1927 Mercedes-Benz Boat Tail claims Concours of Elegance victory

Bespoke and recently restored 1927 Mercedes-Benz S – once owned by the legendary Earl Howe – has won best in show at Concours of Elegance

Nearly 13,000 attendees flocked to the gardens of Hampton Court Palace over the weekend for the most successful Concours of Elegance yet. For the first time, awards were given by decade, with a fresh factory-restored Lamborghini Miura P400S claiming victory in the post-1970s category and the ex-Sir Stirling Moss Maserati 300S winning the 1950s class.

However, the coveted Best in Show was awarded to a one-off 1927 Mercedes-Benz S-Type Barker ‘Boat Tail’, as voted for by the owners of the main concours cars. Based on the Mercedes S-Type and originally owned by racing enthusiast and British Racing Drivers’ Club co-founder Earl Howe, this was one of the fastest automobiles of its time.

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Developed as the perfect road-going, race-capable automobile, the Boat Tail was fitted with a revolutionary body that incorporated a lightweight and aerodynamic shell with unique aircraft-inspired aluminium side pods crafted by English coachbuilder Barker.

However, over time the majority of Earl Howe’s unique specifications were lost, until a recent sympathetic restoration brought the vehicle back to life.

A further significant award was given by the Royal Automobile Club to Katie Forrest in recognition of her passion and flair for taking part in the Concours with her 1912 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Taj Mahal, also known as ‘Nellie’. Forrest walked away with the Spirit of Motoring award.

Honourable mentions from more than 60 rare cars parked up and vying for awards in Hampton’s Fountain Gardens included the Porsche 917K driven by Steve McQueen during filming of Le Mans and the last four-cylinder Ferrari ever built in the factory; the 500 TRC.

Outside of the main Concours of Elegance vehicles were nearly 1000 other models parked at Hampton Court Palace for the weekend, including the one-off Rolls-Royce Sweptail, Aston Martin V12 Vantage V600 and McLaren Senna #001.

Also on site was Harry’s Garage, displaying the world’s fastest supersaloons: the Lancia Thema 8.32, Aston Martin Rapide AMR and Jaguar XE SV PROJECT 8.

Nearly 80 historic Jaguars were on display on the Saturday, and more than 60 Bentleys arrived in the garden for the Sunday, ranging from pre-war Grand Prix cars to some of Bentley’s latest Continental models.

As ever with the Concours of Elegance, a substantial amount of money was raised for the event’s chosen charities. This year’s foundation was the Springfield Youth Club Hackney and the College of St. George. 2018’s charity auction was sponsored by Ferrari Financial Services.

The full list of awards:

  • Best in Show – Mercedes-Benz S-Type Barker ‘Boat Tail’
  • Pre-1920s – Isotta Fraschini Tipo A FENG
  • 1930s – Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Short-Chassis Spider
  • 1940s/’50s – Maserati 300s
  • 1960s – Porsche 917K
  • 1970-onwards: Lamborghini Miura

  • The RAC Club Trophy – Alvis Speed 25 Drophead Coupe
  • The RAC Spirit of Motoring – Katie Forrest and her 1912 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost
  • The Jaguar Trophy – Jaguar XK120
  • The Bentley Trophy (pre-1965) – Bentley S2 Saloon
  • The Bentley Trophy (post-1965) – Bentley Continental T
  • Bridge of Weir British Legends – Morgan 4/4
  • Future Classics – Rolls-Royce Sweptail

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