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Inaugural Desert Concorso


Photos by Larry Edsall

Whether it’s a local car club’s annual community fund-raising cruise-in or a prestigious concours d’elegance, organizers can tell you that there’s a lot of serious business involved in staging any classic car event. But there’s a difference between serious business and taking yourself too seriously.

Like its parent, Concorso Italiano held each summer on the Monterey Peninsula, the new Desert Concorso doesn’t take itself too seriously while showcasing Italian cars, music and more.

For example, there was a best in show trophy, and even a first-runnerup award. But instead of classes strictly defined by ascot and monocle-wearing parliamentarians, the awards given at the end of the inaugural Desert Concorso included Best Mid-V12, Orsi Award for the Spirit of the ‘50s and ‘60s GT, Royal Britiannia (basically, best British car on the grounds), Karl Benz Award (best Mercedes), Turin Design, Spirit of Motoring, Spirit of the Founder, and even Spirit of Ferruccio Lamborghini (who had the gumption to complain to Enzo hisownself that the Ferrari that Mr. Lamborghini recently had just purchased wasn’t as good he’d expected and instead of pleasant customer service was told that if he thought he could do better he should, and so he went back to his tractor-manufacturing factory and set out to do just that).

And while the Desert Concorso is designed as a celebration of all things Italian — from classic and exotic cars to music, food and fashion — the organizers make room for Porsches and BMWs and British cars, and even a few American machines — a trio each of Corvettes and Allantes, the U.S./Italian crossbred Cadillac.

We think it was only in good fun that the British cars were over by the pond that guards the ninth green on the Shadow Mountain resort’s golf course, and that not only the all-American Corvettes but the Italian/American cars were placed just in front of the port-a-potties.

Here’s another example of the event’s good humor: Instead of being held on one of the golf course’s oh-so-manicured fairways, the cars for Desert Concorso were staged on the driving range.


Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


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