Eye Candy: San Marino Motor Classic

Photos by Howard Koby

At the historic Rose Bowl and the Brookside Golf Course in Pasadena, California, the Los Angeles Concours d’Elegance staged its inaugural event May 21, 2006, featuring more than 250 antique, classic, exotic and vintage automobiles being judged in 31 classes. For an added treat, KABC’s “Motorman” Leon Kaplan broadcast his popular radio show surrounded by all the beautiful cars.

Someone on the advisory committee said, “Pebble Beach maybe the pinnacle, but that is in Northern California and we hope to bring the same kind of event to Southern California.”

The Los Angeles Concours continued only to 2009. In 2011, co-founders Aaron Weiss, Ben Reiling and Paul Colony established The San Marino Motor Classic as a successor. The 2011 edition was a hybrid of a Classic Car Club of America Concours d’Elegance and is held at San Marino’s best-kept secret, Lacy Park, a 30-acre lush green span with a woodsy surround in the middle of a posh residential area.

For 2014, the theme was “Design in Motion” and the event featured 22 classes of cars with more than 200 examples including Brass Era, Depression Era, Post-War luxury and sports cars beautifully showcased on the expansive lawn.

Jerry Rosenstock who was Chief Judge in 2006 is still on the podium and had his work cut out for himself with about 70 honored judges to choose class winners and best of show. ABC’s Eye Witness News automotive specialist Dave Kunz and noted commentator and racing expert Ed Justice Jr. handled the emcee task with finesse and a touch of humor.

One of the most prized awards at the show is the Paul Cerf Memorial Award (CCCA- first won by Phil Hill with his 1931 Pierce-Arrow in 1955) which this year went to Fred Lax for his stunning 1934 Auburn Phaeton Saloon Coupe.

Best of Show Pre-War honored John Muckel for displaying his superb 1929 Duesenberg Model J Dual Cowl Phaeton and Best of Show Post-War went to a beautiful black-on-black 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster done by Hjeltness Restoration Inc.

I must say the Duesy surly deserves Best of Show (I even picked it), but my favorite vehicle was the 1913 Mercer Type 35-J Raceabout (once owned by Phil Hill) presented by the Petersen Automotive Museum. This gem was built by C. G. Roeling, who also constructed the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City (where I’m from) and is believed to be the most original Mercer Type 35-J in existence.

Proceeds from this year’s show benefit the Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA, the Petersen Automotive Museum and the Rotary Club of San Marino. For more infomation, visit www.sanmarinomotorclassic.com .

Maserati acclaimed best in show at Goodwood concours

Maserati A6 GCS wins best in show
Maserati A6 GCS wins best in show
Coachbuilt A6 GCS
Coachbuilt A6 GCS

A Maserati A6 CGS Berlinetta owned by Egon Zweimuller Jr. won best in show honors at the Goodwood Festival of Speed’s 20th annualCartier Style et Luxe Concours d’Elegance.

The car also won the Coachbuilt Maserati class.

Other class winners were:

  • Vintage Voiturettes — 1925 Amilcar CGS owned by Keith Bowley
  • Blown Away — Mercedes-Benz 500K Cabriolet A owned by Winfried Ritter
  • Affairs of State — 1960 Lincoln Continental owned by the La Salle Collection
  • Mid-engined Masterpieces — 1968 Lamborghini Miura P400S owned by Stephen Keen
  • Horses for Courses — 1966 Ford Mustang Mustero owned by Bill Shepherd (see Eye Candy gallery)
  • Best Foot Forward — 1997 TVR Cerbera Speed 12 owned by Graham Abbott

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.

Motostalgia auction joins Keels & Wheels lineup

Jon Osha Collection to cross block at Motostalgia's Keels & Wheels sale | Motostalgia
Jon Osha cars to cross block at Motostalgia’s Keels & Wheels sale | Motostalgia

Motostalgia, the auction house that made its debut last year with a sale in conjunction with the U.S. Grand Prix, will conduct a collector car auction May 2 as part of the Keels & Wheels Concours d’Elegance.

The 19th annual Keels & Wheels concours of classic cars and boats takes place May 3-4 at the Lakewood Yacht Club in Seabrook, Tex., just south of Houston.

“When we learned about Motostalgia’s exceptional inaugural catalog auction in Austin last November, we knew we had to have them reintroduce a collector car auction to Keels & Wheels,” Bob Fuller, chairman of the Keels & Wheels event, was quoted in a news release.

“A rare-car auction brings a new crowd and a higher level of excitement to the entire weekend.”

“We’re thrilled to add this Concours d’Elegance event to our auction calendar,” said Motostalgia founder Antonio Brunet. “Motostalgia has already procured an amazing selection of collector cars such as a vintage 1955 Porsche 356 Pre-A Continental Cabriolet, one of a handful in existence today.”

The auction also will feature two Rolls Royce models not seen on the U.S. market for more than 40 years and the 10-car Jon Osha Collection, which will be offered without reserve.

Motostalgia’s news release said the emphasis will be on cars in the high six figures in value.

The Jon Osha Collection includes a 1928 Rolls Royce Phantom I Boattail, a 1968 1/2 Ford Mustang R Code 428 Cobra Jet and a 1954 Jaguar XK120 roadster. The boattail Rolls was ordered by Prince Mdivani with coachwork by Thrupp and Maberly but in the 1950s, it was rebodied with a replica of the Barker Boattail Tourer body.

Also on the docket are a 1933 Rolls Royce Phantom II Club Coupe, a 1929 Phantom I Town Car, a 1965 Shelby GT350 raced by Richard “Dick” Roe and Gerry Mulnix, and a 2008 Bugatti Veyron.

Motostalgia’s inaugural sale in November featured a 1933 Duesenberg Model J “Queen of Diamonds” and a 1998 Ferrari F30 F1 that had been driven by Michael Schumacher.

Keels & Wheels includes 40 classes for cars and 20 for boats. Proceeds from the event benefit the Boys & Girls Harbor, which provides a home and safety for abandoned and abused children, and care for children and families in crisis.


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
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.