Wilton House Supercars and Classics Day – August 2014

From rather tentative beginnings 7 years ago, the Wilton House Supercar Day has become a major and unmissable event on the calendar of anyone who likes to see a vast array of super- and hypercars. Masterminded by Lord Pembroke, the event takes place at Wilton House, in the small Wiltshire town of Wilton, just north of Salisbury, and attracts a vast crowd of both drivers and spectators from far and wide. I’ve been for the last couple of years and really enjoyed it, so knew to give it the highest priorities on the calendar, and then a couple of weeks ago while at the nearby “Classics at the Castle” event, I got talking to one of the organisers who told me about the plans that they had for the 2014 event, with a series of what he called “head to head” displays., where a modern supercar would be displayed alongside a historic antecedent. He also said that they hoped to have a McLaren P1 and a couple of F1s, a LaFerrari and up to 15 Jaguar XJ220s quite apart from the usual array of amazing machinery. Imagine my disappointment when, as the event drew near, the weather forecasters could only talk of torrential rain and gales, the last remnants of Hurricane Bertha blowing in from across the Atlantic. Although I can wrap up well, supercar drivers tend to be somewhat less keen to bring their cars out in such foul conditions. And foul they certainly were on Sunday morning, with lashing rain making me feel somewhat apprehensive about whether the trip was going to be worthwhile. I need not have worried, as no sooner had I arrived at Wilton than it abated, and the umbrella was only needed for a couple of brief periods during the day, and the sun soon broke through resulting in a lovely (if windy) day, the ground was surprisingly firm underfoot and there was pretty much a full complement of cars, with the notable exception of the LaFerrari. What looked so unpromising at 9am, turned out to be an excellent day indeed, with so much to see as these pictures evidence. As in previous years, there were a lot of cars already parked up on the lawn, ready for when the gates opened at 9am, and then a convoy of 170 supercars arrived, deliberately noisily, at noon, and once these were all parked up in neat lines to one side of the house, these were also available for close inspection. Elsewhere in the grounds were a number of dealer displays, and gatherings of Car Club vehicles. Historic rally cars were in action on a course going up the nearby slopes, and there were plenty of trade and catering stands to keep everyone more than occupied for a whole day.



Parked up to one side of the rest of the “Head to Head” pairings were a couple of Abarths: a classic 595 from the 1960s was matched with a current 500 model. With such an array of expensive and rare metal on display across the site, you might think that these cars would be almost unnoticed, but that was very far from the case, with plenty of people paying them as much attention as the far more valuable cars nearby.

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One of my favourite cars of the day was this, a very rare Abarth Allemano 2200 Convertible. I’ve seen this particular car before, but not for quite a while, at which point it was up for sale, so I had wondered if had perhaps left the country, but here it was, looking very elegant, and pretty guaranteed to stump most people who would not know what it was. A small number of these models were made, in Coupe and Cabriolet guise between 1959 and 1962.

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An Abarth that is for sale is this, from the famous Maranello Rosso collection, which seems to be disposing of rather a lot of cars in the coming weeks, this is a 1967 Abarth-Simca 1300 OT Periscopo.

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Someone with a sense of humour at local dealer Meridien Milano had produced this livery for the Abarth.

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This was a very nice example of the Ace, the open topped sports car that begat the Cobra.

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A number of Cobra replicas were in the supercar display.

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The link here was 8C, with the recent 8C Competizione model paired with another of my real favourites, a 1932 8C 2300 with Touring Brianza body. What a duo. The more recent car remains a real head turner, and when the engine is fired, it makes an amazing noise indeed.

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Whilst a One-77 would have been nice to see, the “Head to Head” here comprised the latest Vanquish Volante and the lovely DB4.

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There was a lovely 1934 short wheelbase Le Mans on show on the lawn.

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A local Aston dealer had a very comprehensive array of the latest models on show, including the V12 Vantage S in Coupe and Volante guises.

