The most refined motor show on earth

A motor show is normally held in a massive exhibition hall with huge stands from all the big manufacturers. Not this one

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Cars fit for a king

Salon Privé is a motor show, but not as we know it. Instead of the usual massive exhibition hall in a big city, this one is held in the gardens of a palace, and the atmosphere is as genteel as the immaculately manicured lawns. The venue is Blenheim Palace in England, and your host is the Duke of Marlborough (and out-and-out petrolhead, despite his aristocratic title).

While the accent is firmly on the cars, there's also a touch of the garden party to the whole experience. Even with strict social distancing measures in place this year, guests still got to enjoy individual luxury hampers, along with English Afternoon Tea and Pommery Champagne.

While Salon Privé is the name of the whole event, there are other smaller sub-shows within the main show, each focussing on a particular automotive theme. For the sixth consecutive year, Pirelli was a sponsor of Salon Privé, showcasing the ‘evolution of the supercar' at the Salon Privé Masters. This was a stunning display demonstrating how supercars have changed over the years, from the ‘swinging 60s' to the ‘futuristic 00s'. One thing all these cars have in common is their looks. The supercar has always been a technical and aesthetic object of desire – and that will always be the case well into the future as well.

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A spectacular line-up

In total, there were around 1000 cars on display at Blenheim, ranging from early classics to state-of-the-art supercars. One of the most appealing things about Salon Privé, apart from the breath-taking surroundings, is the sheer variety of machinery that can be found there: from concept cars to re-imagined classics.

It's really hard to pick a favourite – you inevitably end up choosing four or five – but one car that really stood out was the Ares ProgettoUno. If this new car looks a bit familiar, that's because it's a fantastic re-imagining of the 1970s Pantera: a mesmerising combination of curves and right angles.

For those looking for something entirely modern, it was hard to look beyond the stunning Ferrari SF90: a plug-in hybrid from Maranello that puts out an astonishing 1000 horsepower and looks a bit like a fighter jet. On the other hand, there was the European debut of the stunning, limited edition Rolls-Royce Ghost Zenith. The Rolls-Royce Ghost Zenith will be a true collector's item with just 50 of these extraordinary motor cars being made available by the marque.

Reaching a decision as to which is your favourite car always represents the hardest part of Salon Privé. Just scroll through some of the photos in the gallery above to make your choice. We guarantee that it won't be easy.

Cars and more

Of course, Salon Privé isn't just about cars. There are also several merchandise stalls that sell literally everything from helicopters to personalised travel rugs. A number of the cars at Salon Privé are also for sale, so you could come away with the best souvenir of all if your bank balance is feeling healthy. Nevertheless, you don't have to have a colossal budget to enjoy a real classic.

Parked right outside Pirelli's lounge was the smallest but perhaps most iconic Italian car of them all: the classic Fiat 500, first introduced in 1957. Pirelli has reissued tyres for the original 500 as part of the Collezione family: combining vintage looks with modern technology.

Inside the Pirelli lounge, there was a nod to all elements of our iconic brand. From natural rubber to our highly technological tyres. Speed and style were captured from the motorcycling world with a MV Agusta Dragster 800 RR Pirelli edition on display. A stylish road bike wearing Pirelli P Zero Velo tyres represented cycling and some Replicat Pirelli trainers made by Puma showcased Pirelli Design fashion.

Salon Privé is the epitome of style and luxury: two concepts that match up perfectly to what the world of Pirelli is all about. And that was also exemplified by Pirelli's collaboration with Swiss watch firm Roger Dubuis to produce the Excalibur skeleton watch: another stunning piece of intricate mechanical sculpture spotted at Salon Privé.