Bespoke Automotive Rarities in the Spotlight for London Concours 2023
The London Concours, presented by Montres Breguet, is delighted to announce that 2023’s show – now under two weeks away – will feature a breath-taking selection of bespoke automotive creations. The carefully curated selection will encompass almost 100 years of coachbuilding, celebrating the wild and wonderful creations that have emerged from some of the world’s most storied styling houses over the decades. The event, which will run from the 6th-8th June at the Honourable Artillery Company in the heart of the City, offers a rare opportunity to view these exceptionally rare motor cars at the capital’s ultimate automotive garden party.
At the centre of the display will be a majestic 1929 Rolls-Royce 20/25 ‘Boat Tail’. Termed the Boat Tail, because of its sweeping, carefully sculpted rear bodywork – reminiscent of the stern of an elegant wooden power boat – this machine was based on the imperious Rolls-Royce Phantom 20/25 chassis. Powered by a silken 3.7 litre straight-six engine, the Boat Tail body was commissioned by a wealthy American customer, and created by a coachbuilder in Girona, Spain. The car that will be on display has recently been treated to a body-off restoration taking some four years, and now presents in sensational condition – even featuring an electric picnic basket compartment located within the teak boot area!
The category will also feature a very special Austin-Healey 3000 MK2 from 1961 turned into a sleek, aerodynamic coupe by British outfit WSM. The body was commissioned when the 3000 MK2 was 3 years old, to replace the existing open-top body after it had sustained damage when racing at Silverstone. The metalwork was designed by Douglas Wilson-Spratt at Delta Garages and produced by Robert Peel Sheet Metal Works in Kingston, west London. While the results were stunning, adding the lightweight, slippery GT body to the Healey came at a significant cost, £1,476 to be precise, an eye watering sum at a time when a new Jaguar E-Type Coupe was priced at just over £2,000. This was the only WSM Healey built, and June’s show will be the first time it’s appeared in public since the 1970s.
The line-up will include a one-of-a-kind beach buggy – the 1970 Matra Buggy by Bertone. Introduced at the 1970 Paris Motor Show, as beach buggy interest was sweeping across the Europe, the Matra was styled by legendary designer Marcello Gandini working at Bertone. Gandini, the man responsible for the Lamborghini Miura and Countach, delivered a predictably futuristic take on the buggy format with the Matra. It was based on the mechanicals of the Simca 1200S Coupe – also Bertone styled – and powered by a 1200cc four-cylinder motor. The vehicle that will be on show in London is the very show car from Paris, a one-off example that may well be the ultimate summer machine.
June’s show will also feature a special, very stylish coachbuilt Peugeot Shooting Break, the Peugeot 504 Break Riviera. This sleek machine, designed by Pininfarina was based on the 504 coupe, made its debut at the 1971 Geneva Auto Show. It was conceived by Peugeot as a stylish, rakish alternative to the existing 504 estate, however it was unfortunately deemed by the top brass at Peugeot to be too expensive for production, and the project was canned. With only one original protype known in existence, this striking vehicle has been carefully restored, and, after years out of the spotlight, it is ready to reclaim the limelight.
Guests will also have the chance to examine an ultra-rare Japanese-Italian creation: the Zagato-built Autech Gavia. The Gavia was a joint venture between Nissan’s in-house tuning company Autech, and Italian design house Zagato – known for its eye-catchingly avant-garde designs. The car that will be on show this June was built in 1995, and features a 3.0-litre twin-turbo V6 motor, sourced from the Nissan 300ZX, sending 276bhp – or perhaps a touch more – to the wheels via a 4-speed automatic ‘box. Nissan’s trusted mechanicals were cloaked in a purposeful looking aluminium Zagato body, with striking, single piece, spokeless wheel covers contributing further to the futuristic look.
Another Zagato designed coach built rarity, the Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato, will also join the line-up. Unveiled to great acclaim at Villa d’Este in May 2016, the all-carbon bodied, 6.0-litre V12 Vanquish Zagato was the then latest creation from the long-standing partnership with the Italian design-house, Zagato. Just 99 cars built were built at Aston Martin’s production facility in Gaydon, and only 32 for the UK RHD market. With its V12 tuned to produce 595bhp, the Vanquish Zagato was capable of hitting 0-60mph time of 3.5sec. One of the most elegant modern Astons, the Vanquish Zagato incorporates many of the design houses signature styling cues such as the ‘double bubble’ roof. A certain future classic, and another bespoke machine not to be missed.
These Bespoke automotive rarities and many more will star alongside the Concours’ other hotly anticipated, carefully curated classes, including Golden Age Coupes, Built To Race For The Road, Evolution of Aero and Grand Tourisme. Further class announcements set to follow in the next couple of weeks, as we build towards the 7th edition of this unmissable event.