The YanQi Island Concours D’Elegance is held on a peninsular island in the manmade Yan Qi Hu or YanQi lake at the grounds of the Kempinski Hotel. The hotel and lake have been used for the G20 Energy meeting in China in 2016 and several other high profile meetings and hence should be regarded as ‘top of the bill’.
Located about an hour north of Beijing and close to the Chinese (or Great) Wall, the end of September timeframe is ideal for this venue. The temperatures are nice, in the mid-20-ies, while a nice cool-down in the evening refreshes things for the next day.
Three ‘factory teams’ brought cars to the venue, Jaguar – Landrover, Skoda, and Audi while some new vehicles where speckled around the grounds such as the brand new Bentley Mulsanne, a Lamborghini URUS and several new Jaguar models. It underlines the importance of the event and shows that a number of brands see the value of bringing their history under the attention of potential customers.
Unfortunately, 2 special vehicles were delayed due to a hurricane that hit the Shanghai area just before the event. The SS-1 and XKSS Jaguars could not be unloaded due to the hurricane and the resulting high pressure on the port authorities with hundreds of ships waiting to load- and unload once the hurricane was over. We are sure these vehicles would have added to the whole event but nature cannot be forced but they were dearly missed.
Vehicles were brought to the event from Shanghai and Hong Kong as well as local collectors living in or near Beijing that came along. Being a car collector and driver of a historic vehicle in China is not easy. Several laws prevent the use of older vehicles on the road and importing older vehicles fall under the category of ‘used vehicles’, something that the Chinese law does not allow. A recent change in the law now allows for the import of vehicles that are 100 years and older as cultural items, however, the full extent of this law is not yet clear so if this also includes usage on the road is not confirmed yet.
Despite these issues, we were treated to some very nice examples such a 1956 Cadillac Eldorado Seville, 356 Porches, several Ford Mustangs, 2 Citroën VC2’s, Nissan Skyline, etc. Maintaining and driving these cars can be a challenge in every country, in China, the added difficulties of finding spares and qualified mechanics add a whole new dimension to our hobby.
With 3 factory teams participating, the judges had a hard time awarding the prices in the many categories. Should we take into account the local situation versus the easier access to spares and knowledge of the factory vehicles or not? This question played a role during the judging but we are happy to say that despite this, the final outcome of the whole event found approval amongst all participants during the prize-giving ceremony. Best of show was a 1972 Audi Coupe-S with less than 100.000km on the clock, still with original paint and interior so it would have been a contender for a FIVA preservation award! The YanQi Island Concours D’Elegance was closed with a nice dinner in the Kempinski hotel, on the evening of Mid- Autumn as you can see from the picture of the full moon rising over the lake.
Should you consider participating in this event next year, do consider to stay a little longer and join the Great Wall Classic Rally that starts the day after the YanQi Island Concours D’Elegance, see more on this further down. Bringing your vehicle to China sounds more difficult than it is, several companies are specialized in the temporary import of your vehicle, providing services for short-term insurance and a quick roadworthiness test. These companies will also organize transport from Shanghai to YanQi Island. A Chinese driver license will be needed to operate your vehicles during the rally but excellent connections between the organizers and the authorities make this a smooth process too.