Xenia Hispano dazzles at Windsor Concours

| 15 Sep 2016

The sensational 1938 Hispano-Suiza Xenia won the spectacular Pullman Trophy at the Concours of Elegance staged in Windsor Castle from 2-4 September. Unlike other prestigious concours events, this ‘best of show’  award is chosen by the entrants rather than a jury. 

The streamlined pre-war sensation had been shipped from the Mullin Collection in Oxnard, California, and upstaged an impressive group of coachbuilt wonders and a superb set of Ferraris including a 250GTO. 

Designed by André Dubonnet who wanted a more modern body for his H6B chassis, this unique Hispano was christened after his wife. Novel features include a panoramic windscreen and special Hyperflex suspension. The Xenia was hidden away during WW2 but reappeared in 1946 for the reopening of the Saint Cloud Tunnel in Paris.

The final count saw another pre-war streamliner, the 1932 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Viotti Coupé of Arturo Keller, a close second. The rebodied 1932 Le Mans chassis was also making a rare trip to Europe from California. During the late ‘30s, this Viotti coupé was taken to Somaliland by an Italian Facist official, where it was later discovered by Major Owens. After surviving an elephant charge while in storage, the Alfa spent many years in Guy Griffith collection in the Cotswolds. The Alfa won the public vote. 

The second staging of the Concours d’Elegance in the famous Windsor Castle Quadrangle attracted a diverse group of  amazing cars ranging from 1895 Benz Velo to Simon Kidston’s early Lamborghini Countach LP400. This ‘Periscopica’ was first ordered by Gianfranco Innocenti to replace his Miura, but as the Italian restorers recently discovered, the factory gave him a previous customer’s order with a quick red repaint over the green. Kidston has returned it to the bold original green. 

Other impressive paint schemes were the ex-George Harrison 1966 Radford Mini. The Beatles’ lead guitarist had his Mini hand painted, but in later years when gifted to Eric Clapton, the novel artwork was lost. Few detail photos exist but by freeze-framing the Mini’s appearance in the Magical Mystery Tour, the restorers were able to recreate the pop art details.

The Windsor concours saw 12,500 visitors and raised over £200,000 for charity. Outside the Quadrangle, over a 1000 classics lined the spectacular Long Walk including 90 Jaguars.  

Photos: Mick Walsh/Tim Scott