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Rolls-Royce Phantom wins Maltese concours

Pictures: Joel Saliba

An overseas entry won the Valletta Concours (2 June) in Malta for only the second time as this blossomming event inthe Mediterranean becomes ever more interntional in both its appeal and its ambition. The 2024  Best of Show was Yohan Poonawalla’s 1928 boat-tailed Rolls-Royce Phantom prototype known as 17EX. The car has a rich Indian history having previously belonged to the Maharaja Bahador of Jammu and Kashmir.

The previous overseas winner was Peter and Merle Mullins’ 1960 Citroën ID19 Le Paris, which took Best of Show in 2018.

The Maltese event, held in Valletta’s 17th century St George’s Square, reflects the car culture of the island by mixing pristine restorations of high-end classics with immaculate, often unrestored, cars that have been in one family for generations. 

In the case of the many BMC cars on view, they were often assembled from CKD kits by the entrant or a relative when new. 

The highly inclusive policy offers one of the most eclectic concours fields anywhere in the world with classics that you might equally see on the lawns at Pebble Beach or at Hagerty’s Festival of the Unexceptional. 

It is free to attend, usually sun-drenched and visited by hordes of locals and tourists.  

In 2024 for example, the entries ranged from a Ferrari 365 GT 2+2 to a Welsh police Triumph Tiger 90P motorcycle via Mini Travellers and much else bedsides. 

Other big winners in 2024 included an ex-Mille Miglia 1951 Fiat GT Zagato 750 Derivata MM, owned by Japanese enthusiast Hidetomo Kimura but kept in Italy, plus several Porsches entered from the extensive collection of local Maltese architect Chris Cachia.

One of them, a 1967 Porsche 911 S, won the restoration class from an immaculate Austin A40 Devon.

The concours is highly international in its judging as well, with a organisers John and Joel Saliba calling on a panel of 30 experts from the UK, Malta, Belgium and Italy, marshalled by Jeremy Jackson-Sytner. In 2024 they included Peter Stevens, Harm Lagaaij, Philip Porter, Richard Charlesworth, Michael Quinn and Allan Winn.

Full concours results can be found here.

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