The Octane Awards, now in their seventh year, celebrate the continued growth of the classic car industry, which has flourished in large part thanks to the efforts of the nominees.
All have made an invaluable contribution to the old car scene, and the judges had an extraordinarily difficult time choosing between them. The panel’s task was not an enviable one, but I’m sure you’ll agree the winners are most deserving and their accomplishments hugely inspiring. One category was decided by you, our readers – and thank heavens for that. We couldn’t get a fag paper between the five Car of the Year candidates, each of which reflected in a different way the rude health of our corner of the motoring world.
Robert Coucher – International editor, Octane magazine
EFG is a longstanding partner of the historic motoring community, sharing the enthusiasm for motoring of many of its clients, and supports a range of leading events worldwide.
We are delighted to be associated once more with the Octane Awards, a celebration of the best in the world of historic motoring. Congratulations to all those who were shortlisted for this year’s Awards, and whose efforts in 2017 have helped the historic motoring scene continue to thrive.
Robert Crofton – Director, EFG Private Bank Limited
EFG International is a global private banking group offering both private banking and asset management services. Headquartered in Zurich, it operates in some 40 locations around the world.
WINNER: Vintage Sports-Car Club
These days the VSCC does more than just serve its members: the club has resolved to take vintage racing to a wider audience, and to that end it launched ‘Formula Vintage’ this year. The new series visited five of the UK’s best circuits, with the usual marvellous VSCC machinery complemented by a variety of first-rate guest grids courtesy of organisers such as the Historic Racing Drivers’ Club and the Historic Grand Prix Cars Association.
• Global Endurance Legends
• British Historic Kart Club
• Steam Car Club of Great Britain
• Benjafield’s Racing Club
Museum of the Year
WINNER: Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum
In 2017 the Simeone Museum made room for new attractions including an AC Cars retrospective, but most impressive has been its commitment to inspiring the car enthusiasts of tomorrow. Teachers are invited to make use of the museum’s educational resources, and Demo Days, held twice a month, give visitors the opportunity to see the Museum’s cars in action and learn more about them.
• Mullin Museum
• Petersen Museum
• Autoworld Brussels
• Barber Vintage Motorsports Museum
Specialist of the Year
Image: Tim Andrew
WINNER: AC Heritage
Steve Gray’s outfit, which owns AC’s original body bucks, has long been the go-to specialist for all things AC-related, and thus the company was entrusted with the 1955 Ace that ran in the 1956 Mille Miglia – the only Ace to contest the famous road race in period and now restored to world-class standard. AC Heritage is working to the same level as it hand-builds a small run of ‘legacy’ AC Cobras based on the very first Cobra of 1962.
• Thornley Kelham
• Envisage Group
• Rob Ida Concepts
Race Series of the Year
WINNER: Historic Grand Prix Cars Association
Founded in 1979, the HGPCA has become known as the ‘Magical History Tour’ for its power to provoke misty-eyed nostalgia in spectators. In 2017 the Association enjoyed its busiest season yet, with a programme of races celebrating GP cars built between the late 1920s and the end of the 1500cc era in 1965, with meetings held at world-class circuits including the Nürburgring.
• Historic 750 Formula (750 Motor Club)
• Pre-’65 Scottish Trial
• Canadian-American Challenge Cup
• Historic Formula Ford (HSCC)
Motor Sport Event of the Year
WINNER: Goodwood Members’ Meeting
Not as snootily exclusive as the name makes it sound – public tickets are available – but far less crowded than Goodwood Revival and with racing as good as you’ll find anywhere in the world. Highlights of the 2017 event included a huge field of Listers contesting the Scott Brown Trophy, and a poignant ‘minute of noise’ in tribute to the late John Surtees,
a Goodwood favourite.
• Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion
• Race of Gentlemen
• Internationaler Grossglockner Grand Prix
• Bernina Gran Turisimo
Motoring Event of the Year
Staged only once every two years, the Vintage Revival is an event worth waiting for: an opportunity to drive Montlhéry’s historic banked circuit, entirely informal, and always crawling with interesting and rare pre-1940 cars and bikes. Among the special features for 2017 were a celebration of the 1927 French Grand Prix and a welcome tribute to the cars of GN and Frazer Nash.
