The world’s rarest cars on show

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Back in 2012 the Concours of Elegance was established in the UK to “bring together the world’s rarest cars” and in 2020 it will continue to do just that, with the latest array of mouth-watering metal to go on show being revealed. 2020 is once again set to gather what […]

Back in 2012 the Concours of Elegance was established in the UK to “bring together the world’s rarest cars” and in 2020 it will continue to do just that, with the latest array of mouth-watering metal to go on show being revealed.

2020 is once again set to gather what organisers are calling “the finest line-up of vehicles on display in the UK this year.”

Cars continue to join the event by the day, with the latest new additions so rare that it’s unlikely they’ll ever have been seen together before in the UK.

An incredibly rare Ferrari Dino 206 SP is just one of the vehicles on show at the Concours of Elegance in the UK later this year.

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An incredibly rare Ferrari Dino 206 SP is just one of the vehicles on show at the Concours of Elegance in the UK later this year.

The 2020 Concours of Elegance on 4-6 September will gather more than 1,000 cars in the gardens of Hampton Court Palace in the UK and at its heart will be a collection of around 60 of the “rarest, most beautiful and most innovative cars ever built.” This year’s line up will include the following:

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Porsche 356 America Roadster

Before the 356 Speedster was the 356 America Roadster. Only 17 were ever made.

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Before the 356 Speedster was the 356 America Roadster. Only 17 were ever made.

Not technically a Speedster, the Type 540 “America Roadster” actually started the idea – the 356 Speedster came later and cost two-thirds the price.

The 540’s air-cooled, 1.5-litre flat-four produced 52kW, which may not sound like these days, but in 1953 the regular 356 made just 30kW, so it was quite the performance boost at the time.

The America Roadster came about when U.S. importer Max Hoffman convinced Porsche it needed a lightweight convertible to compete with the likes of Jaguar. But the production methods used to create the America Roadster’s aluminium body proved to be too expensive and it wasn’t a commercial success –Porsche only built 17 units before it dropped the model in 1953.

Ferrari Dino 206 SP

Much like the Porsche above, Ferrari only made 17 examples of the Dino 206 SP.

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Much like the Porsche above, Ferrari only made 17 examples of the Dino 206 SP.

As is well known, Ferrari was challenged by Ford at Le Mans in the mid-’60s and responded with a series of Sports Prototypes; the 330P-series.

Early in February 1966 Ferrari introduced the 4.0-litre 330P3, alongside the smaller all-new Dino 206 SP. It was Ferrari’s intention to build 50 of these smaller V6 cars to qualify them for homologation as two-litre Group 4 sports cars.

For various reasons, however, that never happened and only 17 were built, including this example here that raced at the 1000km of Nurburgring and the 12 Hours of Sebring.

Aston Martin Cloverleaf

The elegant Cloverleaf is one of the oldest Aston Martins still on the road.

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The elegant Cloverleaf is one of the oldest Aston Martins still on the road.

This car – chassis number 1926 produced in 1923 – is one of the oldest road-going production Aston Martin models in existence.

Only 57 ‘Bamford and Martin’ Aston Martins were made in total and it’s estimated that fewer than 16 examples still exist around the world, in one form or another.

This car is almost identical to Lionel Martin’s own Cloverleaf – which was scrapped in the 1930s – in which he took 2nd place at Aston Hill in 1924, effectively giving the company its name.

XR1981 was competitively driven until the end of the 1960s, in the course of which it won the prestigious St John Horsfall Trophy race at Silverstone in 1969. It then languished in the family garage, unused for nearly 40 years, before undergoing a five-year restoration that brought the car to its current condition.

Facel Vega Facel II

Faster than a Benz 300SL, the Facel II was all speed and all luxury.

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Faster than a Benz 300SL, the Facel II was all speed and all luxury.

Founded by Jean Daninos in 1939, Forges et Ateliers de Construction d’Eure-et-Loir (FACEL) specialised in the construction of aircraft components and metal furniture, before turning its hand to luxury cars like the 1962 Facel II.

Powered by a 265kW Chrysler V8, the four-seater Facel II was one of the fastest cars of its time, being quicker from 0-60mph than the Aston Martin DB4 and Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing, while also boasting “Rolls-Royce-like comfort.”

This example was the original UK press car and one of just three right-hand-drive manual examples. It has covered just 20,000 miles (32,000km) since new.

Williams Renault FW15C

F1 cars are rare by nature, but the kind of domination the FW15C displayed makes it truly rare.

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F1 cars are rare by nature, but the kind of domination the FW15C displayed makes it truly rare.

Only rare in the sense that all F1 cars are ‘rare’ because they only build a couple of them each year, the FW15C is extremely special nonetheless.

1993 was the year F1 went hi-tech and the car that did it better than anything else was this Adrian Newey-designed masterpiece.

The V10-powered FW15C featured a semi-automatic transmission, traction control, power steering, anti-lock brakes, telemetry and, most controversially, hydraulically-controlled active suspension that was later innovation banned for 1994.

In 1993, though, not much could catch the FW15C and Alain Prost cruised to his fourth World Drivers’ title ahead of Ayrton Senna. Third place in the championship that year in FW15C chassis 02 was a young British drive named Damon Hill.

As well as its main line-up of cars the 2020 Concours of Elegance will include unique coachbuilt Alfa Romeos, pre-war Rolls-Royces, the McLaren F1 GTRs that finished 1st, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 13th at Le Mans 24 Hours 25 years ago, a display of “future classics” and a new Junior Concours celebrating the best of half-scale cars. In total, nearly 1,000 cars will be on display over the course of the weekend.

This is where we would normally say “if you are planning a trip to the UK in September then this would be a must-see”, but you probably won’t be. Damn you coronavirus…

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