Rolling Bones set to rock Salon Privé as Bonneville meets Blenheim

Salon Privé returns to Blenheim Palace from 1-5 September 2021 with its celebrated mixture of modern supercars, iconic racers, great classics and the latest concepts. This year, however, the pristine grounds of the historic venue will also be rocked by the unforgettable sight and sound of hot rods created by the Rolling Bones.

Based in an old cow barn in Upstate New York, the Rolling Bones Hot Rod Shop is run by Ken Schmidt and Keith Cornell, owners and enthusiasts who have been creating bespoke works of automotive art for more than 20 years. Firmly rejecting any notion of building trailer queens or street rods with new or reproduction parts, they instead produce hot rods that can be driven during the week but are bordering on being a full-on race car. Raw, pure and built to be used, they perfectly evoke the golden era of hot rodding in the years immediately following World War Two, when American servicemen returned from duty with a passion for speed and adventure, and turned their attention to the old Fords that were cheap and plentiful during that era.

The Rolling Bones are fiercely loyal to Ford – insisting that they are the only true hot rods – and their use of vintage parts that would have been available to hot rod builders in period gives each of their cars a unique character. Patina is to be celebrated, and in this case has been raised to something approaching an art form. As one observer once put it, Rolling Bones hot rods ‘look like they came right out of a 1950s hot rod magazine and have spent the decades since in storage’.

Feted by the hot rod cognoscenti, Rolling Bones creations have developed a loyal following from enthusiasts who want to celebrate the cars and lifestyle of that era, and will represent a new, exciting and rebellious element to Salon Privé Week. They’ve roared across the legendary Bonneville Salt Flats and gone head-to-head in dusk races across the dry lake at El Mirage, and now five of them will be bringing their unique brand of anarchy to leafy Oxfordshire.

‘Built in small numbers, Rolling Bones hot rods are superbly engineered works of art,’ said Salon Privé Concours Chairman Andrew Bagley, ‘and will proudly take their place on the lawns of Blenheim Palace. They’re noisy, they’re brash, and I can’t wait to see them parading through Woodstock during Salon Privé LIVE. Bringing a group of them together will be a fabulous sight, and hearing them run will really capture everyone’s imagination.’

This year’s Salon Privé Week will once again celebrate the best that the automotive world has to offer, and will host a number of UK, European and global debuts. There will also be first-class hospitality and retail therapy courtesy of the most exclusive luxury brands, plus a brand-new element for 2021 – Salon Privé TIME, which will showcase the world’s leading watchmakers.

The action gets under way on Wednesday with the prestigious Salon Privé Concours d’Elégance, which welcomes more than 100 of the world’s finest cars across nine carefully curated classes. Friday is Ladies’ Day presented by Boodles, and is the time to see and be seen, with hats of every shape and size dotted all over the lawn.

That’s followed on Saturday by the Salon Privé Club Trophy presented by Lockton – the largest club-only event in the UK – and the finale of Salon Privé Week is Sunday’s Classic and Supercar event. The lawns are open to the public for this superb family day out and thousands of visitors create a memorable atmosphere around Blenheim Palace.

Header image credit: Peter Vincent

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