Tour of the Year
WINNER International Bugatti Meeting
As inclusive as a single-marque tour can be, this year’s International Meeting saw owners of Bugattis old and new travel together to Sardinia for a week-long road trip around the island, covering up to 170 miles each day and sampling the island’s best food and wine. Historical sites peppered the route, which was a triumph; there was not an ugly stretch of tarmac to be seen.
• Copperstate Overland
• La Leggenda di Bassano
• Colorado Grand
• The Lamborghini Miura 50th Anniversary Tour
Publication of the Year
WINNER: Mille Miglia Portraits
Written by Leonardo Acerbi and published by Giorgio Nada Editore, this mesmerising book is built around the photographs of the late Alberto Sorlini and reveals the reality of the world’s most famous road race: dirty, brutally physical and inescapably dangerous – a furnace in which heroes were forged.
• Colin Crabbe, Thrill of the Chase (Colin Crabbe, Dalton Watson)
• Peter Falk: 33 Years of Porsche (Peter Falk with Wilfried Müller, McKlein)
• The Le Mans Model Collection (Holman & Lemoigne, Porter Press International)
• Jaguar E-type Six-Cylinder Originality Guide (Dr Thomas F Haddock & Michael C Mueller, Dalton Watson)
Industry Supporter of the Year
WINNER: Mercedes-Benz Classic
Mercedes-Benz has again shared its treasures with the public in 2017, making its historic cars available at a variety of events. From Schloss Bensberg Supersports Classics to the Solitude Revival, rare and important Mercedes including the C111 have thrilled crowds, while the marque museum announced a display to mark 50 years of AMG. The manufacturer continues to offer almost unrivalled parts support to owners of classics, too.
• Royal Automobile Club
• Jaguar Land Rover Classic Works
Manufacturer Heritage Collection of the Year
WINNER: Jaguar Land Rover Classic Collection
In June, Jaguar Land Rover Classic opened its new Classic Works facility at Ryton-on-Dunsmore – a suitably impressive home for one of the world’s finest collections of British vehicles. The company’s 500-plus machines, ranging from early Land Rovers to Jaguar C-X75s, have appeared at museums and events, and the whole collection has been opened to the public as part of the Classic Works tour.
• Mercedes-Benz Classic
Performance Car of the Year (Under £100K)
WINNER: Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
Unlike many new performance cars, the Giulia Quadrifoglio manages to combine pace with lashings of personality. A thrillingly visceral machine, it blasts through its eight paddle-shiftable gears and dives through corners, and with its 2.9-litre, twin-turbo, Ferrari-related V6 – which sends a mighty 510bhp to the rear wheels – the car sounds even better than it looks.
• BMW M4 Competition Pack
• Abarth 124 Spider
• Mercedes-AMG E63 S
• Ford Focus RS
Supercar of the Year – Sponsored by JBR Capital
WINNER: McLaren 720S
With the 720S, McLaren has managed to build a moon-on-a-stick supercar: at once more practical on-road and more biddably rapid on-track than its predecessor. In fact, between the 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8 and the ‘Variable Drift Control’ – which allows the driver to gradually increase how far the electronics will allow the car to oversteer – the 212mph 720S is almost a match on the track for the raw, single-minded 675LT.
• Aston Martin DB11
• Ferrari 812 Superfast
• Bugatti Chiron
• Porsche 911 GT3
Luxury Car of the Year
WINNER: Bentley Mulsanne
The previous generation of Mulsanne was hardly a bare-bones machine, yet the Bentley team saw fit to revise the model. The updated standard and 530bhp Speed versions are opulent enough, but the new extended-wheelbase Mulsanne is a luxury car par excellence, with every one of the extra 250mm let into the rear doors, allowing passengers to make the very most of reclining seats that would look right at home in a private jet.
• Mercedes S-Class
• Range Rover SV Autobiography
• Porsche Panamera Sport Turismo
Modern Bespoke Car of the Year
WINNER: Rolls-Royce Sweptail
Its looks might be divisive, but nobody who has seen the Sweptail can fail to be impressed by the scale of its ambition – or by the quality of Rolls-Royce’s craftsmanship. ‘Probably the most expensive new car ever built,’ according to Rolls CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös, it was created for a yacht-lover (hence the tapering tail and boat-like interior woodwork) and shares only a single panel with the Phantom VII that provided the mechanicals.
