Category archives: Concours & Events

Al Unser Jr. set for Goodguys Autocross for Kids program

Speedway_Chevelle
Unser Jr will be behind the wheel of Speedway’s G-Comp ’65 Nova at select 2015 Goodguys events | Photo from Goodguys

Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Al Unser Jr. will participate in the Goodguys Rod & Custom Association’s Autocross for Kids program in 2015,  Speedway Motors, the official speed shop of Goodguys, has announced. Continue reading

1940 ‘Mille Miglia’-winning BMW 328 at Amelia Island

The streamlined BMW 328 was the resounding winner of the revised 1940 Mille Miglia | BMW archive
The streamlined BMW 328 was the resounding winner of the revised 1940 Mille Miglia | BMW archive

The 20th annual Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance will feature a BMW 328 that holds a special, if somewhat peculiar place in the history of motorsport. The fabled Mille Miglia-winning 1940 “Mille Miglia” Il Gran Premio Brescia Della aerodynamic coupe bodied by Touring of Milan will be the anchor of the BMW 328 class at the Florida concours Sunday. Continue reading

Cassini’s Minerva best in show at Boca Raton concours

9th Annual Boca Raton Concours on the Green
1930 Minerva AL owned by Margie and Joseph Cassini III of West Orange, New Jersey won best in show honors at the event | Photo provided by Boca Raton Concours d’Elegance/ Robert Stolpe

Cadillac and the 50th anniversary of the Ford Mustang were the features of the ninth annual Boca Raton Concours d’Elegance in Florida, but it was a 1930 Minerva AL owned by Margie and Joseph Cassini III of West Orange, New Jersey that drove off with best in show honors at the event. Continue reading

Arizona Concours d’Elegance sets date, classes for 2016

The view from the roof of the Arizona Biltmore during January’s Arizona Concours | Ken Bryant
The view from the roof of the Arizona Biltmore during January’s Arizona Concours | Ken Bryant

The third-annual Arizona Concours d’Elegance at the historic Arizona Biltmore Resort will take place Sunday, January 24, 2016, serving once again as the start of and a focal point for the annual Classic Car Week in the Phoenix/Scottsdale area. Continue reading

Stirling Moss book to debut at Amelia Island Concours

Stirling MossThe honored-guest appearance of legendary race driving Stirling Moss at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance on March 15 will be highlighted by the debut of his new book, My Racing Life.

Advance copies of the autobiography, co-written by Simon Taylor and published by Evro Publishing in the UK, are being flown in for concours guests to  peruse before it goes on sale in North America in September.

Continue reading

Lane Motor Museum re-creates visionary Dymaxion Car, will debut at Amelia Island Concours

 A replica of Buckminster Fuller’s unique vehicle was built by Lane museum staff | Lane Motor Museum
A replica of Buckminster Fuller’s unique vehicle was built by Lane museum staff | Lane Motor Museum

When Buckminster Fuller, one of the most creative and visionary minds of the 20th Century, directed his vast intellect toward the design of an automobile, the result was an utterly unique expression of mobility the likes of which the world had not seen before, or since.

The futuristic Dymaxion Car that appeared in 1933 defied all notions of convention or even normalcy. It was distinctively shaped like a raindrop for maximum aerodynamics at a time when boxy cars with upright windshields, flared fenders and running boards were the standard. The cantilevered chassis carried two fixed wheels in front and one in the back that steered like the tiller of a boat.

Fuller shows Dymaxion Car at 1933 Chicago World’s Fair | Buckminster Fuller Institute
Dymaxion Car at 1933 Chicago World’s Fair | Buckminster Fuller Institute

Although the Ford V8 engine was mounted in the rear, the car had front-wheel drive. The steering position was placed ahead of the front wheels, with the driver’s inputs directed back to the single rear wheel. The car could pull a U turn in the smallest of confines.

How odd the Dymaxion Car must have seemed to people back then, and how odd it still seems today. But it was a paragon of efficiency: The car could carry 11 people, and it could achieve 30 miles per gallon and a top speed of 90 miles per hour.

And Fuller’s unique car still fascinates. The Lane Motor Museum in Nashville announced Tuesday that after eight years of effort, the museum’s restorers and technicians had succeeded in creating a replica of the first Dymaxion Car, which will be put on display starting Thursday.

Schematic drawings of Dymaxion Car | Buckminster Fuller Institute
Schematic drawings of Dymaxion Car | Buckminster Fuller Institute

Fuller succeeded in building three prototypes of the Dymaxion Car, just one of which survives today at the National Automobile Museum in Reno, Nevada.