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Yet more Aston were to be found in the supercar display, including an N430 V8 Vantage

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Several R8 models were to be found in the supercar display

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Possibly the cutest car of the entire event, was this fabulous little Autobianchi Giardinetta. Everyone I heard talking about it just loved it, and so do I. There are a couple of these for sale in the UK at present, and given its tiny dimensions, it would fit in my garage – awfully tempting!

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The latest Continental met its 1930s Blower equivalent, the 1932 4.5 litre Supercharged,  in the “Head to Head” display.

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Despite what you might think, this is NOT the famous 1938 Embiricos Bentley. That car is a one off, and it is not currently resident in the UK. What this is, though, is a pretty accurate recreation of that car. This one took eight years to build, and the result was first shown in 2009. Argue as much as you like about whether projects such as this should be condoned, but if it gives you the chance to see such an elegant car, I think it is perfectly acceptable.

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There were plenty of other Bentley models in the display, with an early 1948 Mark VI Saloon joined by an S Type Continental.

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The latest Bentley production cars were on show thanks to a local dealer. You have been spared the Continental GT in a sort of pinky magenta colour, as there were too many people around it to get a photograph! Content yourselves with the more restrained Mulsanne instead!

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A number more Bentley models were in the supercar display


BMW’s new 3 cylinder supercar is certainly an attention grabber, and this car, matched up with the fabulous M1 from the late 1970s, was generating lots of interest.

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These are not the first high end low volume sports cars that BMW has made, as they produced the fabulous 507 in the late 1950s. Very expensive when new, this car sold in small quantities, with only around 300 made.

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The 328 of the late 1930s was not perhaps a “supercar”, but it was certainly an impressive and rapid sports car, well respected even today for what it can do.

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The supercar display included an E92 models M3 and another example of the i8.

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I’ll confess, that without a badge on the grille, I would probably have labelled this a Lancia. But it is not,. It is one of a very small number of Bristols made in the late 1940s and early 1950s with coachbuilt bodies. Farina did this one in 1949, and it is based on the familiar 401, and as he did also style many Lancia of the period, I think my erroneous guess as to the identity is permissable. Like all Bristols, there is an element of uncertainty as to how many were made. There could have been as many as a dozen, though only 4 are known to have a chassis number from within the series used for the regular 401 models

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This Bristol Fighter, one of who knows how many, or how few such cars produced is certainly striking, and if the maker is to be believed, qualifies as a hypercar on the basis of its claimed performance, even if the build quality and interior design is a bit, erm, lacking.

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Clearly any “Head to Head” involving a modern supercar is going to include a Veyron, and indeed that was one of the cars. But which of the fabulous models from Bugatti’s pre-war history do you pair it with? Rather than a Type 57, or perhaps a 59 or a 35,. the organisers managed to source something far more unusual, a 1930 Type 46, with a particularly rare Superprofile body style.  Just stunning!

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There was a second Veyron present, that of Lord Pembroke himself. The wrap duly removed, the very dark navy paintwork glistened in the sun, though we did notice on close inspection that the centre caps of at least of one of the wheels show that even when you pay over £1 million for a car, not everything lasts that long, as they were decidedly rough looking.

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A classic Type 43 Grand Sport from 1928 was on show on the lawn.

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Also there was an EB110 GT. You don’t see these cars very often, though I did notice a Prescott Members sticker in the windscreen of this one, so perhaps it does visit the Gloucestershire venue from time to time.

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This first series Corvette was parked up among the display cars. It was attracting lots of interest, but you could not help feel that it all seemed rather brash compared to what was around it.

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This Pantera GTS was in the supercar display. Much to my chagrin, I did not get photos of the earlier model that was on show on the lawns.

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With so many legendary Ferrari models produced over the last few decades, it was never going to be possible to limit the “Head to Head” display to just a duo of cars, so there were two pairings and a trio of cars in this part of the display. And what cars they were: an F12 Berlinetta was matched with a 275 GTB, an F40 was paired up with the legendary 250 GT SWB and the trio of cars comprised the three GTO models that Ferrari has made: 250GTO from the 1960s, the 288 GTO from the mid 1980s and the 599GTO from more recent times.