• Outlaw Aurelia by Thornley Kelham
• Porsche 911 reimagined by Singer
• Mini Madgwick by Swiftune
Lifetime Achievement Award – Sponsored by Richard Mille
In one sleep-deprived week, he created a masterpiece: Leonardo Fioravanti shaped what became the Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona as a pet project, one that Enzo Ferrari was compelled to put into production in 1968. This brilliant Italian then bottled lightning a second time with the 365 GT4 BB – by which time he was in only his mid-thirties.
And he was just getting started. Fioravanti is inextricably linked with Ferrari. On joining Pininfarina in 1964, his first task was to reprofile the 250 LM’s roofline to make it more aerodynamically efficient. He followed up with the Dino 206 GT, and then the influential P5 and P6. Made director of design in 1972, he oversaw a staff of talented artists but was no mere manager: he alone penned the 308 GTB that helped establish Ferrari as a volume manufacturer.
A decade later Fioravanti became managing director of Pininfarina. During his time at the helm he outdid himself, styling the Testarossa and the 288 GTO, and co-authoring the F40. It wasn’t all exotica, though. On his watch, the design house unveiled a raft of successful mainstream production cars, from the Peugeot 205 to the Alfa Romeo 164.
Then came an offer he couldn’t refuse. In 1988, after 24 years at Pininfarina, Fioravanti joined Ferrari as general manager and director of engineering. Two years later, he moved to parent company Fiat to head the Centro Stile studio before forming the Fioravanti SRL consultancy with his sons, Luca and Matteo, in 1994 – and adding product design and architecture projects to his to-do list.
Automotive design remains his first love, however. The Geneva Motor Show has routinely witnessed the arrival of daring Fioravanti concepts, cars that foretell the future without resorting to contrivance and hokum. Each of the many cars to wear his name over the past two decades has boasted some novel feature or other that has since filtered into the mainstream; he holds some 30 patents for his innovations.
It is easy to gush about the great man’s almost peerless body of work, but Fioravanti himself wears his status as a design giant lightly. He has never stood in the spotlight – his paymasters over the years have generally preferred it that way – but you sense that this is of no consequence to the man himself.
‘For me it’s all about ideas,’ Fioravanti explains. ‘You can teach design, and there are many good schools, but refining something that already exists doesn’t move anything along. You need to explore.’
With thanks to our sponsors
Historic Endurance Rallying Organisation
Founded in 1993, HERO is a classic car club that organises classic regularity trials and touring events such as Le Jog, the RAC Rally of the Tests and the RAC 1000 Mile Trial. In 2012, HERO joined forces with the Classic Rally Association to become one of Europe’s leading rallying organisations. Today it is a one-stop shop, offering services including test days, training and car hire.
21 Gun Salute
The 21 Gun Salute is at once a vintage car gathering and a cultural tour of New Delhi. Each year India’s capital welcomes a world-class field of cars, including those with which India is often associated: the opulent coachbuilt cars of the Maharajas. Entrants gather at the Red Fort in the city for a concours, before winding their way towards the Buddh International Circuit. The 2018 event takes place on 17-18 February.
Founded by car enthusiast Richard Mille, the Jura-based manufacturer makes ‘racing machines for the wrist’ – exquisite, precision-engineered timepieces that use materials more frequently found in the aerospace industry or in the workshops of Formula 1 teams. Technical innovation and artistry continue to drive the company forward – along with Richard Mille’s enduring passion for motoring.
Footman James offers insurance solutions for the collector of classic vehicles. Sharing the passion of enthusiasts for 34 years, Footman James has been at the heart of the classic vehicle movement, and has developed a true understanding of the market. As a result it has been able to negotiate exclusive access to a specialist collectors’ product and currently arranges cover for close to £1bn-worth of classics.
JBR Capital is the UK’s only independent finance provider dedicated to high-end vehicle finance. The company offers tailored finance for classic cars, supercars and racing cars, serving both private individuals and businesses. JBR is backed by Cabot Square Capital, the specialist financial services private equity investor, and to date it has loaned over £229 million.