Held at the exclusive Hurlingham Club in Putney, London, the event is for the rich, seriously rich and downright rudely rich.
Costing a wallet-pummelling £150 for a daytime ticket, the event plays host to some of the most exclusive car manufacturers from across the world.
It’s their chance to put their wares in front of serious buyers – buyers who can write out a cheque for a £420,000 Maybach Zepplin on the spot. Or more likely get someone else to write out the cheque for them.
Bankers, playboys and sheikhs rubbed shoulders with the stars – Martin Brundle of Formula 1 BBC pitlane walk fame was there, trying out a Jaguar E-Type. And so was Jamiroquai frontman Jay Kay – the irrepressible car nut.
I was filming a bunch of cars doing a lap around the event when, as a Dodge Charger rolled by, I realised Jay Kay was the man at the wheel, cigarette in one hand and right foot firmly planted on the accelerator – as you can hear in this video!
The cars on show were incredible. Everything a performance car enthusiast could dream of were sat there, ready to be poured over.
Highlights for me included the bright orange McLaren Mercedes SLR 722S (gaudy), sitting in the back of that aforementioned Maybach (plush, with carpet like a shaggy dog), the Koeniggsegg CC8 (understated in this company), Ferrari Enzo (stunning) and the Caprao T1 (which is about the same size as an Elise, which surprised me).
There were countless classics there too. Some stunning Ferraris, from a blue Dino to a £4m California, took my eye, as did the clutch of classic Aston Martins which included a beautiful Shooting Brake (very classy).
If you were following my Tweets from the day you will have seen pics of the Lamborghini Miura, Countach and BMW M1 – sorry there weren’t more but I ran the battery out pretty quick on my iPhone…
The collection of ex-race machinery was enough to make a petrolhead go weak at the knees – by far my favourite was the 917 Gulf Porsche which was in tatty, but wonderfully original condition, and the McLaren F1 was pretty special too!
Several car manufacturers even used the event to showcase some exclusive cars.
Aston Martin’s £1.2million One-77 took centre stage in the concourse of the club and drew admiring glances from almost everyone. It really is an incredible piece of automotive design, that’s more art than machine.
The 7.3-litre V12 engine is draped in carbon fibre with gold, heat-reflecting undersides to the bonnet. The interior is just as impressive and by all accounts it certainly hit the spot with one attendee – rumour had it the model on display was sold during the day!
Rolls-Royce showcased their 200EX baby model. The Ghost isn’t so small in the metal though and is the perfect companion to the Phantom. And Jaguar put the new XJ centre stage too; it was the first time I’d seen the car up close and I was very impressed.
David Steele the marketing chief for Jaguar told me he’d been asked by one visitor: ‘’How much is this? £130k?’
That just goes to show how good it looks… You can read more about the XJ in a special feature in the next issue of Car Dealer.
Apparently visitor numbers to the show haven’t been hit by the recession either, and you can see why it’s so popular with visitors and exhibitors: It really is just one large car showroom where deals can be done.
The visitors are ready to spend, plied with free champagne and lobster lunches, which more than helps ease the credit card from their wallets.
In fact, I’d be surprised if that £1.2m One-77 was the only car sold over the three day event.
Salon Prive finishes tomorrow and tickets can be booked here. Get along if you can, if only to take a glimpse at how the other half live. Amazing.