Category archives: Concours & Events

Famous Jaguar sports cars, racers entered in Mille Miglia

Jaguar C-types, D-types and XKs will run in Italy's famed Mille Miglia | Jaguar Heritage Racing
Jaguar C-types, D-types and XKs will run in Italy’s famed Mille Miglia | Jaguar Heritage Racing

Jaguar Heritage Racing will field 10 of its most-celebrated race and sports cars of the 1950s for the Mille Miglia classic car rally May 15-18 through the heart of Italy.

Driving the historic collection of XKs, C-types and D-types will be famous stars of stage, screen, music and motorsports, who will pair up as pilots and navigators for the driving event that reenacts the former Mille Miglia road race, which ran from 1927 through 1958.

The Jaguar Heritage Racing entries and famous occupants include:

* The 1951 Jaguar XK 120 roadster that raced as part of the Ecurie Ecosse team, driven by retired Tonight Show host Jay Leno;

* The ex-Jim Swift racing XK120 roadster driven by award-winning British actor Jeremy Irons;

* An XK140 once owned by successful British racing driver David Hobbs and to be driven by Scottish singer/songwriter Amy Macdonald.

* Three famous C-type racing cars, to be driven by AC/DC lead singer Brian Johnson, Belgian singer-songwriter Milow (Jonathan Vandenbroeck) and ex-Jaguar Le Mans 24 Hours race winner Andy Wallace, who will drive the Jaguar C-type that won the 1952 Reims Grand Prix with Formula 1 legend Stirling Moss at the wheel.

* The penultimate “Long Nose” Jaguar D-type, which celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2014, driven by the team of ex-Jaguar Le Mans and World Sports Prototype Championship winner, Formula 1 driver and TV pundit Martin Brundle and ex-Formula 1 racer Bruno Senna.

* Other beautiful XK 120s will be occupied by British music star Elliot Greave and his wife, Erin Greave, TV personality and former Miss Australia; author David Blakeley with TV personality Jodie Kidd; and Jaguar Vehicle Integrity Chief Engineer Mike Cross in the ex-Stirling Moss Monthlery record-breaking coupe.

One of the world’s most popular classic car events, the 2014 edition of the Mille Miglia hosts a total of 430 cars, “all of them cars of great historical and sporting prestige,” according to the event organizers.

For more about the Mille Miglia, see http://www.1000miglia.eu/

Porsche’s ‘rolling museum’ to visit Pebble Beach

A Porsche participates in the Mille Miglia | Porsche Museum
A Porsche participates in the Mille Miglia | Porsche Museum

Porsche calls it a “rolling museum.”

“It” is a showcase of Porsche racing cars that takes them from their stationary positions within the Porsche Museum in Germany and puts them on roads and race tracks, not only at Europe’s top classic car events this year but also in northern California.

From May 15-18, a 550 Spyder, two 356 coupes and a 356 Speedster will participate in the annual Mille Miglia rally in Italy, the Porsche Museum  announced. Among the drivers for the 1,000-mile rally are Porsche chairman Wolfgang Porsche and famed endurance racer Jacky Ickx.

June 6-7, famed Porsche racers Walter Rohrl and Hans-Joachim Stuck will drive a 911 Carrera 2.7 RS and a 911 Speedster across southwestern Germany in the Paul Pietsch Klassik.

Porsche's 917 at Goodwood in 2013
Porsche’s 917 at Goodwood in 2013

Later in June (26-29), Porsche will participate in the “Turbo” theme of the annual Goodwood Festival of Speed in England, and not only with a 959 Group B rally car, a 964 Turbo, a 993 Turbo and the “Baby” 935, a car that gets its nickname from is scaled-down 1.4-liter engine, but with two 917s — the 917 KH that produced Porsche’s first overall victory at Le Mans and a 917/30 Can-Am series racer.

July 6-7, a 911 Carrera RSR Targa Florio, a 935/77 Group 5 racer, a 911 Turbo Cabriolet and a 911 Turbo 3.0 will go from the museum to the Le Mans Classic.

