The Happy Hypocrite!
Before the pandemic, I was invited to be a judge at the Valletta Concours d’Elegance, which was subsequently postponed twice but finally took place on Sunday, 29 May.
Now I am not a ‘concours man’ (I am all for driving our cars), but I had never been to Malta and was keen to repair that omission which is why I accepted the kind invitation.
In spite of the trauma of a connecting flight in both directions, the first flight out and back being late taking off and all the ghastliness associated with flying at the moment, I somehow made it there, arriving on the Friday and returning on the Monday.
The event was superb, thanks to the stunning Valletta architecture and some very fine cars. Not surprisingly, I was to judge the Jaguars and the standards were very high. I am told there are 15,000 classic cars on Malta, which seems hard to believe, but of one thing there is no question: the standard of local restoration work is exceptional.
I was kept busy, together with my fellow judges, judging not only those Jaguars entered into the Jaguar Class, but also a sprinkling entered into other classes, such as Post-War 1945-1960, Sports Cars 1945-1980 and Elegance.
Above: Superbly restored 1963 3.8 E-type of Anthony Camilleri, a deserving winner of the Jaguar Class up to 1980.
The first three places in the Jaguar Class were taken by a superbly restored Fixed Head 3.8 E-type, which also took the Best Jaguar E-type award, a delightfully original 4.2 E-type FHC, and the last 3½-litre SS Jaguar 100 to be made.
Above: The immaculate 1939 SS Jaguar 100 that placed third in the Jaguar Class.
An XK 150 FHC took the Best Restored Car award and a 140 FHC won the Post-War Class.
Above: Chris Cachia’s 1955 Jaguar XK 140 scored a very high 78 out of a possible 80 points to win the Post-War Class 1945-1960.
A DB4 took the Elegance Class (with a most stylish convertible Citroën Traction Avant second), and other winners included a Ford Capri, Humber Super Snipe Limousine, Ferrari 208, and a delightful 1969 Morris Mini Traveller won the Popular Classic Class.
Above: Best Historic Car Award went to this superbly presented 1967 Humber Super Snipe.
Best in Show went to the massive, stunning Cadillac Phaeton V16 which towered over all the other entrants.
Above: First in the Pre-War Class up to 1942 and Best in Show was Hans Emeren’s 1930 Cadillac Phaeton V16 4380 All Weather.
With superb weather, fabulous surroundings, a most delightful bunch of fellow judges (including notable car designers Peter Stevens and Louis de Fabribeckers as well as Octane Editor-in-Chief James Elliott), and a very diverse selection of cars (loved the Fiat Jolly!), this was an exceptional event and I was very happy to be a complete hypocrite!
Above: Delightful, and very rare, Fiat 500 Jolly Giardiniera which was based on the extended platform estate version of the 500.
Other articles by Philip Porter