“The Dymaxion just makes sense for us to have at the (Lane Motor Museum),” said Jeff Lane, director of the museum that uses the slogan, “Unique Cars from A to Z.”

“The design is well ahead of its time and its looks definitely fit the uniquely different philosophy we build our collection around,” Lane said.  “After doing lots of research, we decided that Dymaxion #1 was the best fit for the museum, and now it’s here.”

In honor of Fuller’s dynamic contribution to automotive history, Jeff Lane will drive the Dymaxion Car replica from the museum in Nashville to northern Florida to make its debut March 15 at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.

Fuller used the invented word “dymaxion” for a number of projects to describe his design philosophy of “doing more with less.” The futurist is best remembered outside of scientific circles for his groundbreaking geodesic dome that became an architectural staple.

Preserved 1930 Cord L-29 Town Car joins Bonhams’ Amelia Island auction

The 1930 Cord L-29 is in remarkable condition for an 86-year-old unrestored survivor | Bonhams photos
The 1930 Cord L-29 is in remarkable condition for an 85-year-old unrestored survivor | Bonhams photos

Bonhams has landed an exceptional true classic for its inaugural auction in March at Amelia Island, Florida: A rare 1930 Cord L-29 Town Car that recently was rediscovered after more than 55 years of private ownership, during which it only rarely was seen in public.

The Cord is in all-original, unrestored condition, according to Bonhams, and is one of just four known survivors that were bodied as chauffeur-driven town cars. This one with dramatic coachwork by Murphy and Company of California is the sole short-wheelbase version.

The Cord also has apparent Hollywood provenance, believed to have been owned by early film star Dolores Del Rio, a Mexican-born actress who appeared in major motion pictures alongside such legends as Jimmy Stewart, Bette Davis, Sophia Loren, Anthony Quinn, Omar Sharif, Orson Welles and Elvis Presley. The car is known as the Dolores del Rio Cord, although the connection has never been definitively determined.

The Cord boasts a reputed Hollywood connection
The Cord boasts a reputed Hollywood connection

Bonhams’ first auction held in conjunction with the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance takes place March 12 at the nearby Fernandina Beach Golf Club in Fernandina Beach, Florida. The 20th annual Amelia Island Concours will be held on Sunday, March 15.

The Cord L-29 was introduced in 1929 as the brand’s first production automobile, a highly innovative luxury machine boasting the first front-wheel-drive system in a U.S. passenger car, just beating front-drive rival Ruxton to market.

Long and low, the L-29 created a sensation when it debuted in June, but the timing for a pricey luxury car was unfortunate as the stock-market crash that would usher in the Great Depression happened just five months later. Production of the L-29 ceased at the end of 1931, with a total of around 5,000 cars sold in a number of configurations, including the small number with coachbuilt bodies.

Cord is best-remembered today for its later revival effort that produced the groundbreaking 810 and 812 models of the late 1930s, with strikingly modernistic styling that included concealed headlights and so-called “coffin-nose” hood and grille. The Cord Corporation, which included the iconic Auburn and Duesenberg brands, did not survive the Depression years.

Only four Cord L-29s were bodied as custom town cars
Only four Cord L-29s were bodied as custom town cars

But in its day, the L-29 reigned as one of the era’s most glamorous and forward-looking American cars, and the Murphy-bodied Town Car at Bonhams is among the most special of Cords.

The Cord comes from the estate of Jay Hyde, a Pacific Northwest collector who obtained the car in 1959, then carefully preserved it and only sparingly took it out of the garage. Its most well-known appearance was at the 1987 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, where it was shown in a featured class of custom-bodied Cords.

Hyde died in 2014, after which the Cord was consigned to Bonhams for its Amelia Island sale. The Cord L-29 Town Car, expected to achieve a seven-figure sale, is among the premier offerings at Bonhams’ Florida auction.

Among the other top Bonhams cars are:

A 1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Transformable Phaeton originally owned by actress Marlene Dietrich.

A 1911 EMF Model 30 Factory Racer.

A 1908 American Underslung 50HP Roadster.

A 1934 Mercedes-Benz 500K four-passenger tourer.

A 1936 Wanderer W25K Roadster.

A 1932 Stutz DV32 Super Bearcat Convertible.

A 1962 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL roadster.

A 1992 Ferrari F40, the last U.S.-spec F40 built.

