Even if you say it in French, ‘competition of elegance’ doesn’t quite describe what this event is all about. Yes, it has an incredible array of elegant automobiles and two-wheelers that compete for the attention of a highly qualified jury. However, the overall setting, the atmosphere, the presence of some of the biggest names in the world of culture, automobiles, style and fashion plus the sheer beauty of it all can be quite overwhelming.
The Cartier ‘Travel With Style’ Concours d’Elegance – to give you its full name – is a beauty contest-plus-fashion show for vintage and classic cars and motorcycles. Every two years, specially curated rolling sculptures on wheels and magnificent engineering marvels emerge from some of the finest garages in the country, to compete with their equals at the Cartier concours.
The 1935 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental is coming to Jaipur after picking up some silverware from Pebble Beach last year
This year is the sixth edition of the event, and it will be held at the Rambagh Palace in Jaipur on the weekend of 23-24 February 2019. It’s been 10 years since the first one was held at the Royal Western India Turf Club in Mumbai and since then, a vast array of India’s finest automobiles and motorcycles have been seen and judged at select venues in Mumbai, Delhi and Hyderabad. The curator of the show for all six editions has been Manvendra Singh Barwani, who is also a judge at the famous Pebble Beach Concours in California, while the chief judge at Jaipur is Simon Kidston, a globally renowned authority in classic car circles.
The list of categories is:
Pre War Classics – up to and including 1945
Post War Classics – from 1946 up to and including 1965
Indian Heritage – Indian-made or assembled from 1947 up to and including 1965
Preservation – up to and including 1965
Roadsters – from 1946 up to and including 1969
Pre War Transportation – up to and including 1945 (special class)
This elegant 1940 LaSalle Series 52 has undergone a full restoration in time for the Jaipur concours
Veteran – Vintage – up to and including 1930
Pre War – from 1931 up to and including 1945
Post War – from 1946 up to and including 1969
Of these, the Preservation Class is rather unique, because it awards originality and the authentic appearance of the car. While most cars of the show are so well-restored that they look as if they have just emerged out of showrooms, in this class, the cars are unrestored and wear their age and patina with pride. Also, the Indian Heritage Class awards the best cars that were built in early independent India, putting the spotlight on India’s more recent automotive history.
The Jaipur edition of the Cartier concours also has some special categories. This includes the Pre-War Transportation Class, that celebrates the uniqueness of early transport found in India. Expect to see some rugged buses and pick-up trucks rub shoulders with the curved fenders and gleaming chrome of ex-royal cars. In addition, the European Sports Cars category of the 1960s and 1970s will have some svelte Italian machinery, in the form of Alfa Romeos and Ferraris. Plus there is a rather unique Thunderbird Class, which will have participants from the first four generations (decade beginning 1955) of one of Ford’s most elegant and stylish cars.
A rather unique discovery from India’s hinterland, Viveck Goenka’s Standard Vanguard Estate Car will be one of the stars in the Indian Heritage Class