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There were some very lovely classic Ferrari in the display on the lawn, too. Here you could find another SWB 250 GT. I was amazed to hear more than one person tell their friends that this was a GTO, as it looks very different.

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At least as valuable as the SWB was this 250 GT California. These breached the £1 million a long time ago, and it’s not hard to see why, as it looks terrific.

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Two less valuable, but just as nice, cars from the 1960s were on show nearby: a 250 GT Lusso and the later 330 GTC.

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I was not alone in appreciating this 365 GTB Daytona, one of the early “plexiglass” cars, as I heard plenty of other people express covetous thoughts as well.

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Reminder of Ferrari’s racing heritage came from this, a 1957 Ferrari 500 TRC Scaglietti Spyder

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Bonhams, the globally renowned auction house, had brought along three Ferraris from the Maranello Rosso collection which they will be auctioning in the coming weeks. These comprised and F40, a racing version of the Daytona and  a 330 GTC.

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This 599 GTB was parked up in the area reserved for the high end hypercars. Although I am a big fan of this model, this particular example struck me as a bit gauche.

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More to my taste was the new F12 Berlinetta which was with with it.

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Sole Enzo present at the event was this black one. I am not convinced that this is the right colour for the car, but it is still a striking design and a real crowd puller, even with the competition of what was parked up around it.

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Parked near it was another example of the F40.

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In the main supercar display area, there were a large number of Ferrari models, mainly more recent cars, with lots of 458 Italia and Spider, including a Speciale, a couple of Californias, plenty of 360 Modena and F430 cars, and at least four examples of the  599 GTB.

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With Ford, there really only are two supercar models in the marque’s history: the GT40 of 1966 and the modern recreation, the GT. For added interest, the latter was shown in the one-off Spider version,. a decision that may have been regretted given its rather primitive looking roof and the inclement weather. There was a Spider version of the original Ford GT40, so perhaps it is not a surprise that  Spider version of the recreation, called GTX1, was shown at the SEMA show in 2005. This car, which I saw a couple of weeks prior, at the Silverstone Classic, appears to be a modification of that GTX1 and made in the UK. Further intrigue comes from the fact that it is actually a red car that’s been wrapped in yellow. I have to say that the panel gaps on the car, such as around the fit of the engine cover, were little short of awful, too! You would have thought that modern design and production methods would have ensured that this one looked tighter than its forbear, but that was not the case.

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There was another GT40 in the main supercar display area along with the more recent GT.

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Definitely one of the rarer machines of the day was this, a Gumpert Apollo. It is also fair to say that this is unlikely ever to win prizes for beauty. But that;’s not the point!

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An example of the Low Chassis S Type, a British sports car of the mid 1930s.

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E Type meets F Type in the “head to Head”. Both of them are stunning looking cars, and the new car is real proof that Jaguar is on a roll at present.

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There were a couple more examples of the E Type on the lawn in the extended display area.

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When Jaguar designed the XJ13 in the mid 1960s, it was with racing in mind. The rules changed, and the car never took to the track, which meant that it remained a fabulous looking car that never achieved its potential. It was so admired by so many people that in the following years, a number of firms built replicas, some to higher quality standards than others, some at least with a Jaguar engine. This is one such Jaguar V12 powered car, as opposed to the quad cams of the original.

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We had been promised at least a dozen, and a target of 15 examples of the XJ220. Sadly, there were not quite that many present, but a quartet of this dramatic machine were grouped together in a little display all of their own, and a striking sight they made, too.

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This XK140 arrived mid morning, and ended up parked up on one side of the lawn, unclear whether it was a supposed to be there or not. Nice, all the same.

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Ian Cook, the artist known for producing paintings using model cars to spread the colour around had a display area which was fronted by a couple of examples of the new F Type Coupe.

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In the supercar display I found this, the only red XKRS-GT that was produced. I know this as I talked to the owner earlier in the year, and he advised that he persuaded Jaguar – eventually – to deviate from the plan to make all the cars white. 10 were available for the UK market, but Jaguar key three for themselves, so there are only 7 in private ownership. A rare beast, therefore.