Porsche itself is the featured marque for the Ennstal Classic that takes place July 10-12. In addition to several 356s from the museum, Porsche will send a 911 2.2 Targa, will have Rohrl in a 718 WRS, Ickx in a 550 A Spyder and current works racer Marc Lieb in a 1998 Porsche GT1 for the Chopard Grand Prix von Grobming. The program includes a hill climb, touring drives through the Tauern Mountains, and the grand prix race through city streets.

Cars from the Porsche Museum will participate in the sixth Schloss Bensberg Classic scheduled for July 18-20, traveling to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in the U.S. in mid-August, and from August 21-24 parting in the Sachsen Classic, a classic car rally from Zwickau to Chemnitz in Europe’s Vogtland region.

Porsche says its “rolling museum” is part of its philosophy of making sure all the vehicles in its museum are roadworthy and “thus fulfill the original purpose for which they were built: to be driven.”

Photographers focus on a Porsche during Mille Miglia rally
Photographers focus on a Porsche during Mille Miglia rally

Everything may be bigger in Texas: Houston doubles up on concours, auctions

2013 best-in-show winners were 1936 Delahaye Type 135 and 1969 Ford GT40 | Concours d'Elegance of Texas
2013 best-in-show winners were 1936 Delahaye Type 135 and 1969 Ford GT40 | Concours d’Elegance of Texas

Pebble Beach, Scottsdale and Amelia Island have become focal points on the classic car calendar, drawing enthusiasts from across the country (and around the world) because of their overlapping multiple events. Is Houston a serious candidate to join that club?

Consider that soon after Mecum Auctions completed a record-setting sale in Houston’s Reliant Center, there will be not one but two concours d’elegance in the oil-driven boom town on the same weekend in early May, each with an auction and all sorts of other activities.

Recently, we shared the news that a Motostalgia auction will join the lineup for the 19th annual Keels & Wheels concours at Seabrook, on Galveston south of Houston. But that early May weekend also is the date for the third annual Concours d’Elegance of Texas, which is held less than 100 miles away, albeit on the other side of the city, northwest of Houston at the La Torretta Lake resort and spa on Lake Conroe in Montgomery.

Judges hear a car's story
Judges hear a car’s story

In its third year, the Texas concours includes:

  • A driving tour
  • Golf tournament
  • Worldwide Auctioneers 19th annual Houston Classic auction
  • “Next Gen” educational summit (with experts from Hagerty and Worldwide instructing high school students and at-risk youth on classic car preservation, maintenance, restoration and judging)
  • Cowboys & Cars strolling charity dinner and dance
  • A 5th annual antiques festival in historic Montgomery
  • The concours, sponsored by the Gullo family auto dealership group, with 34 classes of classic cars on display and being judged.

Featured vehicles at the auction include:

  • A 1955 Porsche 356 Pre-A Speedster
  • An ex-works 1930 Riley Brooklands two-seat roadster
  • A garage-found after 40 years 1957 Aston Martin DB 2/4 Mark III
  • A 1-of-4 1934 Auburn Twelve salon cabriolet
  • A 2,700-mile 1969 L88 Chevrolet Corvette

The Texas concours calls itself “The Family Concours” because of its family-friendly location, said the event’s head of operations, John Aguillard. The La Torretta Lake resort includes its own water park, a variety of restaurants and a baby-sitting service.

“Our chief judge, R.C. Willbanks Jr., has two small children and told us ‘this is an absolutely wonderful place to have a concours. Not only do I get to have fun, but I get to have fun with my family’,” said Aguillard, who explained that the judge’s remark led to the event’s subtitle.

The location also makes the event an easier drive for classic car enthusiasts from Dallas, which is the home of event chairman Mike Ames. In addition to Ames, others on the event’s board of directors include Don Sommer, founder of Michigan Concours d’Elegance at Meadow Brook (now held at the Inn at St. Johns); Hudson and AMC collector Ed Souers; former Keels & Wheels co-chairman Ron Stein; and David Madeira, president of The LeMay museum.

