It’s a fact of life that not all car shows are created equal, and that despite the unwavering enthusiasm from all sections of the global car community, some gatherings of vehicles are just that bit more exclusive than others, and they really don’t come much more exclusive than the famous Concours of Elegance. Right up there with the likes of Pebble Beach in terms of outright prestige, Concours of Elegance is now in its 6th year, and 2017 also marks the 6th time that Autoglym have been invited to attend as official car care partner, something we’re immensely proud of.
If there’s one thread that binds together all 60 cars at Concours of Elegance, it’s variety. Few other car shows can claim to offer quite as varied an assortment of metal as this, and it really isn’t uncommon to see an Arnold Benz Motor Carriage from 1896 (a period when the set layout of what constitutes a ‘normal’ car had yet to be finalised) sharing space with modern day exotica, in this case a McLaren P1.
While there can be no doubt that seeing cars of this nature parked within metres of each other is nothing short of jaw-dropping for petrolheads of all ages, keeping them all looking their best and catering to their unique needs and requirements does present something of a poser, which is why Autoglym was invited to take part some years ago. Our expertise and history was a deciding factor in this, as was our Royal Warrant and long-time association with the Royal family, specifically being entrusted with training those who clean the Queen’s fleet of vehicles. Factor in our range of carefully formulated and well respected waxes, polishes and dressings, and it becomes clear why Autoglym was the obvious pick for a show of this calibre.
So just what role does Autoglym play at Concours of Elegance? Well proceedings generally kick-off with a tour around a region of the UK, in this case it’s the Tour of Wessex. Slated to last 2 days, the tour sees examples of the great and the good of the car world visit some of Western England’s most picturesque spots, before returning to Hampton Court Palace, the location of the show itself, on Thursday evening. We’re then charged with ensuring all 15 cars are in fine fettle before Friday morning, the first official day of Concours of Elegance, with the official start scheduled for 9am. The cars will all be washed with Bodywork Shampoo Conditioner, chosen for its water sheeting and gloss enhancing properties. With 15 cars to wash and short window in which to do it, the rapid drying characteristics of the shampoo really help. Where appropriate, tyres will be dressed with High performance Tyre Gel and glass cleaned with Fast Glass. A final inspection team will ensure any finishing touches are taken care of, chrome polishing, hood brushing etc.
It’s important to bear in mind that all detailing carried out at Concours of Elegance takes place within the perfectly manicured gardens of Hampton Court, meaning that we’re somewhat limited in terms of the products we can use; there’s no water point within easy reach, meaning we turn to some our most versatile products Rapid Detailer and Fast Glass being but 2 examples. Keeping all 60 cars in attendance looking their best for 3 full, incredibly busy days is no mean feat then, and it goes without saying that our very best Technical Service Personnel are picked for the task at hand.
The combination of less than ideal facilities, a busy show and some of the finest, most valuable cars on the planet can make for a fairly frenetic weekend, which is why we tend to treat it with a ‘less is more approach.’ Our staff are constantly using microfiber cloths to rid the cars in question of greasy finger marks and dust, while others set to work applying High Performance tyre dressing using the specially designed applicator.
The unique nature of Concours of Elegance means that it inevitably throws up some equally unique scenarios, including what to do about applying tyre dressing to a pre-war car with exposed wheels (the un-treated treads tend to look decidedly odd), how to tackle cars with lovingly preserved patina (don’t, normally), and just what is the correct etiquette for closing the stubborn door on a priceless Ferrari 250GTO. These aren’t situations that tend to crop up at your average VW, Ford or Vauxhall show.
Concours of Elegance takes place at Hampton Court Palace from 1-3rd of September. Click through to learn more.