Category archives: Concours & Events

Antique Automobile Club museum readies exhibit showcasing hot rods and custom cars

The '57 Chevy custom named SwishAir, a Ridler Award contender, will be part of the AACA exhibit. (Photo: Antique Automobile Club of America)
’57 Chevy custom called SwishAir, a Ridler Award contender, is part of the exhibit. | AACA photo

 

The Antique Automobile Club of America Museum in Hershey, Pa., usually focuses on the preservation and restoration of veteran vehicles to original condition. Which is why the special exhibit opening this month is so unexpected.

“The Art of the Build: Rods & Kustoms”  goes on display Jan. 24 through April 27, and takes a hot rod run through the world of individualized custom cars, including a number of top award winners as well as some of the true oddities of the hobby. Usually, the AACA mourns the loss of original cars to build customs, but this time around, it celebrates the customs and the customizers.

Among the unique beauties  on display are some of the top contenders for the prestigious Ridler Award, given annually at the Detroit Autorama. The AACA show also focuses on some of the legends whose custom cars made everybody sit up and take notice, folks such as Boyd Coddington, Ed “Big Daddy” Roth and George Barris, the “King of Kustomizers.”

“The ‘Art of the Build’ exhibit focuses on these individuals, and the rolling art they have created,” an AACA Museum news release says. “By treating each custom vehicle as a piece of sculpture, the Museum has planned this display as an art installation, celebrating each item for what it has become, not lamenting what it once was.”

For more information,  visit aacamuseum.org. 

Concours of America selects chairman for 2014

This 1931 Duesenberg Model J Tourster Derham won Best of Show - Domestic at the 2013 Concours d'Elegance of America. (Photo: Concours d'Elegance of America)
1931 Duesenberg Model J Tourster Derham was best in show (domestic) at 2013 Concours of America.

The Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s has named longtime concours leader Larry Moss as chairman of the board and event chairman for 2014.

Moss served as event chairman  of the Meadow Brook Concours in 1999 and 2000, as chairman of the car selection committee  from 2007 to 2010 and as board member from 2008 to 2010. After the event was moved to The Inn at St. John’s in 2011, Moss remained active on the judge’s committee and car selection committee. Moss replaces Peter Heydon, who recently resigned after serving as chairman of the board since 2009.

The 36th annual Concours d’Elegance of America takes place  Sunday, July 27, 2014, at The Inn of St. John’s in Plymouth, Michigan. For more information, see www.concoursusa.org.

Vintage cars on the grass at the Biltmore in Arizona Concours test

An exotic DeTomaso Pantera follows a 1963 Buick Riviera, a 1947 Cadillac and a 1937 Lincoln across the lawn at the Arizona Biltmore Resort in Phoenix.  (Photo: Larry Edsall)
A DeTomaso Pantera follows a 1963 Buick Riviera, ’47 Cadillac and ’37 Lincoln across the lawn at the Arizona Biltmore | Photos by Larry Edsall

Guests at the Arizona Biltmore Resort in Phoenix were treated to an unusual happening Monday morning when a small parade of vintage automobiles motored across the lushly landscaped winter lawns of the historic luxury hotel.

This was the “dry run” for the inaugural Arizona Concours d’Elegance. Organizers of the event brought a selection of cars to test out the confines of the Biltmore’s inner lawns to see if the big classics could maneuver through the tight spaces, and whether exotic sports cars could get through without bottoming out.

The Arizona Concours is set for January 12, 2014, to open the famed collector-car auction week in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area. A collection of 78 exceptional automobiles will be displayed, competing in classes that range from vintage and classic to sports, racing and exotics. Judges will pore over each entry to pick the class winners as well as the coveted Best of Show.

The 1947 Cadillac eases across one of the ramps leading to the Squaw Peak Lawn at the Arizona Biltmore. (Photo: Larry Edsall)
The 1947 Cadillac eases across a ramp leading to the Squaw Peak Lawn at the Arizona Biltmore.

The cars that rolled across the dark-green rye grass Monday were a 1937 Lincoln Model K, a V12-powered sedan; a 1947 Cadillac Series 62 two-door sedan with a sweeping fastback roofline; a 1963 Buick Riviera; a 1974 DeTomaso Pantera; and a new Chevrolet Corvette coupe, which was being used to test ground clearance.

Overall, the testing was deemed a success, with just a few tweaks required for the carefully orchestrated procedure of bringing the cars onto the Biltmore site and into their respective places, handling the crowds and vendors, and conducting the awards ceremony.