Maybe it’s not only Houston’s but Texas’ turn in the classic car spotlight: In addition to the recent Mecum sale and the two Houston-area concours, Leake Auctions has a sale April 25-26 at Dallas, and north of there, up near the Texas-Oklahoma border, the second-annual Cruisin’ Nocona old-car festival, complete with a Vicari classic car auction, takes place May 1-3.

The Leake docket is highlighted by:

  • One of only three known extant (of 16 built) 1957 Chevrolet El Moroccos
  • A 1991 Ferrari Testarossa with only 8,119 miles on its odometer
  • A 2005 Bentley Continental GT that will be sold to benefit St. Cloud’s Rescue, a care and adoption program for large-breed dogs
  • A never-raced, 49th of 50-produced 2014 Ford Mustang Super Cobra Jet (the buyer gets a complimentary visit to the Roy Hill Drag Racing School)
  • A 2009 Dodge challenger SRT8 SEMA show car.

La Jolla Concours picks best of show winners

The 1953 Cadillac Ghia was designed to show off the Italian coachbuilder’s skill | Petersen Automotive Museum
The 1953 Cadillac Ghia was designed to show off the Italian coachbuilder’s skill | Petersen Automotive Museum

A Cadillac concept coupe that an Arabian prince once gave to a Hollywood movie queen was picked as a best of show winner at the recent La Jolla Concours d’Elegance in California.

The Cadillac, a streamlined fantasy car designed by Italian coachbuilder Ghia and which first appeared at the 1953 Paris Auto Salon, was the judges’ choice for the post-war grand prize at the 10th annual concours.

The Bugatti is a past Pebble Beach winner |  La Jolla Concours
The Bugatti has a Gaston Grumman body | La Jolla Concours

The winner of the pre-war best of show award was a rare Bugatti touring car, a 1930 Type 46 Faux Cabriolet known as a “Petite Royale” because of its placement as a smaller variation of the massive, ultra-luxury Bugatti Royale.

The Cadillac Ghia, which is based on the Series 62, was one of just two built by the carrozzeria. After its appearance in Paris, the show car was purchased by Prince Ali Salman Aga Khan as a gift for his actress wife, Rita Hayworth. Despite the spectacular present, the couple divorced later that year. Hayworth kept the car.

Now owned by the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, the Cadillac Ghia originally was painted white but later changed to its current burgundy color. Since its restoration, the show car has made a number of appearances at major concours, including Pebble Beach.

The winning Bugatti Type 46 also has a coachbuilt body, created by Gaston Grumman of France, and is now owned by Richard Adams of La Jolla, an affluent seaside section of San Diego.

For a complete list of La Jolla Concours winners, see www.lajollaconcours.com.

’55 Chevy wins best of show at Charlotte AutoFest

Jerry Horine celebrates with his '55 Chevy Bel Air that won best of show at AutoFest | AutoFest
Jerry Horine celebrates with his ’55 Chevy Bel Air after winning best of show at AutoFest | AutoFest

A blazing-orange customized 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air was proclaimed best of show at the annual AutoFair, a sweeping celebration of classic cars at Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, N.C.

Owned by Jerry Horine of Louisville, Ky., the two-door sedan bested competitors from 48 car clubs that vied for awards during the four-day show, which was hosted by OldRide.com.

Horine, 72, said this was the first car-show appearance for his resto-mod Chevy, which he bought about a year ago. His family in North Carolina convinced him to enter the car in AutoFest, he added.

“We’re one for one,” said Horine of the victory, which earned him a silver cup trophy. “And we plan to continue to do more.”

First runner-up went to Eddie Sells, of Apex, N.C., for his 1968 Chevrolet Camaro. Second runner-up went to John Jancic, from Cleveland, N.C., for his 1970 Plymouth Road Runner.

