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2024 Concours on Savile Row bigger and better than ever

Words: Wayne Batty and Elliott Hughes | Photography: Matt Howell, Martyn Goddard

The third edition of the unique Concours on Savile Row returned to the famous Mayfair tailoring street on May 22-23, 2024. Not even the opening day’s inclement weather could dampen the spirits of Londoners and visitors from around the world, as they made their way along the event’s special red carpet display. The concours, run in partnership with Hothouse Media, the creator of Magneto, and The Pollen Estate, which owns much of Savile Row, featured more than 50 collector cars and motorcycles. 

An intriguing display covered the entire spectrum of motoring, from pre-war classics and custom motorcycles to motor sport icons and modern hypercars. With a 2024 Formula E GEN3 parked between a 1907 Mercedes 75 PS Spider and a 1950 Land-Rover Series 1 Station Wagon as just one example, the phrase ‘something for everyone’ was no exaggeration. 

Two full days of highpoints included the global public debut of the high-performance, all-terrain CALLUM SKYE outside Edward Sexton. Design director Ian Callum introduced the strikingly styled 2+2, the company’s first own-brand vehicle, to an eager crowd, who were also able to watch a live clay-sculpting demonstration inside the Edward Sexton store – a symbiotic metaphor of the bespoke craftsmanship so intrinsic to both tailoring and exclusive automobiles.

2024’s edition of Concours on Savile Row lived up to its vision, showing the famous street at its very best

2024’s edition of Concours on Savile Row lived up to its vision, showing the famous street at its very best

There was a constant buzz around Huntsman & Sons, beginning with the most elegant 1939 Lagonda LG6 Rapide on display just outside. Formerly owned by the late Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts, the car – which has not been seen in public in more than 40 years – complemented an exhibition inside the tailor featuring items from Watts’ own collection of Huntsman suits. 

A personal discussion about Charlie Watts took place in the Huntsman lounge. It was hosted by renowned automotive expert Simon Taylor, along with Dario Carnera, head cutter at Huntsman, and Paul Sexton, author of the official Charlie Watts biography.

Another of the star cars that captured hearts as well as knowingly nostalgic looks at Concours on Savile Row was the replica of John Lennon’s Rolls-Royce Phantom V, hosted by Daniel Hanson. The moving tribute is identical to the design painted by Steve Weaver via JP Fallon, which Lennon commissioned in 1967. The original Rolls-Royce was regularly seen outside The Beatles’ Apple HQ at 3 Savile Row in the 1960s. 

Cad & the Dandy was another popular destination for visitors, with in-store displays of Touring Superleggera’s beautifully restored Alfa Romeo 1900 Super Sprint, an evocative Ecurie Ecosse-liveried Jaguar C-type and an in-demand driving simulator. The cars formed the backdrop for a sociable, festive environment that saw Champagne and cocktails served to visitors over the tailor’s in-store bar.

Gieves & Hawkes, the preferred tailor of His Majesty King Charles III, enthusiastically embraced the event’s atmosphere with an equally impressive in-store display showcasing a Spitfire fighter plane fuselage presented in conjunction with the Association of Heritage engineers, accompanied by a 3D-printed facsimile of the legendary Rolls-Royce V12 Merlin engine. 

Austin J40 pedal cars have boomed in popularity in recent years, thanks in part to the children’s Settrington Cup race held each year at the Goodwood Revival. Tailor Holland & Sherry showed its appreciation for these diminutive pedal-powered classics with a bespoke example created in collaboration with specialist Austin Pedal Cars.

Other highlights from the tailors included a Joseph Cheaney & Sons shoe-making demonstration inside JP Hackett, men’s grooming services offered by barber Truefitt & Hill and hosted by Henry Poole, English sparkling wine tasting in the Nyetimber Routemaster bus, and bespoke cutting displays at Dege & Skinner, which has been particularly busy in the past few years crafting ‘updated’ royal uniforms.

