Monaco: a place where people who use the word “summer” as a verb go to party, where Russian oligarchs and Middle Eastern royals are anything but discreet, and where James Bond seems to end up every second movie. Yet while the small principality is well-known for excess and wealth, surprisingly there hadn’t been a concours event held there for 18 years.
But thanks to the Automobile Club of Monaco, the Elégance et Automobile à Monte-Carlo has been revived—it was last held in September 2001—as part of the Rallye Monte-Carl de Voitures Anciennes. Held at the very end of June, the aim was to bring together the world’s finest automobiles from the prewar period, the 1940s through the ’60s, and the modern era. The concours is an exclusive event with only a maximum of 50 cars invited to attend.
And attend they did, with cars coming from places as far flung as Hong Kong, Japan, the United States, Australia, Canada, and Mexico. What made this concours stand out from many other similar events was the cars didn’t just sit on the grass looking pretty. During the four-day, free, and public event, the cars drove around several times, with one day dedicated for a tour on the stunning coastal roads. The cars also paraded around Casino Square to be presented to the jury and spectators, and on the last day, they all motored to the Prince’s palace for the final awards ceremony.
That Wonderful Alfa Again
In a lineup of 50 of the world’s best cars, it’s hard to pick the highlights. But it’s also impossible to ignore the 1937 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 Touring Berlinetta Coupe that’s been scooping up concours awards the world over during the past year, from Pebble Beach to Villa d’Este to the Best of the Best, giving it claim to the title of the most celebrated concours car. Refusing to break the streak, David Sydorick’s pride and joy won the “Category Bella Machine—Coupe de S.A.S. Le Prince Souverain” award. I can’t argue with the jury’s decision to give the car a trophy, as it’s certainly molto bella.
A little less bella but maybe capable of molting—and certainly just as stunning—was the Stout Scarab. Entered by Lawrence Smith from the United States, it was one of the most unique looking cars at the concours. Certainly, its almost steampunk aesthetic made it unlike anything else on the field. The Scarab, of course, closely resembles its namesake insect in design. Considered by some as the first minivan, it featured innovative features such as unibody design, the use of lightweight materials, a reconfigurable interior, and independent suspension on coil springs. Roughly five example remain in existence today, and it was a true joy to see one not just on display, but driving around, too.
Ferrari Modulo Burns
James Glickenhaus’s Ferrari Modulo is another car that has made the rounds of various concours in recent years, but the Monaco concours went a little differently for the one-off concept car. We’re sure when Glickenhaus entered the Modulo here, he wanted to bring the heat—but maybe not literally. Indeed, the racy, wedge-like concept caught fire during the tour around the coast on Friday, in part no doubt due to the heatwave that hit Western Europe in late June. But once the flames were extinguished, Glickenhaus continued driving and still put the car on display at the concours despite the damage to the rear (which you can see in the gallery). It didn’t take home any awards, but its showing did gain the respect of everyone in attendance.
Unrestored Ferrari 275 GTB/C
Among the other notable cars was this completely original and unrestored Ferrari 275 GTB/C in race spec. Seeing this car in its original glory with dents and scars on its alloy body from past competition was special. The owner, Joel Humbert from France, has owned the car since 2004 and has no plans to restore it.
Lancia Stratos Zero
Philip Sarofim’s Lancia Stratos Zero made another appearance at this concours event, too, after appearing at Villa d’Este the previous month. It took home the Prix Spécial du Jury.
Of course, for many, the highlight of the show was the appearance of the Ferrari Mythos, which has scarcely been seen in public during the past two decades. We profiled the car in this story, and the one-off concept proved it could still drop jaws just as it did when unveiled 30 years ago. It also kick-started the Sultan of Brunei’s long history of special Pininfarina commissions.
As the first such Monégasque show in more than a decade, the 2019 Elégance et Automobile à Monte-Carlo succeeded in bringing together a stunning array of the best and most exclusive cars on the planet. Given this year’s mix of quirky, rare, and downright beautiful machines, it will be interesting to see what else comes out of hiding to take one of the few slots at future iterations. To see the rest of the gorgeous machinery, be sure to check out the gallery below: