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Richard Hammond to present Louis Chiron’s Chapron-bodied Delahaye at Salon Privé London Concours de Vente.

  • Richard Hammond to star at “fast-becoming-legendary” Salon Privé London
  • The Grand Tour presenter’s Smallest Cog restoration firm will present a Chapron-bodied Delahaye restored to its original colours as commissioned by Louis Chiron
  • Other Concours de Vente headliners include a rare 1962 Ferrari 400 Superamerica SWB, 1957 Chrysler New Yorker Town & Country and 1970 Aston Martin DBS 6 Volante
  • Second edition of Salon Privé London is held on 20-22 April 2023

Richard Hammond’s The Smallest Cog restoration business will show a unique Chapron-bodied Delahaye at this week’s Salon Privé London Concours de Vente – and The Grand Tour presenter himself will be at the Royal Hospital Chelsea event to meet guests. The Smallest Cog has been commissioned to return the 1947 car to its original livery and Richard Hammond said: “We’re delighted to have the chance to show off these colours in front of a discerning audience at the fast-becoming-legendary Salon Privé London in 2023.”

Delahaye is today famous for its Art Deco-inspired designs of the 1920s and 1930s. However, the Parisian marque also enjoyed plentiful success in motorsport, including a fifth place at the 1938 24 Hours of Le Mans, driven by legendary Monegasque racer Louis Chiron. In 1946, he duly commissioned Delahaye to build him a new road car, with Parisian coachbuilder Henri Chapron chosen to build the chassis. Chapron’s atelier produced numerous watercolour paintings of the vehicle and Chiron wrote to Chapron in 1946, stating: “I have just received your drawing of the bodywork. Everything suits me.”

This storied car has had just a handful of owners and enjoyed a significant restoration in 2012 after falling into poor condition. Here, the colour was changed to a dark grey and black. The current owner purchased the car in 2022 and felt it should return to its original Chiron colours. He commissioned The Smallest Cog to restore the livery, and considerable research has since gone into recreating the original specification, aided by Noelle Chapron, RM Sotheby’s, Jean-Paul Tissot and Glasurit.

“Working on a car like the Chapron bodied Delahaye feels like a privilege anyway. That Chiron commissioned it himself only intensifies that. Which made it all the more exciting/terrifying when The Smallest Cog team found themselves staring at a black and white photograph to try and identify the specific colours specified by Chiron in 1947,” said Richard Hammond.
“Much Sherlock Holmes behaviour later, including interviews with world-leading marque specialists and relatives of Chapron himself and we had the answer. We’re as pleased with the colours as we imagine Louis Chiron, The Old Fox, was himself.”

Daily commentary for the Concours de Vente Parade will be led by collector car auction guru Will Smith of RM Sotheby’s. He will describe each of the elite cars for the crowds, the latest of which to be confirmed by Girardo & Co is a stunning 1962 Ferrari 400 Superamerica SWB Coupe Aerodinamico – one of only eight Series I models with covered headlamps. The Ferrari flagship of the period. Superamerica were uniquely coach-built and sold to the marque’s most important clients with the personal blessing of Enzo Ferrari himself – who also drove a 400 Superamerica.

The beautiful Pininfarina design is resplendent in Blu Sera Italver over Blu Connolly and is fully Ferrari Classiche certified. Its rich heritage includes an unbroken chain of ownership and the 400 Superamerica has been exhibited at prestigious events including the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Now, it is to have Salon Privé London Concours de Vente added to its provenance.

DD Classics is to show a wonderful slice of retro Americana – a 1957 Chrysler New Yorker Town & Country Station Wagon. It was rare when new, one of just 1,391 built, and just a handful remain today. One of the firm’s most expensive cars ever sold at the time, it is powered by the legendary 392 Hemi 6.4-litre V8, producing a muscular 325bhp. 0-60mph took 8.8 seconds – and this was 1957, remember. DD Classics likens it to the Audi RS6 Avant of its day… almost.

This car is finished in distinctive Desert Beige with a Copper Brown Metallic roof (and cool Dayton wire wheels), while the cream and black interior is believed to be original. Being a range-topping car, it’s not short on luxuries, either: all-round electric windows, four-way power front seat, Music Master AM radio and air conditioning all feature; the latter was a factory-fit option that cost the equivalent of $5,300 in today’s money.

JD Classics is bringing a very special 1970 Aston Martin DBS 6 Volante, one of just six built. For seven years in the 1970s, until the arrival of the 1977 V8 Volante, Aston Martin did not offer a convertible. The enterprising Banham Conversions (Banmoco), experts in cabriolet conversions, spotted this gap in the market and created six DBS Volante, four manual and two automatics. This is the only six-cylinder automatic and “runs like a dream.”

It has an extensive history portfolio, including the original manuals, and has been featured in numerous Aston Martin magazines and books over the years. Indeed, the ultra-rare car is so special, the current owner even commissioned a one-off book about it; this will be supplied to the new owner who, like all cars on show at Concours de Vente, can purchase it on the day at Salon Privé London, Royal Hospital Chelsea.

Salon Privé London is one of the world’s most prestigious automotive events and the sister event to the globally renowned Salon Privé at Blenheim Palace which is now in its 18th year.

Set to be the capital’s most exclusive automotive party, Salon Privé London offers plenty to see and do in addition to the motoring attractions. There will be a luxury shopping village featuring brands such as high-end British Jewellery designer Boodles and watches from the famed luxury brand, Montblanc.

Food and hospitality will also be first class, in the famed Salon Privé tradition, with a three-course luncheon, delicious Pommery Champagne, cocktails from the London Essence Co and fine wines from Château La Gordonne.

Further highlights include Friday’s Boodles Ladies’ Day, fun for all the family during Saturday at Salon Privé, plus exclusive VIP hospitality at The Sloane and DJs keeping the party going well into the evening on Thursday and Friday.

Organisers are still able to consider late entries for the Concours de Vente, too: interested dealers are advised to contact Nick Wilkes on nickw@salonpriveconcours.com He’s on + 44 (0) 7795 213 361.

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