The fall edition of AutoFair takes place Sept. 18-21 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Arizona Concours creates special class for the Cars of Frank Lloyd Wright

The Arizona COncours d'Elegance is held on the lawns of the Arizona Biltmore Resort | Arizona Concours
The Arizona Concours d’Elegance is held on the lawns of the Arizona Biltmore Resort | Arizona Concours

America’s most famous 20th Century architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, also was an auto enthusiast who owned a succession of special vehicles during his long career. He added personal touches to many of them, often having them repainted in his signature color, Cherokee Red, a hue that appeared in his architectural designs.

Several of his cars have appeared in concours events over the years, including Pebble Beach, and a number of them are on permanent display in auto museums.

The Arizona Concours d’Elegance is taking that another step by staging a Cars of Frank Lloyd Wright class for its second annual event next January at the Arizona Biltmore Resort in Phoenix.

The special class will celebrate Wright’s strong connection with Arizona, including his winter home and architecture school, Taliesin West, in Scottsdale, as well as his influence on the architecture of the historic Biltmore hotel, which opened in 1929.

“There’s just a mystique that travels with Frank Lloyd Wright,” said Ed Winkler, one of the directors of the Arizona Concours. “Because he has a grand presence in Arizona with Taliesin West and his connection with the Biltmore hotel, that’s what’s driving this class.”

There’s just a mystique that travels with Frank Lloyd Wright.”

— Ed Winkler

The Biltmore’s unique design – created in Wright’s landmark style by architect Albert Chase MacArthur – was the inspiration for gathering as many of Wright’s cars as possible for the concours, Winkler said.

Winkler has been working non-stop to locate the cars and to contact owners and museums, including the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Automobile Museum in Auburn, Ind.

“I’ve been talking to lots of people,” Winkler said. “It’s been a challenge to locate the cars and the present owners of the cars.”

Two of Wright’s cars from Great Britain have been confirmed for entry, Winkler said. those are Wright’s 1937 AC roadster and a 1953 Bentley Sedanca Coupe DeVille R Type.

There are a number of other Wright cars in Winkler’s sights, including two on permanent display at the A-C-D museum. Those two are wildly divergent and show the scope of Wright’s automotive interests — a classic 1929 Cord L-29 cabriolet and a 1952 Crosley Super Roadster, which was part of a fleet of the tiny cars that Wright purchased for use by his architecture colleagues.

Wright's 1929 Cord L29 | Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum
Wright’s 1929 Cord L29 | Auburn Cord Duesenberg Automobile Museum

Some of the other cars that Winkler hopes to bring to the concours include a 1936 Lincoln Zephyr; two Lincoln Continentals, one with a Wright-designed formal town-car roof; a pair of 1953 Jaguars; a 1910 Standard; and a 1955 Chevrolet Nomad wagon. There is also a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing which is believed to be located in Italy, Winkler said.

The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation based in Scottsdale has been helping to find and secure the cars for the concours, Winkler added. The plan is for the Wright cars to assemble the day after the concours for display and photos at Taliesin West, Winkler said.

There are something like 20 Wright cars out there, Winkler said, adding that he plans to pursue all of them.

“We’ll have enough cars for the class,” he added. “But I want them all.”

The 2015 Arizona Concours is scheduled to take place January 11 on the landscaped lawns of the Arizona Biltmore, where the inaugural event held three months ago earned rave reviews. Eighty exceptional cars will be assembled for the concours, ranging from brass cars and full classics to sports and racing cars.

The concours is presented as an exclusive boutique event with a limited number of tickets available.

Besides the Cars of Frank Lloyd Wright, other special classes for 2015 will focus on the classic U.S. luxury brand Pierce-Arrow, competition Ferraris through 1965 with documented racing history, and the 100th anniversary of the Italian design house Ghia.

For tickets, entries and other information, see www.azconcours.com.

