India’s 21 Gun Salute International Vintage Car Rally & Concours Show 2018

You may recall I attended, judged and co-emceed the 21 Gun Salute Concours in 2017, and thoroughly enjoyed the ride. the country, the food, the cars, and the people. For a variety of reasons which don’t matter here, I was unable to return for the 2018 version which took place again in New Delhi in early February. I have many friends that did attend and participate on a variety of levels, and they reported back that the show has moved to a new and better locale on a golf course still in the shadow of the iconic India Gate and other important local monuments. There were more cars, and more cars of higher quality, so that makes a more interesting show of course.

Show organizer Madan Mohan shared with me a portfolio of photos simply too interesting not to  pass along to you.

This multi day event is a great blend of international cars and people.  There are cars on show built all around the world, and from all the great marques you’ll recognize, and a few you won’t.  Some live in India, some are shipped in from any- and everywhere — This is truly an international happening.  I particularly enjoy and appreciate the always warm and friendly Indian people’s passion for their cars; American cars and Americans seem particularly popular there, and last year I enjoyed hearing stories of old Fords and Chevys being bought new in the 30s, 40s or whenever and kept in the same family since then, now owned by and often restored by the grandkids and great grandkids of their original owners.

India’s motoring history is a long and rich one, from the hunters and explorerers that travelled India by car and truck a century ago, to many magnificent high line luxury and touring cars owned by the oft wealthy Maharajas and Maharinas of the day.  Sharing this country’s deep motoring history is one of the main goals of this event, and all credit to Mr. Mohan to making this among his life’s passion pursuits.

Lots of photos to follow…

and doubleclick on any image to see it full screen

The ribbon cutting to open the show is done with deserving fanfare, as are most other “sense of occasion” events in India. Most charming. And the show and its sponsors absorbe the cost of the event, so there is no ticket of spectator entry fee.


The international judging team is formally introduced and presented to the participants and attendees, and include some of the most knowledgeable judges and automotive experts in the world.


Among the more enjoyable aspects of the event are cultural dance and costume demonstrations which demonstrate the song, dance, costume and tradition of Indian performance. These women are beautiful, poised, and highly talented.


This lovely dancer strikes the famous James Bond “Octapussy” pose, with a little help from the hands and arms of a few friends


The new golf course location is particularly attractive and suited to this event, with better grass areas than the previous park location, plenty of room, a lovely lake, and lighting


No need to spread out your blanket to claim a spot from which to watch the awards presentations, as the 21 Gun Salute organizers truck in dozens of comfy white leather couches for the benefit of participants and guests (so typical of India’s emphasis on hospitality.)


This fabulous 1908 Rolls-Royce Silver Dawn was this event’s best of show winner two years ago, returning again to support the 21 Gun Salute Concours effort. It belongs to Robert Gaines-Cooper of the UK, one of the world’s foremost Rolls-Royce collectors


Heavy Hardware: the prizes at 21 GSC are fabulous cut glass vases, no repurposed plywood and brass bowling trophies for this now world class event!


The show also promotes its on art show and contest; contestants of all ages, experience, and talent levels must begin with a blank canvas at the beginning of the show, select the car or scene of their choice, then paint it on site — some of the work is truly artworthy


Magnificent Bentley Tourer lives large on the concours grounds, with the Iconic India Gate monuments just behind


As if you couldn’t find enough things to do with cars during this busy weekend, the 21 Gun Salute organizers host a fabulous road tour which breaks the show cars out of static display and puts them on the roads visiting all manner of local landmarks. And if you think that big blue ’59 Plymouth looks large on these roads, next to other cars, trust me — it is


Mr. Gaines-Cooper’s 1965 Rolls-Royce Mulliner/Park Ward Fixed Head Coupe also looks impressive and imposing on this or any road. This model, long ago, garnered the unfortunate nickname “Chinese Eye” Rolls, not exactly sensitive or politically correct these days, but the name has somehow stuck


Prime Mover Madan Mohan, center wearing red tie, gives tours to various dignitaries and local officials; he’s the epicenter of all that happens here, and should be very proud of what he and his teams have accomplished on the world automotive stage


This automotive festival is nothing if not colorful. Beautiful 1942 Buick Super Eight Special rolls up to the ramp to collect its prizes


The concours this year presented two Best of Show winners, one for “International Best of Show” meaning the overall winner that traveled from another country to participate, and none would be more worthy than this Chapron=bodies 1936 Delage D8-120 Cabriolet belonging to Petersen Automotive Museum Board Chairman Peter Mullin. A winner anywhere it goes


Best of Show winner among India based entrants was this highly deserving 1937 Rolls-Royce 25/30 with long, elegant open Gurney-Nutting coachwork belonging to Mr. D. Gidwaney. And yes it really was dark by the time the last awards were handed out, so being on the lighted golf course proved a perfect move


The entire 21 Gun Salute Concourse event switches to a bi-yearly schedule as of 2018, and will return in 2020…and so will I.