“This is a first-year event, so there are some growing pains,” Mike Mullan, a member of the steering committee said as he watched closely as the cars crossed over a set of specially made ramps.  “But everything seems to be going smoothly so far. We’ll see how it all comes together.”

For tickets and information for the inaugural Arizona Concours d’Elegance, see www.arizonaconcours.com.

First BMW ‘Batmobile’ competition Art Car coming to Amelia Island Concours

Photo courtesy of BMW

The first BMW Art Car ever created, a 3.0 CSL GT racer painted by the acclaimed artist Alexander Calder to run in the 1975 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, will headline a special BMW “Batmobile” class at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance on March 9, 2014.

The Calder project, which melded motorsports with fine art, was inspired by French race driver and art auctioneer Herve Poulain. BMW race cars used as painting canvases by the world’s most-renowned artists – including Frank Stella, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol – became an annual tradition for the German automaker.

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New events in Arizona and the California desert launch 2014 concours d’elegance calendar

Photo courtesy Arizona Concours
Photo courtesy Arizona Concours

Another year of top-drawer concours d’elegance events across the nation is coming around again, including two brand-new ones added to the 2014 docket.

The inaugural Arizona Concours d’Elegance starts off the January collector-car auction week in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area on Jan. 12, 2014, at the historic Arizona Biltmore Resort in Phoenix.  Long envisioned as a focal point for the famous Scottsdale/Phoenix auctions, the concours will feature 78 exceptional automobiles on landscaped lawns within the art deco splendor of the Biltmore.

For more information about this inaugural event, see arizonaconcours.com.

Meanwhile, Concorso Italiano has spawned another new concours that takes place in Palm Desert, Calif.  The new Desert Concorso on March 30 is a celebration of Italian cars, but other European sports and GT cars are invited to join in the festivities that include Italian food, fashion and culture.

For more information about the concorso, see desertconcorso.com.

The original Concorso Italiano on the Monterey peninsula moves back to its old location at Bayonet Black Horse Golf Course in Seaside, Calif., while changing the day it takes place from its longtime Friday slot to Saturday, Aug. 16

For more information, see concorso.com.

Here’s a listing of major concours d’elegance events taking place during 2014 in the United States:

2014 Concours d'Elegance Calendar

Major concours d’elegance events taking place during 2014 in the United States
EventDate(s)Location
Arizona Concours d'EleganceJan 12Phoenix, AZ
Cavallino ClassicJan 22-26Palm Beach, FL
Boca Raton Concours d’EleganceFeb 23Boca Raton, FL
Amelia IslandMar 9Amelia Island, FL
Desert ConcorsoMar 30Palm Desert, CA
La Jolla Concours d’EleganceApr 13La Jolla, CA
Keels and WheelsMay 3-4Lakewood, FL
Pinehurst Concours d’EleganceMay 4Pinehurst, NC
Greenwich Concours d’EleganceMay 31-Jun 1Greenwich, CT
The Elegance at HersheyJun 16Hershey, PA
Concours d’Elegance of ChicagoJun 19Barrington, IL
Keeneland Concours d’EleganceJul 20Lexington, KY
Hillsborough Concours d’EleganceJul 21Hillsborough, CA
Concours of America at St. John'sJul 27Plymouth, MI
Concorso ItalianoAug 16Seaside, CA
Pebble Beach Concours d’EleganceAug 17Pebble Beach, CA
Radnor Hunt Concours d’EleganceSep 14Radnor, PA
The Boston CupSep 22Boston, MA
Hilton HeadNov 3Hilton Head Island, SC

If your concours is not listed but should be, please use the feedback link so we can update this calendar.

Simeone book, Amelia Island concours win awards

We have classic cars. Europe has “historic motoring.” For the third year, a British bank and magazine have sponsored the International Historic Motoring Awards to “celebrate ‘the best of the best’ in what is now a multi-billion global industry.”

The event of the year award was shared by the Amelia Island concours d’elegance and the VHRA Pendine Sands amateur hot rod races while the publication of the year went to the book “The Stewardship of Historically Important Automobiles” published by the Simeone museum of Philadelphia.

The museum or collection of the year was the Louwman Museum of The Netherlands. Motorsport event of the year was the Silverstone Classic while the race series of the year was the FIA Masters Historic Formula One Championship. Rally or tour of the year went to the 20-Ghost Club’s Centenary Alpine Trial. The Aston Martin Owners Club was club of the year.

The lifetime achievement award went to F1 broadcaster Murray Walker while Philip Young, father of historic rallying, received the personal achievement of the year award.

