Chantilly Concuros d 'Elegance

Chantilly 2019: A contest and three centenarians


Mario Laguna opened his chronicle of the second edition of the Chantilly Contest of Elegance mentioning La Grande Bouffe. Here he came under the name of The Great Feast, telling the story of four friends gathered around a table with the sole purpose of dying while eating. This gluttonous form of collective suicide gives way to all kinds of excesses, mixing hams and prostitutes with a Marcelo Mastronianni showered in excrement.

Beyond certain eschatological passages, Mario Laguna brought up the film because to go to Chantilly is to binge. Of classics yes. Your eyesight can collapse and each car is more special than the last. Pure lust for motor lovers. Its catalog is only comparable to Peeble beach or Villa D'este, with the merit for those of Chantilly de have reached such a level with only 5 editions.

That of this 2019 brought together some 130 models for the conservation contest, supported by the more than 700 registered in the different activities held around June 30. Main dishes like 110 years of Bugatti, el bentley centennial, 50 years of the Porsche 917 or half a century since Matra's F1 victory they accompanied shows where classics were mixed with novelties.

In fact, the latter took over the elegance contest, being the Best of the Show for the tremendous McLaren Speedtail. Something that had its counterpoint with the audience award, which chose the friendly electric ID Buggy VW for the Best of Spectators. Thus the things, the classics concentrated in the Contest of State. In Pre-War he won a 8 Bentley 1931 Liter Foursome Coupé, Whereas the Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport Coupé from 1948 He did it in Post-War.

A truly "Great feast" in which one does not know which part of the card to attack first; counting only the categories dedicated to classics, the sum is 17. In short, there is nothing left to select. Therefore we will make a menu divided into six small plates, all of them accompanied by photographs of Unai Ona. We hope we don't end up like the characters in the movie.


This 2019 is being a year of centenarians. We are seeing it with the wide media presence of those of Citroën and Bentley. But… There are a couple of French brands that are not being talked about very much. Fortunately, Chantilly was in charge of rescuing the memory of both. We are talking about Neighbour y Nerd.

The history of the first is that of a rise and fall. Or rather, that of taking off and landing, since it began in the aeronautical field to end up producing microcars. In fact, those little Voisin were the origin of the Biscuters manufactured in Catalonia between 1953 and 1960. However, between 1919 and 1939 this French company was focused on luxury cars. And what cars!

As a representative of the limousine we were able to see the spectacular C24 "Chatelain”From 1933. The stately counterpoint to sports cars with a Great Gatsby aesthetic like the C15 "Petit Duc”From 1929. Both with a 3000cc inline six-cylinder engine. However, the brand's big leap came with the C25 Aerodyne of 1935, represented with the unit that won the Pebble Beach in 2011. A true aesthetic revolution in which the concern for aerodynamics shapes a groundbreaking and light body.

chantilly 2019
C25 Aerodyne

Curiously, at that time a young man was working at Voisin André Lefèbvre. The same one that years later applied solutions similar to those of the Aerodyne in the 2CV or the DS. Just one more piece of information that shows the degree of innovation achieved by this company just before ceasing its automobile production due to financial problems.

But let's go with the Nerd. For the purists of precise chronologies, 2019 is not exactly the centenary of the brand, since it was founded in 1905 as a manufacturer of engines. However yes It was in 1919 when it began to manufacture automobiles until in 1931 Hispano-Suiza absorbed it. Focused on high-performance sports cars from the outset, the Ballot brothers built a great reputation in racing thanks to their 8-cylinder engines.

These reached up to 4900cc in models like the 5/8 LC Indianapolis, of which we could see a copy in Chantilly with models "Street" with 4-cylinder engines. Of these stood out the precious 2LT Torpedo Sport from 1924 with a very nautical rear finial, although our favorite of all the standard Ballot was the RH3 Coupé Aerosport from 1932. Bodyworked by the mythical ace of elegance Ettiene Brandone hides a 8cc 3000 cylinder. The perfect synthesis of a high-end coupe in the 30s.


There are car companies perfect for the mythomaniacs of the concrete stories. At Chantilly 2019 we were able to see two single-brand categories in this regard. We are talking about those dedicated to the Parisian Facel-Vega already the Milanese Iso rivolta. Both were short lived, but just long enough to produce some superb models.

The first one was released in 1954, surviving 10 years before closing due to an accounting in free fall. The second went from assembling scooters and microcars to building high-end sports cars; a paradox that he could only maintain from 1953 to 1978. Two parallel stories that also have another point in common: both brands used American V8 engines in abundance. Facel-Vega bought them from Chrysler, while Iso bought them from Chevrolet.

chantilly 2019
Iso Rivolta Fidia

In the Facel-Vega sample we could see several HK-500 along with some Facel II, although curiously there was no representative of the Excellence saloon. A shame, although admiring the Iso Rivolta Fidia from 1970 you were passing. Along with the typical A3 / C or Grifo 7 Liter gran turismo, this sports saloon stood out at Chantilly 2019. One of those controversial and not entirely successful cars that, perhaps for that very reason, are capable of generating curious attractions.


If we talk about the Renaissance, names like Leonardo or Michelangelo are common currency. And if we do it from Italian bodybuilders ... The name Gandini is a must. Giugiaro's successor at Bertone is responsible for some of the most spectacular designs in motorsport history, as well as key brain in the style revolution that went from curved to angular shapes.