Bonhams announced in July that it would establish a new auction during the events preceding the famed Amelia Island Concours. The British auction house joins RM-Sotheby’s on March 14 at the Ritz Carlton resort and Gooding & Company on March 13 at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation in presenting an upscale selection of collector cars for sale.

Hollywood Wheels holds its second Amelia Island auction March 13-14 at the Omni Plantation, with an all-Porsche sale on the first day.

Mazda gets ‘central feature’ display at 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed

Mercedes cars soared over Goodwood House in Central Feature a year ago | Goodwood photos
Mercedes cars soared over Goodwood House in Central Feature a year ago | Goodwood photos

Many classic car events, from concours to vintage races, designate a featured marque, focusing attention on a particular automaker and its historic vehicles, perhaps Porsche or Duesenberg or the designs by Pininfarina. At the annual Goodwood Festival of Speed, they have a Central Feature, a spectacular Ferris-wheel-sized piece of art that literally elevates automobiles as true art.

At the Festival of Speed this year, the Central Feature will display Mazda and its Skyactiv technology.

Rotary-powered Mazda won at Le Mans in 1991
Rotary-powered Mazda won at Le Mans in 1991

The artwork, which towers above the Goodwood House. has yet to be revealed, but it again will be done by Gerry Judah.

“The theme for this year’s Festival of Speed is ‘Flat-Out and Fearless: Racing on the Edge,’ and Mazda’s continual push to reject engineering conventions and strive for something unique perfectly aligns with this philosophy,” Lord March, host of the Festival of Speed and other events at Goodwood, said in a news release announcing Mazda’s selection.

“We are delighted to be celebrating Mazda’s motorsport achievements and pioneering road-car technologies with the Central Feature, and to help it showcase its brand-new cars to an international community of car enthusiasts and the world’s automotive media – an audience that only Goodwood can attract.”

“Mazda has a long and proud heritage in racing, and through motorsport has demonstrated its engineering challenger spirit through the rotary engine, its Le Mans win and the LMP2 SKYACTIV diesel prototype currently racing in the United States,” responded Jeremy Thompson, managing director of Mazda Motors UK.

“This spirit is also encompassed by both our historical and current road cars, being the only manufacturer to perfect the rotary engine, the only manufacturer to use the Millar Cycle engine, and the manufacturer who developed the world’s smallest V6 engine.

Alfa Romeo 'feature' included fireworks in 2008
Alfa Romeo ‘feature’ included fireworks in 2008

“We were also the manufacturer who defied convention by bringing an affordable two-seat sports car to market when all other manufacturers were deserting that market segment.

“Mazda also has more cars, and cars with Mazda engines, racing each weekend in the United States than any other manufacturer, and it is all these landmarks and achievements that we will be celebrating at Goodwood this year.”

The temporary landmark that will celebrate Mazda will be designed by Judah, a descendent of the Jewish community in Iraq who was born in India and educated in England.

Judah’s website said as a youngster he drew “imaginary landscapes, architectural fantasies and futuristic cars.”

He combines those elements in his annual Central Feature at Goodwood. Mazda is the 14th automaker to be featured in one of his works at the festival. Mazda celebrates its 95th anniversary in 2015 and is the only Japanese automaker to have won the 24 Hours of Le Mans race (in 1991).

The 2015 Goodwood Festival of Speed is scheduled June 25-28. It’s billed as “the world’s largest automotive garden party” with more than 600 cars and motorcycles showcasing the history of motoring and motor sports. Events include the Festival of Speed Hillclimb, a Moving Motor Show, Forest Rally Stage, Michelin Supercar Run, Goodwood Action Sports, Cartier ‘style-et-luxe’ concours d’elegance, an aviation exhibition and a Bonhams auction.

 

Exotic Lancia rally racers star at Amelia Island Concours

The 1983 Lancia 037 was one of the hottest entries in World Rally Championship | Campion Collection photos
The 1983 Lancia 037 was one of the hottest entries in World Rally Championship | Campion Collection photos

A group of four significant Lancia rally cars that raced in the grueling World Rally Championship will headline a featured class at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in March.

The exotic Italian racers, all from the Campion Collection in Jacksonville, Florida, exemplify the extreme WRC creations from the 1970s through the 1990s. Such cars competed in high-speed runs against the clock in any kind of weather, on paved and unpaved public roads, and during the day and night.

The 1988 Lancia Delta Integrale racing in Portugal
The 1988 Lancia Delta Integrale racing in Portugal

The Lancia Rally Cars Class at the 20th annual Amelia Island Concours will be featured among more than 300 classic cars at the event March 15 at The Golf Club of Amelia Island at the Ritz-Carlton. The concours weekend starts March 13 with special events, shows and collector-car auctions.