Car of the year was the recreation of the Bugatti 57SC Aerolithe by David Grainger of the  Guild of Master Craftsmen, Canada (see photo by Joe Wiecha). Restoration of the year was the 1966 US. Grand Prix-winning Lotus 43 by Andy Middlehurst, and specialist of the year was Francis Tuthill Ltd., which sent more than 15 Porsche 911s and more than 50 tons of parts and gear to the East African Safari Classic despite being a family-run company with less than 30 employees.

Among the finalists in the various categories were concours at Pebble Beach and The Quail, the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, the Blackhawk, Le May and Mullin museums, the Colorado Grand tour, Hagerty insurance (specialist), and book publisher David Bull of Phoenix (in the personal achievement category for his battle back from a life-threatening motorcycle collision).

Judge’s ’34 Packard judged best-in-show at Pebble Beach

New Jersey judge Joseph Cassini III and his wife, Margie, are well known within the classic car community. For the last two years — and four times in the last eight years — their cars have won best-in-show honors at the Concours d’Elegance of America. And their 1934 Packard 1108 Twelve Dietrich Convertible Victoria drove off with best-in-show honors at the 63rd Pebble Beach concours d’elegance as well.

“This Packard is the epitome of American style and grace in the Classic Era,” said Sandra Button, the concours chairman. “It is understated but elegant, and it has a striking but quiet presence. When it drove onto our show field this morning, and I stepped forward to greet the Cassinis, I could barely hear the engine running.”

The Cassinis’ Packard is only the second American car to win best-in-show at Pebble Beach in nearly 20 years (The 1935 Duesenberg SJ Speedster “Mormon Meteor” won in 2007).

The Cassinis also won the top award at Pebble Beach in 2004 with their 1938 Horch 853A Erdmann & Rossi Sport Cabriolet.

Petersen’s plans, Monterey money, and Barrett-Jackson’s ‘Hot August’ nights

We’ll get to the results of the auctions and other action on the Monterey Peninsula in a moment, but first, an update on the plans for the Petersen Automotive Museum, which is not going all French cars and Art Deco on us (as has been reported elsewhere).

As we reported and as the Petersen confirmed at a press briefing at Monterey, the museum plans to celebrate its 20th anniversary in 2014 with “a complete exterior transformation and a dynamic redesign of the interior, resulting in a world class museum that will showcase the art, experience, culture and heritage of the automobile. Displays will feature the prominence of the automobile in Southern California, as well as cars, trucks and motorcycles from around the world. In addition to the facility upgrade, the new Petersen will feature a refined and upgraded permanent collection and an expansion of rotating displays, galleries, technology and story-telling, providing visitors with fresh, new experiences throughout the year.”

Further, “The L.A. cultural landmark will showcase Southern California’s rich automotive heritage and will serve as a gateway to the city’s “Museum Row.”

Money generated by selling off a bunch of cars that had been taking up room in the museum’s parking garage and basement, as well as a few true classics, will be used to upgrade and update the displays. A separate fund-raising effort has begun to pay for the architectural alterations.

The goal is to transform the museum’s exterior into “one of the most significant and unforgettable structures in Los Angeles,” with ribbons of stainless steel — designed to evoke the imagery of speed and the organic curves of coach-built cars — wrapped around and over a deep red building. As you can see from the photograph of the proposed interior, the theme will carry into the building as well.

“Our plan is to work with the best and brightest minds in architecture, automotive history and interactive design to give the people of Los Angeles and the world a place where they can be immersed in the culture, sights and sounds of the greatest vehicles ever built,” said museum chairman Peter Mullin.

Those changes, plus the addition of 15,000 square feet of display space, are designed not only to appeal to first-time visitors, but to draw people back for repeated visits.

’67 Nova SS takes top honors at Food Lion AutoFair at Charlotte

Fifty car clubs from the Charlotte, North Carolina, area were invited to display cars that annual Food Lion AutoFair at Charlotte Motor Speedway, where Henry Brock’s 1967 Chevrolet Nova SS took best-in-show honors.

The project started with Brock helping a buddy restore his car, but Brock liked the Nova so much he decided not to just help with the restoration, but to take it over.

“He brought it by my house and that’s as far as it got,” Brock said. “I made it mine instead of his” in a restoration effort that consumed five years — and two paint colors.

Brock had the car painted gold, but decided he didn’t like it, so his wife, Mary, picked the fusion orange shade.

Each of the car clubs participating in the Food Lion AutoFair was judged individually, with a Best of Show picked for each club.