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This XJ220S was in the hypercar area. I have seen it before, and recall just how loud it is, compared to a standard car. I was quite a away from it when the owner fired it up, ready to depart, but even from that distance, you could still tell it was something e extra special.

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This intriguing K1 Attack was present once again.

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The M45 Lagonda models were luxury tourers of the mid 1930s and this was a nice example of the model, also parked up on the side of the lawn, as it arrived just a few minutes before the Jaguar XK140.

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Bright green paintwork linked the two Lamborghinis together, with a brand new Huracan, one of the first in the country, displayed alongside the still stunning Miura S.

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Elsewhere on the display lawn was a Urraco, the cheaper Lamborghini that was made in the 1970s as a rival to the Ferrari Dino 308 GT4 and Maserati’s Merak.

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This Murcielago SV was parked up in the hypercar area, and very imposing, and not a bit menacing it looked, too.

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The middle of the area contained a Countach 5000S and a Diablo. Late in the day, the roped off area became less off limit, so we were able to get a bit closer to both cars.

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Also in this area were an Aventador Coupe and a Spider. When the owner of the Spider model fired it up, ready to depart, even without letting it idle for long, we could quickly feel the heat that was being expelled from the back of the car from quite a few feet away. Needless to say, the noise it made, especially with a bit of pressure on the accelerator pedal was really rather agreeable, and not exactly quiet.

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I don’t think there were quite as many Lamborghini in the main supercar display as in previous years, but there were still a good number of Gallardo, Murcielago, Aventador and a Diablo VT. Examples of the first two of these vied for the winner of the “Rev Off”, with a black Gallardo ultimately being declared the winner, generating 130 Decibels when pushed hard.

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A variety of classic Lancia models were on show on the lawn. They ranged from the familiar Delta Integrale, though the well known but less commonly seen Aurelia GT Coupe and the earlier Aprillia to an example of the Zagato bodied Flaminia Coupe Super Sport.
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Also present was a nice road going Stratos. I believe this was an original rather one of the many (admittedly nicely done) replicas that are out there.

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At last year’s event, 100 Aston Martins were assembled to celebrate the marque’s centenary, and the plan was to repeat this, but for Maserati this year, with a whole area of the site reserved for cars bearing the Trident marque. I don’t think there were quite 100 models present in the end, but there were some lovely cars on show, evidence of the glorious machines which come from this Modenese marque over the years. Highlight for most would be to see an MC12, and this car was set to one side, behind a roped off area, so everyone could enjoy it.

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Oldest models on show were a pair of 3500 GT models, both of them in lovely Convertible form. Although one of these would not be cheap to buy, in absolute terms, compared to some of the other cars on show (Ferraris of the same era), they seem somewhat undervalued.

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One of the rarest of Maserati cars was this fabulous Mistral Convertible. Very few of these were made, and you don’t see them very often which is a pity, as it is a lovely looking car.

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The same is true of this, the first Maserati to bear the Ghibli name.

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I also have a soft spot for the four seater stablemate, the Indy.

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From the Citroen era were three equally fabulous models, a Merak, a Bora and a Khamsin.

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A Citroen SM was a slightly cheeky interloper in the display, but did not look out of place at all.

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In 1982, Maserati replaced all their range with the new Biturbo, and over the following 17 years, a bewildering array of different models were offered. Initially, the two door coupe body style was the only one offered, but the range was augmented by a four door saloon and a convertible, and the engines were updated, resulting in all sorts of different names for the cars. In later years the body styling was changed to produce the car known as Ghibli, or sometimes Ghibli 2, and with V8 power under the bonnet the highly desirable Shamal.

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A fourth generation Quattroporte joined the range in the mid 1990s and this was styled very much in the same idiom as the Biturbo cars.

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A completely new style was adopted when the 3200 arrived, and this car, along with the later 4200 and Spider models put Maserati very firmly back in their place as a maker of highly desirable and exclusive sports GT machines.

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The fifth generation Quattroporte has to be one of the best looking saloons ever produced, and after a couple of years with a rather recalcitrant automatic transmissions, I understand that later cars were as good to drive as they were to look at.

