Stunning Aston Martin DB12 Volante revealed as Salon Privé opens at Blenheim Palace
Salon Privé 2023 at Blenheim Palace has opened in spectacular style with a world-class parade led with the European debut of the new Aston Martin DB12 Volante – just weeks after its global reveal. Billed as the world’s ultimate open-top Super Tourer, the new DB12 Volante headlines an all-star line-up of Aston Martin cars to continue the brand’s 110th anniversary celebrations.
Joining the DB12 Volante as a headliner for the Aston Martin display is the thrilling new V12 Vantage, the fastest and fiercest version ever made. The DBS770 Ultimate is the most powerful production Aston Martin of all time, while a guaranteed head-turner will be the world-famous Aston Martin Vantage Official FIA Safety Car of Formula 1. Aston Martin Works is also running test drives of the acclaimed new DBX707 SUV.
Later in the week, Aston Martin’s Salon Privé guests will be treated to 110th anniversary display featuring cars from the firm’s history, dating all the way back to the 1920s. Highlights include the 1920s Bamford & Martin, 1936 ‘Red Dragon’ Speed, 1958 DB4, a DB5 Goldfinger, 1960s DB6 Volante, 1980s V8 Vantage, 1996 V600, 2004 DB7 Zagato and the iconic 2014 One-77.
Salon Privé rolled out the red carpet for Electrogenic’s latest bespoke electric creation, a 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom II. Making its world premier in the famous grounds of Blenheim Palace, it is the most complex conversion ever undertaken by the Kidlington, Oxfordshire firm. With 93kWh of batteries concealed beneath a beautiful hand-riveted aluminium housing, it has a real-world range of around 150 miles. Commissioned by a private collector, Electrogenic director Steve Drummond said Salon Privé at Blenheim Palace was “the perfect place to reveal such a stately piece of British motoring history – now fully updated and future-proofed for the next hundred years of clean, silent electric motoring”.
There are yet more world debuts at Salon Privé too. The Clive Sutton Shelby Cobra CSX10000 is the first ready-to-go UK turn-key Shelby Cobra in almost 60 years, timed perfectly to mark 100 years since Carroll Shelby’s birth. The UK is the very first global market to receive the car, which boasts the latest 5.0-litre Ford V8 ‘Cobra’ Mustang engine producing 460hp – and an optional supercharged version increases power to 700hp. Clive Sutton, founder and CEO, said it was an immense honour to lead the global launch of the new Shelby Cobra CSX10000, which will be showcased at Blenheim Palace throughout the event.
Making its European debut is the new Little Car Company Bentley Blower Jnr. An 85% scale recreation of Bentley’s 1929 Team Car No. 2, the exciting new model is fully electric, fully road-legal, has a 61-mile range and a 45mph top speed. The First Edition version is on sale for £108,000 – a snip, compared to the £25m value of the original.
Innovative new Italian brand Totem Automobili is being presented to Salon Privé guests for the first time in the UK at Blenheim Palace. Inspired by the classic Alfa Romeo Giulia GTA, the new Totem GT is available in two guises: the Super has a world-class twin-turbo V6 with at least 600hp, while the Electric ‘modernises and renews without abandoning the classic soul’.
Jensen International Automotive (JIA), famed for re-engineering the iconic Interceptor as well as the classic Range Rover, presented a surprise new creation – a 1992 Range Rover, fully re-engineered as a pure EV with a 250-mile range. Managing director Durran Heslop said it had been completed just weeks before, and “is a bespoke creation, using custom parts developed specifically for this vehicle”.
Theon Design returned with CEO and founder Adam Hawley presenting two brand new cars – its first for UK customers, The GBR1 has a 3.8-litre engine and Slate Grey paintwork, the exact same colour as Steve McQueen’s Porsche 911 in the film Le Mans. Meanwhile, the GBR2, in beautiful Oak Green, has a 4.0-litre engine and a better power-to-weight ratio than a new Porsche 992 GT3.
To mark the opening of the event, Salon Privé special guests, A-list media and VIPs were given an exclusive pre-opening tour of the event by show co-founder and director David Bagley, where the return of Lotus to Salon Privé was celebrated. The reborn British brand is showcasing an exciting line-up of the new Eletre electric Hyper-SUV, the Emira sports car’s engaging new I4 variant – and a classic 1976 Lotus Esprit S1 from the firm’s own collection.
Salon Privé continues at Blenheim Palace for the rest of the week, with must-see models including the Alpine A110 San Remo, Bentley Bentayga EWB Azure, Ferrari Purosangue and Roma Spider, Lamborghini Revuelto and Sterrato, MST Cars’ new 6R4 and much, much more. Lamborghini will be continuing its 60th anniversary celebrations on Saturday with a dedicated club event including 60-plus classic V12 models – and a further gathering of V8 and V10 Lamborghinis.
At the indulgent Salon Privé luxury retail village, more than 30 brands will offer appeal beyond automotive, with boats, helicopters, motorbikes, fashion, accessories, sunglasses, jewellery, antiques, art, sculpture and much more. Naturally, all will be complemented by the world-famous Salon Privé hospitality, including fabulous cuisine and Pommery Champagne.
Judging is also under way for the world-class Salon Privé Concours presented by Aviva. 50 cars are competing for the envied Best in Show award, with categories including Pioneering Motor Cars, Pre-War Sports, Sports Racers and Supercar Icons. There are three one-off concours classes to mark landmark anniversaries, too. The Porsche 356 – Where it all Began celebrates 75 years of Porsche, and there are special anniversary classes for Lamborghini and McLaren.
The Yellow Collection is yet another highlight, featuring a glittering array of delicious automotive icons led by a stunning 1965 Ferrari 250 LM that famously led the Le Mans 24 Hours for 23 hours – before suffering a puncture, leaving its sister car to take the win (fortunately, it still finished second) Like all other cars in the line-up, it is resplendent in bright yellow – with the total collection valued at an incredible £30 million.
With the famous Ladies’ Day by Boodles on Friday and Supercar Saturday presenting the Lockton Club Trophy, there is once again something for everyone at Salon Privé Blenheim Palace – and while Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are sold out, limited advance tickets remain available for Saturday. “With the sun shining and guests arriving in force, we’re off to a fantastic start and I can’t wait to see what else Salon Privé 2023 has in store – I’m sure it’s going to be another classic year,” said David Bagley.