Classic Car Showdown: Chantilly Arts & Élégance
The third edition of the Chantilly Arts & Élégance Richard Mille brought together past, present and future on the grounds of Domaine de Chantilly.
The third edition of the Chantilly Arts & Élégance Richard Mille brought together past, present and future as automotive wonders paraded through the grounds of Domaine de Chantilly. As Concours d’Elegance prize winner, the DS E-Tense, and Concours d’État winner, the Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B came together for a photo-op, the gap between past and future was clearly visible. This juxtaposition is just what Swiss watchmaking firm Richard Mille thrives on, which is precisely why it is the title sponsor of this Concours d’Elegance event. We’ll return to the two winners presently but first, a short detour.
There were hundreds of cars at the show, looking for all the world like time machines from various eras. As usual with shows like this one, including Pebble Beach and the Goodwood Revival, one imagines the owners driving off into whatever era their cars came from once the lights dim and the curtain comes down.
For the period of the show though, there are plenty of distractions, including numerous sideshows (most notably an exhibition called “The Grand Condé, rival of the Sun King?”) and famous friends and partners of Richard Mille. This year, this included FIA president Jean Todt and actor Michelle Yeoh, graffiti artist Cyril Kongo Phan, track and field star Wayde van Niekerk, and Hollywood legend John Malkovich. Of course, Mr Richard Mille himself is on hand too.
Turning our attention back to those two automotive wonders that won the main prizes, the DS E-Tense is a 400-hp electric supercar produced by Groupe PSA, parent company of Citroen. The aggressive styling will remind you of contemporary Lexus models, the BMWi8 and the Audi R8 of course. This of course is what automakers think the cars of the future will look like.
Next to its predatory profile, you might worry for the elegant Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B, which previously won Pebble Beach in 2008. Dating from 1938, this is a proper classic car – with Touring bodywork – that requires no specs to hold your attention. Long may it reign at future Concours…
Ironically, Concours d’Elegance shows were once designed for cars like the DS E-Tense – production models and concepts that pointed the way to the future. We are simply glad such events provide a space for the concepts of today to rub shoulders with their storied predecessors, which is why we took notice of it in the first place.
Other grand automobiles at the show included a bunch in tribute to Jean Todt’s 50 years (so far, the man is not retired yet) in the auto industry: the Scuderia F1, the legendary Peugeot 205T16 and the 504 Rallye Groupe 4. On the contemporary side, the Mercedes-Maybach 6 Vision was also present, scoring Public Prize or Prix Public, at the Chantilly Arts & Élégance Richard Mille 2016.