HomeCar CultureEye Candy: Kansas City Art of the Car Concours

Eye Candy: Kansas City Art of the Car Concours


Photos by Tom Strongman

For the first time in the eight-year history of Kansas City’s Art of the Car Concours, the cackle of straight pipes reverberated across the show field as 19 historically significant hot rods maneuvered into place as special honorees. Legendary Deuces such as the Doane Spencer and Ray Brown roadsters took their place alongside the California Kid, Jake’s coupe and Tom McIntyre’s chopped ’32 built by Ken Schmidt and his crew at Rolling Bones.

The Art of the Car Concours takes place on the quadrangle of the Kansas City Art Institute. Proceeds benefit the institute’s scholarship fund. The event, founded and guided by Marshall Miller, raises in excess of $100,000 for the fund each year. Nearly 6,000 people attended.

In addition to the concours on Sunday, a Meet the Legends program about the history of hot rods was held Saturday afternoon. Moderator Michael T. Lynch was joined by author and historian Ken Gross, as well as by Pete Chapouris, president of the So-Cal Speed Shop and co-founder of Pete and Jake’s Hot Rod Parts, and by noted collector Tom McIntyre.

More than 220 cars, trucks, motorcycles and pedal cars from 16 states and 79 cities filled the quad for the concours.

Bruce Meyer owns the Doane Spencer roadster, thought by many to be one of the most beautifully proportioned, carefully executed ’32 Ford Highboys ever built. Spencer bought the car in 1944, removed the fenders and installed a 1946 Mercury flathead with twin carbs. It was chosen the Best Appearing Roadster at the Pasadena Roadster Club’s 1947 Reliability Run. Meyer bought it in 1995 and had it restored by Chapouris and the So-Cal Speed Shop.

Charlie Little’s ’29 Ford roadster has a handmade track nose that resembles Wilbur Shaw’s Indy-winning Maserati 8CTF. Atop his car sat a scale model of the 8CTF handcrafted by Paul Geivett, 90, when he was in high school. Geivett is a former midget racer who has scratch-built several models.

But Art of the Car isn’t all hot rods this year. For example, in 1971, Fred Fischer’s father, John, took delivery of a 1957 Ferrari 250 GT LWB Berlinetta Competition, chassis 0733, a model known as the Tour de France because of its success in that racing series. Designed by Pinin Farina and built by Scaglietti in Modena, Italy, the car has a 3.0-liter, V12 that produced about 250 horsepower. It finished second in the 1957 Tour de France driven by Maurice Trintignant and Francois Picard.

Some other noteworthy cars on display included:

* The 1939 Delage D-8 120 Cabriolet from the Mullin Museum.

* Mike Sheehan’s 1954 Troutman-Barnes Special, restored to original condition in 1992.

* August Grasis III’s Allard J2X originally owned by Roy Cherryhomes, was raced several times by Carroll Shelby.

* A 1901 Shaw Motorbike, the only one known to exist.

Tom Strongman
Tom Strongman
Tom Strongman has been writing about automobiles, both new and vintage, as the automotive editor of the Kansas City Star for more than 25 years. He left the paper in 2001 to become its Contributing Editor. His work is syndicated in 20 newspapers through the Universal Uclick Syndicate, the St. Louis Suburban Journals and the Columbus Dispatch. He writes a monthly column for AAA's Home and Away Magazine website and a chain of suburban lifestyle magazines. He authored "Wheels of Dreams," a coffee-table book that is a compilation of his vintage car stories. He has covered several Formula One races plus the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

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