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There were several of the current GranTurismo and GranCabrio cars on show, too, along with the latest Ghibli saloon.

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To complete the centenary display, there were examples of the current range, with Ghibli, latest Quattroporte and GranTurismo all on show, and open for inspection.

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This is a one-off. Based on the first generation Quattroporte, it has a unique body styled by Frua and very elegant it looks, too.

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The main supercar display contained a good number more cars, mostly GranTurismo and GranCabrio models.

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No surprises for guessing the “Head to Head” here, or for the fact that this duo had larger crowds around them than anything else, all day. Even at 5pm, when almost all the visitors had gone, there were still loads of people wanting a close up view of both these cars: the legendary F1 and the brand new P1. Fabulous achievement though the new model is, you could hardly say that it is a thing of beauty, whereas the F1, to my mind, looks stunning, as well as all its other attributes.

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There was another F1 present, too. The only example of the 64 cars that were built that is finished in red, this F1 is chassis number 028, originally built for Michael Andretti as part of his contracted compensation package for his abbreviated stint with the McLaren Formula One team in 1993. 028 was the fourth road car completed in 1995 and Andretti took delivery but could not bring the car home to the USA due to strict importation laws. He kept the car in the UK for approximately one year, but then storage and insurance costs encouraged him to sell. The car went to a Japanese buyer, where it stayed until 2003. Then it was purchased by an American, the methods to import an F1 to the US having been resolved a few years prior, and so it spent some time near San Francisco. That owner kept the car until late 2005 when it was sold to a buyer closer to Newport Beach. It stayed with him for just a couple of years before joining the collection of its previous owner, who was the man who owns the McLaren Automotive franchise near San Francisco. The car recently returned to the UK when DK Engineering managed to persuade the US owner to part with it, and fulfilled the dream of a UK enthusiast who had asked them to try to find a car for him. With so few made, and the fact that the F1 comes up for sale so infrequently, it is no surprise that prices have rocketed and it is believed that the proud new owner paid around £6 million for the car, a record for a modern supercar, and 6 times the value of a Veyron. It was one of three vehicles on the day to win an award, and who can blame the judges for picking it out? It is a simply amazing machine.

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McLaren are big supporters of this event, and they had three factory cars on show right by one of the entrances. These comprised the latest 650S in Coupe and Spider guises, as well as the concept 650S MSO. Like everyone else, I can’t help but feel that the visual changes that came in with the 650S are a real improvement, and by all accounts, the car is better to drive than ever before, too.

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There were plenty of other 650S and the preceding 12C models in the main supercar display.

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Raised up on a daias, so everyone could get a good view were the two special Mercedes models, the 300SL GullWing of the 1950s facing the recently out of production SLS AMG Black Series. What a pairing.

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A nice example of the TD, MG’s sports car from the early 1950s was on show on the lawn.

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The supercar area contained an example of the ill-fated MG SV, MG;s rebodied de Tomaso that came to fruition just months before the demise of MG-Rover. It’s a very striking sight even now, though opinions vary as to how good the car actually is!

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The latest Plus 8, with its wider body was in the supercar display.

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This was a very nice 240Z, on show on the lawn.

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Several of the current GT-R models were in the supercar display, including “Godzilla”, David Yu’s car.

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There were 2 of the M600 cars present. Mystery still surrounds just how many, or more likely, how few of these have ever been made. Supposedly a very good car, it has to fight for a buyer’s attention and money with an array of cars from better known names such as Ferrari, Lamborghini and McLaren.

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This Zonda S was one of the very first cars that I saw when I arrived at the event. The bright blue paintwork really suits it, and I think the car looked stunning (a word that I have used rather a lot in this report, I know!). It sounded pretty amazing, too, as I happened to be right by it when the owner arrived, got in, and fired it up.

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Most special Porsche of the day has to be the 959, technological tour de force of the 1980s, with its four wheel drive system and turbo engines. Very different from the 288 GTO that was an exact contemporary, but in many ways just as beguiling.

