Kuwait Concourse d’elegance

***As seen in Classic Cars Magazine May 2012 issue – news section***

ALL WORDS AND PHOTOGRAPHS by Lara Platman

Kuwait Concourse d'elegance

“What is beauty?” asks Leonardo Fioravanti, the designer of one of Ferrari’s most significant cars, the F40 and the chief judge of the Kuwait Concourse d’elegance 2012 where, now in its third year has become a fixed event in the international concourse circuit.

“Beauty is the splendour of truth” he continues, quoting Plato, “the Ferrari 250 GT Lusso here in the concourse is something of this beauty it has elements of timeless qualities, within its elegance.” Fioravanti advises me that to fully appreciate the Lusso, a photographer, such as myself needs to be slightly above the car to be able to see the three dimensionality of the creation, the purity of the lines work so smoothly when you can see over to the far edge and as with all concourse events, at the finale, the car will passes through on the parade for a full inspection in motion (slow motion) where, I discovered Leonardo’s theory is indeed true.

The Kuwait Concourse d’elegance now established in a country where the culture is particularly ‘petrol headed’ has increased in size with both cars inside the main Concourse and with the ‘side show’ events taking place in the outside parking lot. This year the event has three separate themed days of ‘Super Cars’, ‘Motorbikes’ and ‘Ferrari’ to allow enthusiasts to visit Kuwait with their vehicle and park up amongst friends and admire the sights of the ‘very full’ car park along with motor themed movies each day.

Whilst many travelled on their motorbikes from Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to make up the Motorbike show, the main concourse enjoyed the delights of a dedicated section for Muscle cars featuring the 1972 Oldsmobile 442 Convertible, with Stanley Kryla who restored the car with such dedication coming to Kuwait to ‘win’ and indeed he did, first in class. Stanley saw this very car when he was twelve years of age and when the opportunity came to purchase it he restored it back to its former specs, GM Code 65 Flame Orange Metallic paint, heavy duty rally suspension, Hurst Shifter special hood and body-side and deck-lid stripping. The 1969 Shelby GT500 Fastback Coupe coming a close second. This model no.3162 was shipped new to the Shelby Racing Company of Torrance CA for Caroll Shelby to famously race it.

This year saw a new section for the racing cars; parked away from the main concourse they provided a splurge of Maserati and Ferrari red around the Marina Bay fountain. Joining the Ferraris 1953 375mm Spider, 1955 555 Super Squalo (first in class) and 1962 250GT Breadvan (driven many a time by Max Werner and Claudia Hurtgen) were the 1955 Maserati 250F (second in class) and 1960 Tipo 61 Birdcage along with runner up of the class, the 1927 Salmson Type GSC San Sebastian.

Kuwait Concourse d'eleganceKuwait Concourse d'elegance

Also joining the racing car display is the twelfth Aston Martin ever built and the oldest surviving. The 1923 Aston Martin Side-Valve was delivered to Brooklands racer JC Douglas, after over a dozen races and concourse, the Lionel Martin Series Aston’s final winning race took place in 1970 at Crystal Palace, driven by Mr Delves-Broughton, this glorious and original Aston Martin now resides in America.

Within the main concourse the judges had a tough day deciding winners and near winners, amongst these truly international cars. At other concourse events it is rare to see vehicles from Japan, Pakistan, Bahrain and Kuwait, whereas here, it is only natural and wonderful to see the very 1924 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost utilised in the declaration of the independence of Pakistan. Owned by HH Nawab of Bahawalpur, the car was loaned and put in service for Mr Muhamma Ali Jinnah, the first Governor General of Pakistan, on the 14th August 1947, where Mr Jinnah would sit in the car with the last Viceroy of India Lord Louis Mountbatten at the assembly halls. Mountbatten sitting on the right hand side and Mr Jinnah on the left, the union jack at the front of the car was replaced with the flag for Pakistan and independence was declared (amongst many form filling at the assembly halls). This Silver Ghost with its early dipping headlights, integrated lights within the wings and duel operational steering wheel came first in class, only having done 7000 miles, it runs like a dream.

Other delights of the show include best restored car the 1937 Alfa 6C2300 Pescara, best Racing car, the 1953 Jaguar C Type, most Innovative Italian car, the 1971 Lamborghini Miura SV and best European car, the sky blue 1963 Aston DB4 Zagato.

Aston Martin had a prominent commercial stand with their current model range and  the 2011 Aston Martin Zagato on display. Andreas Zagato, Dr Ulrich Bez and the current owners of the 1963 model were proud to enjoy the two cars resting side by side on the lawn relishing in the forty eight years between them.

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I managed to catch a glance at Andreas Zagato who was admiring the two metallic brothers.

“If only my father could see this now, he would be so proud.” He told me with his eyes twinkling from behind his glasses.

However, as most would expect from the entry list, the overall winner of the Kuwait Concourse d’elegance 2012 had to be the 1938 Talbot Largo T150-C “Teardrop”. Chassis number 90104 is one of fourteen T150-C’s “Teardrops” produced, of these four, were made in the elegant “Jeancart” style, a notchback profile named after the wealthy French businesswoman who first ordered the car. If, as Plato says, beauty is indeed the splendour of truth, then this Figoni and Felashi masterpiece has to be the ultimate in beauty.

Kuwait Concourse d’elegance – words and photographs by Lara Platman. To see more of my photographs that appeared in Classic cars magazine – May issue news section, please see:  Photofeature

classic cars Kuwait 1classic cars Kuwait 2

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