Concours: Celebrating the Art and History of Automobiles


December 2, 2013


Fueled by a passion for vintage automobiles and a curiosity about the outrageous creations built by today customizers, car shows are becoming increasingly popular. In fact, virtually every weekend of the year, in almost any part of the country, you'll likely run across a locally-sponsored car show or cruise in. Then, if you add car shows hosted by organizations like the National Street Rod Association, the Goodguys Rod and Custom Association, and Carlisle Events, who, alone, hold more than 40 car shows, you should be able to satisfy your classic car addiction. Typically, these events focus on modified rides, such as hot rods, blown cars, restomods, t-buckets, and lead sleds. Often, over-the-top customization is the name of the game. However, if you want a different kind of car show, there's an automobile venue that celebrates elegance and originality above all else -- the Concours d'Elegance.


In a Concours d'Elegance, emphasis is placed on a vehicle's authenticity and its original beauty. Typically, judging is much more demanding here than at other car shows, with the expectation that the vehicle be as close to perfect as possible. Starting with a score of 100, each component of the vehicle is judged by a class expert, with points deducted for any perceived flaws or divergences from originality. There is considerable pomp and circumstance with the coronation of the Best of Show winner, and understandably, it is a significant honor to be the recipient of this award.


Here's a look at four of the more than 25 Concours held across the country.



Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance

The Amelia Island Concours is held every year in early March. This year's event celebrated the 50th anniversaries of the Corvette Stingray, the Porsche 911, and the GT40. An impressive number of authentic GT40 Le Mans racers were on display, including chassis #1075, the two time winner from the 1968 and 1969 race. The Concours d'Elegance Best of Show winner was a 1936 Duesenberg SJN, a sleek and stylish silver convertible of timeless beauty, and the Concours De Sport Best of Show was the 1968 Ford GT40 that was the two time winner of Le Mans. For 2013, the International Historical Awards, which recognizes excellence in Concours events world wide, presented the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance with the Motoring Event of the Year award.


1936 Duesenberg SJN and 1968 Ford GT40 at Amelia Island



Hilton Head Concours d'Elegance

Hilton Head's Concours, which was held in November at the Port Royal Golf and Racket club, celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Porsche 911 by making it the featured marque. In addition to an impressive lineup of competition cars, there were also two eye-catching displays: cars from the Great Gatsby era and three past Pebble Beach Best of Show winners. Top awards went to a 1929 Stutz Supercharged Coupe, a stylish black beauty, which won Best of Show, a 1934 Chrysler Airflow CY, a car ahead of its time, which won Best Pre-1948 Car, and a 1964 Shelby Cobra, one of the originals, which won Best Post-1948 Car.


1929 Stutz Supercharged Coupe at Hilton Head



Pinehurst Concours d'Elegance

The inaugural Pinehurst Concours was held in May of 2013 at the Pinehurst Golf Resort. Along with the featured marque Porsche, several unique cars lined the fairway, including a streamlined mini-van ahead of its time, a 1938 Stout Scarab. There were also several historically significant race cars, an original Holman Moody NASCAR stock car, vintage Ferrari open wheel racers, and a Willys gasser dragster. The Best of Show award went to a rare 1938 Steyr 220 Glaser roadster, one of only three known to exist.


1938 Steyr 220 Glaser Roadster at Pinehurst



Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance

The Pebble Beach Concours, which is widely regarded as the pinnacle of classic car events, is held every August on the 18th fairway at the renowned Pebble Beach Golf Club. To be invited to compete in the event is a significant accomplishment, since only the rarest and historically significant cars compete at this gathering. It is a Who's Who in the auto world, as the best of the best compete for top honors. The 2013 Best of Show winner was a 1934 Packard 1108 Twelve Dietrich Convertible Victoria. This unquestionably elegant and beautiful automobile was the first American car to win at Pebble Beach in 12 years.


1934 Packard 1108 Twelve Dietrich Convertible Victoria at Pebble Beach


For a car events calendar, visit the eClassicAutos website.