“Rallying is extraordinarily popular across Europe,” said Bill Warner, founder and chairman of the concours. “Today, American motorsport fans are seeing the appeal of rallying. A big part of that is because rally cars are spectacular. They’re the triathletes of motorsport.”

The four WRC cars being showcased from the Campion Collection are:

An elegant 1969 Lancia Fulvia, which launched Lancia’s reign of WRC domination during the final decades of the 20th Century.

The 1975 Lancia Stratos was designed especially for WRC
The 1975 Lancia Stratos was designed specifically for WRC

A 1975 Lancia Stratos, a top competitor from the group of 1970s rally cars specially designed to win World Rally Championships, which Stratos racers accomplished three times.

A 1983 Lancia 037, a multiple rally-winning example of the supercharged champions from the infamous, flame-spitting Group B era of the 1980s. A 037 was the last rear-wheel-drive car to win the World Rally Championship.

A 1988 Lancia Delta Integrale, designed after Group B was outlawed to become the Italian marque’s most-successful WRC cars, winning six manufacturers championships and 46 rally victories, a record that still stands.

The attractive 1969 Fulvia began Lancia’s WRC domination
The attractive 1969 Fulvia began Lancia’s WRC domination

In true World Rally tradition, the four eye-catching Lancia race cars will be driven in convoy March 12 from John Campion’s Jacksonville collection to Amelia Island, where they will be on display before and during the concours d’elegance.

Stirling Moss, who was the first honored guest for the inaugural Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in 1996, returns as honored guest for the 20th anniversary concours, which includes a class titled Sir Stirling Moss’ Famous Racers. His history of rally racing also will be highlighted: Moss finished second in the 1952 Monte Carlo Rally, his international rally debut, and he won a coveted Coupe des Alpes that summer with a perfect score in the 2,057-mile Alpine Rally.

The Florida concours is famous for its creative featured classes. This year, beside the classes for Lancia rally cars and cars raced by Moss, it will include classes for Cars of the Cowboys, with custom cars once owned by well-known classic Western film stars; Orphan Concept Cars from now-defunct marques; pre-war BMW 328 sports cars; Chrysler Town and Country woodies; Porsche 914 and its variations;  Hot Rods – East Meets West; and Mercedes-Benz SL 500 Rally, featuring one of the cars prepared by the German automaker for WRC but which never ran in competition.

 

A Lancia Stratos rounds a dusty corner during 1970s nighttime competition
The Lancia Stratos rounds a dusty corner during 1970s nighttime competition

Desert Concorso gets new home, date and partner

The inaugural Desert Concorso was held at a golf course | Larry Edsall photos
The inaugural Desert Concorso was held at a golf course | Larry Edsall photos

Desert Concorso has found a new home, a new date and a new partner for its second classic and exotic car showcase.

The first Desert Concorso, staged by the same people who do the Concorso Italiano on the Monterey Peninsula in August, was held in the early spring of 2014 at a golf resort in Palm Desert, California. This year, the event will take place the weekend of November 14-15 in Palm Springs.

The Desert Concorso organizers also have struck an alliance with Keith McCormick and his McCormick’s Palm Springs Collector Car Auction, which is held the following weekend. The concorso, auction and Palm Springs civic and tourism officials anticipate that the bookend events  soon will grow into a full week of car-related events in the not-too-distant future.

Copperstate vintage rally in Phoenix launches from spring training baseball stadium
Copperstate vintage rally in Phoenix launches from spring training baseball stadium

Although it has not been announced officially, the Desert Concorso website reveals that the event will take place at Palm Springs Stadium, a baseball field originally constructed as the spring training home of the Los Angeles Angels, at the time owned by Palm Springs resident and cowboy entertainment star Gene Autry.

Anticipate confirmation of that, as well as more details about the various car classes, in the next two or three weeks. In the meantime, car owners who are interested in showing their vehicles at the event can contact concorso organizers by email at dc@concorso.com or by visiting the concorso booth at McCormick’s spring auction which takes place February 20-22 at the Spa Resort Casino in downtown Palm Springs.

Desert Concorso will be the second significant classic and collector car event held in a baseball field setting. For several years, the annual Copperstate 1000 vintage car rally in Arizona has launched its 1000-mile tour from the Field of Dreams car show held in and on the parking lots outside the Angels’ current spring training home — Tempe Diablo Stadium.