Datsun Z cars get own concours class at Forest Grove

 The Datsun 240Z was an instant hit when it arrived in the U.S. | Nissan
The Datsun 240Z was an instant hit when it arrived in the U.S. | Nissan

Datsun scored a major breakthrough in the American perception of Japanese cars with the launch for 1970 of its 240Z. Here was a sophisticated and powerful sports coupe that rivaled the European competition, but was available at an affordable price.

Popular and plentiful, Z cars from the 1970s long have filled a niche among hobbyists seeking satisfying, durable sports cars to drive – especially the first-generation 240Z. But the cars never have achieved much traction as valued collector cars.

At least until now. Datsun Z cars should get a major dose of respect this year with another breakthrough: an entire class all their own at the 42nd annual Forest Grove Concours d’Elegance in July.

“The time has come,” said Jim Crisp, treasurer for the prestigious Oregon concours. “The Z cars are kind of unique and there seems to be a lot of interest in them.”

Recent scene at the Forest Grove Concours in Oregon | Forest Grove Concours d'Elegance
Recent scene at the Forest Grove Concours in Oregon | Forest Grove Concours d’Elegance

The featured class will be comprised of six select cars from 1970-79, years that cover three successive models — the original 240Z, the 260Z that was developed to comply with new U.S. regulations, and the 280Z that followed. However, the Z cars chosen for the concours will not necessarily represent each generation, Crisp said.

The Z class came about at the urging for several years by active Datsun Z club members in the Portland area, Crisp added. Finally, the Forest Grove Concours committee wondered, why not?

Leading the efforts to organize the class and to choose the six cars is Don Homuth of Salem, Ore., who has been a Z-car enthusiast for more than four decades and highly regarded for his knowledge of the brand. Crisp said Homuth is contacting Datsun Z clubs around the country to submit applications. The emphasis will be on pristine unmodified cars in their original configurations without custom or performance touches that have become so prevalent with these cars.

Homuth also has chosen a trio of experts who will judge the Datsuns under stringent concours standard for awards, Crisp said. Senior judge for the Forest Grove Concours is Glenn Mounger, well-known among classic car enthusiasts and a frequent judge and past chairman at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

The Forest Grove Concours d’ Elegance (www.forestgroveconcours.org) takes place July 20 on the campus of Pacific University in Forest Grove, Ore., with more than 300 antique, classic, sports, race, modified and collector cars expected.

The concours theme for this year is “The Art of Italian Motoring.” Besides the special class for Datsun Z cars, the event will celebrate the 50th anniversaries of the Ford Mustang and Pontiac GTO.

Hand-sculpted custom coupe wins Goodguys prize

An evocative coach-built creation with a heavy-metal rock ’n’ roll connection has won Goodguys’ Custom of the Year, awarded this past weekend at the Goodguys Rod and Custom Association’s 32nd annual All American Get-Together in Pleasanton, Calif.

Named Black Pearl, the winning car is the result of collaboration between rock star James Hetfield, longtime front man for Metallica and a noted custom-car collector, and Rick Dore, one of California’s most well-known custom-car builders.

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Maserati racer, one-off Bianchi convertible take top honors at inaugural Desert Concorso

Strong winds stir up desert dust at the inaugural Desert Concorso | Larry Edsall photos

A car with a long racing history and a one-of-a-kind convertible that had to be put back together from parts long separated into boxes took the top honors Sunday in the inaugural Desert Concorso, which was staged on the golf course driving range at the Shadow Mountain resort in Palm Desert, Calif.

The best in show trophy went to a 1957 Maserati 450S originally raced extensively on the West Coast and more recently in vintage races there and in the Midwest by its current owner, Tom Hollfelder. In addition to its best in show award,  Hollfelder’s Maserati won the Fangio Award, given to the car that best exemplified the spirit of the multi-time world driving champion Juan Manuel Fangio. Fangio won two of his five titles driving for the Italian automaker, which celebrates its centennial in 2014.