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That era was the heyday of the long-successful 956 and 962.

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A couple of the legendary 911 RS models were also on the lawn.

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There were plenty of high end 911 models in the main supercar display area, including at least one 991 based GT3 car, so it would seem that some of these are indeed now back in their owner’s hands after the well publicised engine problems of early in the year.

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This Coventry based marque built a bewildering array of different models in the 1930s, a fact which contributed to the need to sell out to the Nuffield empire in 1938. This is typical of the genre, a 1933 9hp Sports Special, an open tourer with sporting pretensions.

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The very latest Wraith was on show. I was not entirely sold on the looks of this car when it first appeared, but when seen outdoors, as opposed to on a show stand, and depending on the colour scheme chosen, I now think it looks really rather good, and certainly very imposing in the best Royce tradition.

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This mid 1920s Phantom looks even more splendid, though. This is one of the Springfield, US built cars.

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This is one of the ex-works TR4 models (and not a TR6 as I heard some confidently assert!).

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A couple of these Chevrolet engined cars were in the supercar display.

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On the other side of the stream that runs through the grounds were a number of Car Club display areas and a reserved car parking area. Slightly further away, was the PistonHeads parking, which I never managed to get to, sadly. In previous years there has been plenty of interest in that.


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An interesting array of Astons ranged from a DB2 through several of the William Towns designed V8 cars of the 1970s, the Virage based Vantage of the early 1990s, a number of DB7s and several of the current range.

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A number of Audis were in the reserved parking area including the latest S3 Saloon, a B8 model RS4 Avant, and an R8

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Ferrari models in the reserved parking area included a brand new 458 Spider and a 550 Maranello

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This Diablo SV was on a trade stand.

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This Italian plated Huracan was on the Evo magazine stand. As it had been seen in Clifton the day before, and Evo’s recently appointed Road Tester, Dan Prosser, lives there, I am guessing he was the lucky boy who got to drive to the venue. At least Evo were handing out free copies of the magazine to anyone who wandered by (thank you!).

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This Fulvia HF Coupe is the same car as was at the recent “Classics at the Castle”.

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The Lotus Car Club had groupings of Esprit, and front wheel drive Elans.

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A row of Morgans included the popular Plus 8, the 4 seater 4/4 and one of the controversial at launch Aero 8 cars, as well as the very popular Three Wheeler.

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Hardly exotic, but definitely rare was this well preserved 1.8GL Bluebird Estate. “Worthy but dull” was the verdict on these when new, but they sold in significant quantity at the time, from 1980 to 1984, and yet now they are all but extinct.

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There were plenty of high end 911 Porsche in the reserved parking area.

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The Porsche Owners Club display encompassed a wide variety of models, including a 914 which departed just as I arrived at the area, a 924, a trio of nice 928s, several 911s and Boxsters.

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This cheeky Clio V6 was another highlight of the reserved parking area.

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Elsewhere there was a rather nice Clio Williams 2

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This was a nice example of the V4 engined 96 saloon, parked up in the reserved parking area

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An example of the brand new Impreza WRX STi. This car got a very luke warm set of reviews from the UK press, and it is not hard to see why. As a static object, you have to say that is only likely to appeal to the Subaru faithful, but most of those have already transferred their allegiance elsewhere, so I cannot see this being a common sighting on our roads.

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The TVR Car Club display was not that extensive, with cars ranging from the rarely seen 1600M to a number of Chimaera, a Tuscan and a Tamora. No doubt there were a vast number more in the PistonHeads area.

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This lovely PV544 was actually on a stand promoting car cleaning products, and I had to wait until the sales lady who was demonstrating the stuff she was trying to sell finally ducked down behind the other side of the car to get this photo.

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A number of the local dealers had display stands as well, so those who wanted to see some of the cars currently on sale could have a closer look. I did not have a lot of time to poke around these cars much, but there are photos here from most of the brands represented.


Plenty of interest here, with the new S1 joining the established A1 supermini, an S3 Saloon accompanying the brand new S3 Cabrio, an A5 Cabrio, and the car that you could hear frequently as the engine was repeatedly fired up and revved hard, the deeply desirable RS7.

