Blenheim Salon Part 1

So yesterday, Mr. FM dragged me kicking and screaming to something called a “Salon Privé”, an annual shindig held on the grounds at Blenheim Palace, home of the Duke of Marlborough. (I say “dragged” in the sense of “invited”; the “kicking and screaming” actually came later, when it was time to go.)

What is this Salon thing, you ask? It’s a classic car exhibition and auction (more of which in Part 2 of this account, tomorrow).

So as we swept up the driveway towards the Duke’s little pad,

I was oohing an aahing at the exquisite cars assembled:

…whereupon Mr. FM dryly informed me, “Dear heart, this is just the parking lot; the exhibition is on the other side of the house.”


So we wandered down the alley of cars:

…until we got to the exhibition itself.


I will say no more, just post a few of the dozens of pictures I took. First, the Jag XK120:

A couple of (the many) Ferraris:

Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato

Mercedes 300 SL:

Some 356 Porsches:

There were also a few shouty cars (aimed at the Russian / Arab Oil Oligarch’s Son Set, no doubt):

…but we’ll say no more about them. Instead, here’s a Bentley Tourer from the 1930s:

…which was, too, somewhat shouty (i.e. foul), except when properly decorated:

Speaking of decoration, there was lots of it:


…and one lovely young lady even asked me to take her pic in front of her car:

Heavens be praised, not a Train Smash Woman in sight. Just a couple more car pics. First, an Atalanta Sport:

Jaguar XJ220 (one of my favorite “modern” Jags:

…and standing out like a dog turd on a table cloth, this thing:

…which looked all the more ridiculous when you consider what was standing next to it:

But let me end this post with something of an overview:

Tomorrow, we’ll look at what was available on auction.




  1. I happen to like the Mustang. I have some very fond memories of a 1965 Mustang rag top.

    I want the Bentley. You can have all the rest, and good riddance. Especially the Porsche, which I consider one of the ugliest automobiles ever produced. Just give me that Bentley.

    Ian Fleming’s character James Bond drove a 1930s Bentley. It had a supercharger unit in it – it might as well have, being made of whole cloth, so to speak – and I’ve always considered the Bentley to be the ultimate in high class cool. Better than a Benz, better even than a Rolls.

    While you’re in the neighborhood, would you mind asking the under-butler just how in the world you live in a pile like that, how you keep up with repairs, how you even keep the place clean. I’m really interested in this. I’ve never seen a pile like this one up close and personal, and while I admire it, I wonder just how you keep it up.

  2. You almost made me swallow my gum, laughing, when I read about the table cloth. It reminds me of riding in the back seat of a 1960 Plymouth Fury, on a highway in Texas, 1965. This was still in the days of steel beer cans and church keys. As a brand new mustang was passing us, a beer can was flung out in front and hit our car. My Father was angered and gave chase, my Mother panicking in the passenger seat. As the speedometer rolled up past 120, the Mustang gave a puff of blue smoke and pulled off the road to a stop. My Father, justly pleased, kept driving and marveling that he had more gas pedal left after pegging the speedometer. Fond memories…

  3. Now THAT is the England I fondly remember. Glad to see some is still left.

    The Mustang is a classic in its own right. It’s no Dino, but it also didn’t cost ~$10,000 new in the 60s. One of the things I find rather endearing about the Brits, at least the proper sort, is their appreciation of old American muscle.

    1. And some Americans have great appreciation for the Cream of British Society that was also on display.

  4. More than one Shelby Mustang was rented from Hertz, had some removable additions installed in order to get through tech inspection, and raced reasonably successfully during a weekend. Hard to bumrap a deal like that. 😀

    From LeMans to Sebring, and at numerous other venues, I’ve heard the sounds of many and many a sports racing car. Nothing beats the sound of a late 1950s/early 1960s Ferrari in full song.

    The DB4 GT Zagato definitely creates lust in my heart. Next would be the Ferrari coupe behind what appears to be a California Roadster.

  5. Aaah, Ye Olde England, where even the auto shows ooze class and elegance.

    I believe you are having way too much fun Over There, Mr duToit.

  6. All those lovely cars and your dig at the Ford gets the most response. I hope you knew that would happen.

    The Atalanta and the 300SL would be my picks of the show. Porsches, with very few exceptions in their high end range always struck me as glorified Volkswagens. Meh. But its nice to see a collection like that, though I would have hope for a few more Jaguars.

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