At Chantilly 2019 they decided to celebrate their career by choosing 15 cars of which five were 1/1 prototypes. Of all the brands highlighted the collaboration with Lamborghini; so we saw a Miura P400S, an Espada 400GT and a Countach LP400. Just having designed these myths of the Gandini engine would already be a name more than recognized, but it is that models such as the Lancia Stratos, the Ferrari 308 GT4, the Alfa Romeo Montreal or the Bugatti EB110 continued to swell the list.

Seeing all these supercars together is breathtaking, although what definitely ended up delivering the blow to the viewer was the Alfa Romeo Carabo. Even without a body, this vehicle would be a real gem, since it is based on the chassis and engine of a Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale. However, to this must be added the incredible design exercise that its lines entailed in 1968. Along with the Ferrari Module and Lancia Stratos Zero the Carabo is the start of a design revolution that would change the concept of supercars for two decades. In fact, some consider Carabo to be the main responsible for the phenomenon. And well, looking at the chronology ... You have to agree with them.

One of the great jewels of motorsports, which rarely comes out of the Museo Storico Alfa Romeo. Next to the Carabo we could see in Chantilly the impressive Citroën GS Camargue from 1972 y Autobianchi Runabout from 1969. A team of prototypes finished off by the recreation of the lost Garmisch made by BMW Group Classic - which we already saw in Villa D'Este - and the Rainbow. Model proposed to Ferrari on the basis of a 308GT4.


The fans of the English motor could not see their expectations disappointed in Chantilly 2019. Five single-brand categories were designed for them in which we saw some of the best examples of elegance and sportsmanship "made in the UK”. The strongest were those dedicated to celebrating Bentley's centennial. In the one focused on their prewar models, the 8 Liter Foursome Coupé from 1931 winner of the state contest - what is said a "car”In its most splendid definition- and the 4 ½ Liter Le Mans Sport Tourier from 1928. A sports car reminiscent of the Bentley boys through and through.

In the post-World War II Bentley category we are fed up with seeing a most striking type of car: the always spectacular Bentley Coupé. They highlighted a 1955 Type R Continental Fastback and a 1948 Mark VI Cresta bodied by Farina. Already in a much less bombastic size, attendees at Chantilly 2019 were able to immerse themselves in the golden age of Aston Martin with the two samples designed for it.

At Aston Martin "Voitures Fermees”Highlighted a DB4 Zagato -to the thread of this, to say that he took the opportunity to present the replicas made this year- and in "Vouitres Ouvertes" un 1 DBR1959. One of those little barchettas in which the pilot really played the guy driving a 6cc inline 3000-cylinder on a saddle reduced to the minimum expression. The expression of the style "racing”British, which was also demonstrated with the category dedicated to McLaren racing.

chantilly 2019
McLaren M8C DFV

9 units including the MP4 / 13 for the 1 F1998 season by Mika Häkkinen or the 1 F1995 GTR, a true icon for enthusiasts. However, the one who most dazzled us was the 8 M1970C DFV. A V8 Cosworth with all the flavor of a seventies endurance race.


The Grand Palais Cars category comprised only 9 units. However, this small selection is worth highlighting because in it we find some of the most remarkable cars of Chantilly 2019. Beyond two recurring Mercedes 300 SL -one roadster and another Gullwing- the most impressive was the Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport Coupe from 1948 bodied by Figoni and Falaschi. A regular of the best world elegance contests, in which he always draws attention thanks to his style ... We don't know, he really is unclassifiable.

Following in the wake of curious specimens, in the category we also find a precious 166 Ferrari 1950 Inter Stabilimenti Farina Cabriolet. A "pony”From the first period equipped with one of the typical V12s of the time, although wrapped in the form of a civilized convertible instead of a rabid barchetta. Another oddity was the Arnolt-Bristol Deluxe Hardtop from 1956; the hybrid to four countries with a most interesting story.

To finish reviewing the appearance of a Pegaso Z102. The quintessential Spanish sports car that in Chantilly was represented by a ENASA Coupé unit from 1951 currently in the hands of Johan Van Puyvelde. Oh, there was also a 302 Peugeot 1937 Roadster Darl'Mat bodied by Pourtout. One of the best Peugeot has ever presented. What ingredients were in this dish!


At this point, it is quite possible that the same thing happened to us as to the protagonists of the film with which we began this review of Chantilly 2019. We have to discreetly loosen our belts and it is difficult for us to stay in the chair. Binge eating is indisputable. But anyway, this is the level of the Chantilly Contest of Elegance. Incontestable and devastating.

Like all food, this chronicle has to be finished off with some elements typical of the after-dinner table. In this sense we could refer to the category with japanese sports (there was a 2000 Toyota 1969GT) or selections of classics in prewar and postwar home state. However, we can be mythomania for the Porsche 917, of which this 2019 is 50 years old.

Of the three units present, the 917 Langheck "Martini”From 1971 from the Museum of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The model's swan song at Le Mans before heading to America to sweep the Can-Am. A perfect ending to this "Great feast" which was the 2019 Chantilly Contest of Elegance.

What do you think?

Miguel Sánchez

Written by Miguel Sánchez

Through the news from La Escudería, we will travel the winding roads of Maranello listening to the roar of the Italian V12; We will travel Route66 in search of the power of the great American engines; we will get lost in the narrow English lanes tracking the elegance of their sports cars; We will speed up the braking in the curves of the Monte Carlo Rally and we will even get dusty in a garage while rescuing lost jewels.


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