Taking honors as best in show first runner-up was a 1931 Bianchi S8 that is unique in at least two ways — it not only is only ’31 Bianchi S8 convertible ever built (compared to 250 S8 hardtops), but is the only S8 with coachwork by Graber. The car has its steering wheel on the right side of the passenger compartment because it originally was sold for export to Sweden, where drivers used the right side of the road at that time.

The Bianchi was disassembled into a variety of boxes when Roy Sayles bought it. Sayles had set out to buy an Austin Healey 3000. That car’s owner was 90 and in failing health and told Sayles he had another car that Sayles could have if he promised to complete its restoration.

When the 90-year-old said “have,” he meant it; Sayles could have the other car for free if he promised to finish the restoration. Sayles said he bought both cars — paying $1,000 for the Bianchi — which took four years and an additional $200,000 to restore into its now-stunning status.

Though much better known for building bicycles, Bianchi also built motorized bikes and three-wheelers and started producing automobiles as early as 1905.

We’ll have additional coverage soon, including an Eye Candy photo gallery.

Copperstate 1000 ready to rally in Arizona

Sports cars on tour during a past Copperstate 1000 road rally | Copperstate 1000
Sports cars on tour during a past Copperstate 1000 road rally | Copperstate 1000

The 24th annual Copperstate 1000 hits the road April 6 for a four-day, 1,000-mile tour of southern Arizona, featuring a superb contingent of vintage sports, GT and race cars in what has become one of the nation’s premier road rallies.

This year’s Copperstate 1000 route takes ralliers through the scenic and historic southeastern corner of Arizona, visiting the famed Old West town of Tombstone; a stop in Bisbee, the quirky mining town turned artists’ colony; “hill climbs” up the winding mountain roads of Kitt Peak and Mount Lemon; and a tour through the magnificent cactus-studded scenery of Saguaro National Park.

A rare 1965 Lamborghini 3500 GT Zagato will rally this year | Copperstate 1000
A rare 1965 Lamborghini 3500 GT Zagato will rally this year | Copperstate 1000

The event starts Sunday, April 6, with the 86-rally cars spread out for public inspection on the baseball field at Tempe Diablo Stadium during the annual Field of Dreams show. The parking lots around the stadium usually are as interesting as the main show as local hobbyists and collectors drive their special old cars to the stadium to show off.

Field of Dreams concludes with the rally cars being introduced and flagged off one at a time in a European-style sendoff for the first day of driving. The rally runs through April 9.

The 86 entries include exotic ’50s and ’60s sports and racing cars from such makers as Ferrari, Maserati, Jaguar and Aston-Martin; vintage touring cars, such as the oldest vehicle in the rally, a 1924 Bentley; plus Corvettes, Shelbys and a rare Devin SS. There’s a 1955 Studebaker President Speedster and a 1957 Porsche Carrera Speedster.

Some of the cars are truly spectacular.

Unique 1953 Aston-Martin DB2/4 Bertone roadster | Copperstate 1000
Unique 1953 Aston-Martin DB2/4 Bertone roadster | Arizona Concours d’Elegance

“We’re very lucky to have Bill Pope bringing his 1952 Aston-Martin DB2/4 Bertone-bodied roadster,” said Kelly Whitton, spokesperson for the Men’s Arts Council, which organizes the Copperstate 1000 as a benefit for the Phoenix Art Museum. “It’s just phenomenal.”

The Aston-Martin Bertone was featured in January at the inaugural Arizona Concours d’Elegance at the Arizona Biltmore.

“We also have a Lamborghini 3500 GT Zagato, one of two essentially prototype cars ever made,” Whitton added.

The rally is accompanied by a squad of DPS state-police officers on motorcycles, mechanics experienced with vintage cars to handle the inevitable breakdowns, and a support staff made up mainly of volunteers from the Men’s Arts Council.

The large number of road-going participants makes for some logistical challenges, Whitton said, especially for the small towns where the group will be staying in overnight stops.

“We’re pretty much taking over the entire town of Tubac,” Whitton said. “It’s all rented out.”