Henry Poole and Huntsman & Sons both paid homage to the 70th anniversary of the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL, a stunning example of which, fittingly, finished in third place in the Hagerty Youth Judging Program, working with youngsters from Westminster City Lions. Henry Poole hosted a Craft of the Gullwing display that showcased disassembled elements of the legendary car. Huntsman & Sons delved into the model’s market-defying desirability with a discussion hosted by Broad Arrow.

Two very well attended seminars were held at the Royal Academy of Arts. On the Wednesday, a panel of experts discussed approaches to restoration and preservation taken by the art, automotive and tailoring worlds. On the panel were Royal Academy senior collections curator Hannah Higham; chair of the Savile Row Bespoke Association Mark Henderson; Marc Allum, from BBC1’s Antiques Roadshow; William Medcalf, founder of Vintage Bentley Ltd; and Jonathan Wells, chief design officer at Morgan Motor Company. 

Thursday’s discussion, around the future of fuel and the road to net zero, proved even more popular, drawing a busy crowd that included Rowan Atkinson. Topics covered incorporated a car’s lifetime carbon impact, hydrogen, electric and synthetic fuel technologies, the place of EV conversions and government policy.

The speakers for this were HCVA executive director Guy Lachlan; Blick Rothenberg’s customs and excise duty partner Simon Sutcliffe; Patrick Fairfield of Lunaz Applied Technologies; Vintage Bentley Ltd’s William Medcalf; and Finn Casey from Cranfield University. Both discussions were expertly moderated by Simon Taylor.

Fascinating talks also took place on the concours’ main stage. Peter Stevens discussed his new book, which covers the untold story of designing Jaguar’s forgotten supercar, the XJR-15, which he was also on hand to sign. Other speakers included former Ferrari Formula 1 driver Stefan Johansson, model David Gandy and tailors Crémieux and Henry Poole.

Those who prefer two wheels to four were well catered for at Concours on Savile Row, with a new-for-2024 Motorcycle Showcase positioned outside the adjacent Royal Academy of Arts. The machinery displayed included the Zero Motorcycles SR-X Concept, the playfully named BMW CE02 ‘eParkourer’, and other special bikes from Kawasaki, BMW, Truimph, Langen, Untitled, Royal Enfield and DeBolex. The last of these staged a special display with motorcycle apparel, luggage and tour specialist Malle London, inside tailor Davies & Sons.

A stunning 1995 McLaren F1 formerly owned by Michael Andretti was deemed Best of Show by the Hagerty Youth Judging Program students. Charlie Watts’ 1939 Lagonda LG6 Rapide finished closely behind in the runner-up spot.

Meanwhile, the People’s Choice award, presented in association with Hagerty, was won by a 1956 Ferrari 500 TR. The 13th of 17 500 TRs built, chassis no. 0640 MDTR was originally a Ferrari-owned car that was driven by Franco Cortese in 1956.

Jenny Casebourne, head of portfolio at The Pollen Estate, said: “The Pollen Estate is delighted that Concours on Savile Row has returned for a third year. Savile Row is London’s iconic destination renowned for tailoring, craftsmanship and style. We are excited to see the new collaborations and the synergies with the car manufacturers come to life.

“The event is a fantastic opportunity for visitors to go inside the tailoring houses and meet the individual tailors, as well as experience the expertise and craft behind a bespoke suit first-hand. Concours on Savile Row is a great addition to London’s events calendar, and showcases the very best of British tailoring to a global audience.”

Robert Rigby, Right Worshipful Lord Mayor of Westminster, who opened the event, said: “Concours on Savile Row showcases both tailoring and automobiles, and I would like to thank the manufactures, partners and car owners who have joined us and the tailors of Savile Row to display some of the most amazing cars ever built.”

2024’s edition of Concours on Savile Row lived up to its vision, showing the famous street at its very best, celebrating British style and craftsmanship, and the art of bespoke; all thanks to the support of Westminster City Council, The Pollen Estate, and sponsors EFG Private Bank, Aranyani, Hagerty, Royal Academy of Arts, Blick Rothenberg and Magneto magazine.

Dates for next year’s Concours on Savile Row will be announced in the coming months. For more information, click here.

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