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Centre of attention here was yet another example of the new i8. This really is a striking car, though at £100k, it is going to be beyond the reach of most people, the 18 month waiting list not withstanding.

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The rest of the stand  was given over to M cars, with the new M3 and M4 joined by the outgoing M3s and an M5

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There was one example of each of the different body styles Dacia sells in the UK: Sandero, Logan MCV and Duster.

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It was cars with 500 in their name which comprised the Fiat display with several of the recently updated 500 models joined by the extra long 500L Living.

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A neat progression of i10, i20 and i30 were joined by the latest Santa Fe.

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Jaguar had an F Type Coupe and an XF Sport Brake available for a closer look.

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I am a big fan of the Kia range, as these well styled cars are good to drive, and still excellent value for money and a solid ownership proposition. Picanto, Rio, Cee’d, Sportage and Sorento were here.

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Examples of all the current range were here, with a couple of the classic Defender, the soon to be replaced Freelander, the popular Evoque and recently refreshed Range Rover and Range Rover Sport as well as the imposing Discovery.

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A duo of Lexus – the IS and CT. Whilst popular in the US, these have been flying out of the showrooms about as slowly as their predecessors. No appeal to me, at all, as the looks are contrived, and whilst the build quality is impressive, the ones I have driven have been utterly soulless.

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The V6 engined Exige was joined by the latest Evora S.

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Examples of all the current range were here, with the pretty little 2 making one of its last appearances before the new car arrives later in the year, and there was also an early first generation MX5, reminding us again that this popular sports car is celebrating its 25th birthday this year.

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There were a number of new Mercedes models on show including the latest C and S Class cars, but sadly, I did not get pictures of anything other than this GL63 AMG.

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One example of MINI 3 tucked away on one side of the BMW stand. I am still struggling to like the looks of this car, finding the front just as bulbous as those spy shots which BMW tried to play down a year ago suggested it would be.

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There’s been a lot of new product from Nissan in the last year, with a new Note, Qashqai and X-Trail as well as a facelift for the popular Juke. All were on show, along with more established models such as the 370Z Roadster, Micra and the Navara.

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There were a number of Peugeot present, including the brand new 108 city car, but I confess that I missed this stand out completely.


Examples of the current Renault range were presented here. There’s nothing that appeals to me at all, as I find the new Clio particularly blobby (and it’s huge) and the Captur is nearly as bad. I am awaiting the new Twingo with interest, as it looks good and dares to be different.

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A quartet of these Czech cars comprised Citigo, Fabia, Octavia vRS Estate and the Yeti.

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Front of the stand contained a number of the new Aygo. Clearly they had all been funning themselves, hence the comical liveries in which they were presented. It remains to be seen whether anyone is impressed by the refresh – the press have certainly been lukewarm in their assessments, putting it at the bottom of the class.

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The facelifted Yaris, with an equally contrived new front was also here along with the dull (despite the advertising) Auris and RAV4 and a GT86, a Verso and a HiLux.
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A couple of Adams were tucked away at the back of the stand, behind some of the more performance oriented machines from the Griffin, including the VXR8GTS, and hot Corsa and Astra models.

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This would be the first chance for many to see the new Golf SV, replacement for the unlamented Golf Plus, and by all accounts a “better” car than BMW’s 2 series Active Tourer, with which it competes.

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Other VWs included a couple of Golf Cabrios, the latest mildly tweaked Scirocco and Polo and the familiar CC,  Up! and Golf in GTD guise.

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A small display contained a couple of imposing Traction Engines, an old tractor and an assembly of old oil cans. The former were in steam, and were attracting the crowds as these machines always do. We’ve come a long way in the 100 years since these were a part of farming life.

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This was an excellent day. Probably the best of the three events at Wilton House that I have attended, with such a lot to see, and much of stuff that you just don’t get even at other events with lots of supercars present. That the weather turned out to be so good, despite the forecast was an added bonus. A definite for the 2015 diary.

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