 cars registered and 13,500 tickets on sale – would suggest otherwise.

Appreciation of key players in the classic car scene

With the “Grand Prix des Club 2016” competition, Peter Auto is emphasizing that the event may be chic, but it isn’t elitist. The prizes go to particularly active classic car clubs – the organizations that ensure that the heritage car scene is not just for the rich. Regardless of the size of their wallets, club members help each other, sharing great expertise and great camaraderie. The previous prize winners were the clubs dedicated to once great French marques Delage and Delahaye. Could a club without a French connection possibly win this year?

Automotive beauties of yesterday and today

The name could be confusing, but the Concours d’Elegance at Chantilly Arts & Elegance is dedicated to modern prototypes rather than old classics. Given that 2016 marks only its third year, the list of cars that has participated in the Concours to date is impressive. Industry heavyweights BMW and Citroen, for example, have presented a number of exclusive studies in past years.

Classic car concours with a French touch

At Chantilly, classic cars compete in the “Concours d’Etat”. According to the organizers, this is the competition for the most beautiful cars owned by collectors from all over the world. Cars can compete in an incredible 21 different categories, from steam-powered vehicles, to recent race cars. Peter Auto has already announced a long list of top class vehicles that will be taking part. Among the most notable French models on show this year will be the racers in the Bugatti GP 1925-1934 category. The “Formula 1 cars with front engines” category will include another icon of French motorsports: a 1946 Gordini Type 11.

Cars in the category dedicated to the legendary Tour de France car race include a Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione “Tour de France” and a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL “Sportabteilung” Gullwing – the rare racing version of which only four units were built. Other participants in this category include an OSCA MT4 1500, a Porsche 356 B Carrera Abarth GTL and a British saloon, the Jaguar MK II Tour de France.

Away from the track, the French art of car making is celebrated in the classes devoted to France’s coachwork specialists. Only Italy could boast a similar number and quality of expert firms capable of putting exclusive bodies on the top manufacturers’ chassis. We expect to see creations made by the likes of Figoni, Saoutchik, Letourneur & Marchand, Franay and Chapron.

British and Italian car heritage

The Concours also takes a look over the English Channel, showing classic British brands in several categories. Fans of marques such as Frazer Nash, Jensen, Sunbeam, Bristol, Alvis, Railton and Invicta will find much to admire – open-top and closed, pre-war and post-war.

The Concours will also include a similarly comprehensive selection of cars from the Zagato bodyworks, including an OM 665 from 1927, as well as Lancias and Alfa Romeos from before the War. Post-war Zagatos will include models by Fiat, Fiat Abarth, Lancia, Aston Martin and OSCA, the firm started by the Maserati brothers.

The unusual and the inevitable

One particularly interesting and unusual Concours category is the one for cars with bodies made from unconventional materials. Aluminum and carbon may be the trendy materials today, but Chantilly will be showing cars made from cloth, wicker and wood. Inevitably for a classic car event in 2016, there will also be a celebration of the Miura’s 50th birthday. The three models registered so far include a prototype from 1966.

Bonhams auction on the evening before

On the evening before the main event, Bonhams will be holding a classic car auction at Chateau Chantilly. No dress code has been announced for the 2016 sale, unlike last year, when further excitement was provided by a 1972 Maserati Boomerang Coupé. The futuristic study by Giugiaro changed hands for more than EUR 3.3 million. The highest prices this year could well come from some imposing pre-war vehicles from Germany.

Chantilly Mercedes-Benz 500K

First and foremost, there is a 1935 Mercedes-Benz 500K carrying an estimate of between EUR 5 and 7 million. The car was first shown at the 1935 Berlin Motor Show where, as one of the few models with a roadster body, it underlined the manufacturer’s sporting ambitions and aspirations to exclusivity. Bonhams is also offering some interesting Horch Cabriolets: a 1938 853A Sports Cabriolet (estimate of EUR 700,000 – 900,000), a 1937 853 Special Roadster (EUR 1.1 – 1.4 million) and a 1934 B Cabriolet (EUR 600,000 – 900,000). For more information on the lots being offered at the Bonhams Classic Car Auction, please visit the auction house’s website.

Car pic courtesy of Bonhams, Header visual by Julien Mahiels. 

Chantilly Arts & Elegance 2016

September 4, 2016: 09:30 – 18:30

Chateau de Chantilly
Domaine de Chantilly
60500 Chantilly

France

Website of Arts & Elegance

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