Jules Heumann, co-chair of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance for more than three-and-a-half decades, died last week at the age of 93.
Heumann and fellow co-chair Lorin Tyron led the concours from 1972 through 1998. They are credited with elevating the California event to worldwide prominence and to become the keystone of the famed Monterey Classic Car Week every August.
The Pebble Beach Concours, founded in 1950 as an adjunct to sports car racing through the peninsula’s Del Monte Forest, was struggling after the death of concours’ co-organizer Gwenn Graham when Heumann and Tyron stepped in to resuscitate the picturesque car show held on the 18th fairway of the Pebble Beach Golf Links.
They eventually succeeded in their goals of displaying the greatest and most significant of automobiles, as well as many innovative vehicles in special classes, and in creating concours judging standards that would become doctrine for all such competitions of elegance.
Heumann, known simply as “J” to his friends and associates, was a renowned expert in the cars of Hispano-Suiza. He bought his first example from the storied marque in 1963 and never looked back. In 1972, his 1922 Hispano-Suiza H6B Labourdette Skiff/Torpedo won Best of Show at Pebble Beach, and in 1978 his 1933 Hispano-Suiza J12 Van Vooren Faux Cabriolet won Most Elegant Car at the concours.
As well as being a classic car collector and enthusiast, Heumann was a hands-on restorer who knew his cars inside out. His eye for elegant form framed his working life as well; he was until his retirement co-owner and chief designer of the Metropolitan Furniture Corporation.
Tyron died in 1999 and Heumann served as sole chairman for the event that year, after which he retired and was named chairman emeritus. In that role, he remained an active influence on the concours as its reputation and influence continued to grow in the new century.
In recent years, the Pebble Beach Concours has presented the Jules Heumann Most Elegant Open Car Award.
“J’s passing marks the end of an era,” Pebble Beach chair Sandra Button said in an obituary prepared by the concours. “J was at the forefront of the group of great automotive enthusiasts who save many of the interesting cars of this world. They preserved and restored cars, and then took their passion for cars and worked to share it not only with their neighbors but with the world.
“J and his generation of car lovers taught us how to truly care for and celebrate cars.”
For information about the Pebble Beach concours, visit the event website
Amelia Island Concours plugs electric cars
Some might find it ironic that a new type of electric motor signaled the downfall of electric vehicles in the early days of motoring, as Cadillac pioneered the first electric starter in 1912. That technology helped boost the internal-combustion engine into domination over electric and steam power, a position it has held ever since.
The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance features the history of electric automobiles, as well as their more-recent resurgence, with a special class of electric-motor powered horseless carriages and a seminar that focuses on the latest developments in electric transportation.
The concours, to be held Sunday, March 11, 2018, on the fairways of The Golf Club of Amelia Island in Florida, also will display some of the latest electric and hybrid cars that are gradually changing the automotive landscape.
“The reality surrounding the current strain of electric cars has the look of renaissance about it,” Bill Warner, the concours founder and chair and a graduate electrical engineer, said in a news release. “So it’s time for The Amelia to honor the early pioneers who saw the future of the electric car with unusual clarity.”
A seminar entitled “Watt’s Next? Design Challenges of the Electric Car” will be held March 9 in the Talbot Ballroom of the adjacent Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island resort. A panel of leading automotive and electric-vehicle experts will head the discussion.
For more information, visit the event website.
More concours and event news
The Elegance at Hershey has identified a new executive director, Melissa Rau, for the Pennsylvania concours d’elegance to be held June 8-10, 2018. For more information, visit the event website.
Special early bird ticket pricing has been announced for the inaugural Classic & Sports Car Show and Flywheel Festival, a historic motoring and aircraft event to be held June 23 and 24 at Bicester Heritage, located near Oxford in the U.K. Prices will be reduced 15 percent for tickets purchased now through January 31. To buy tickets, visit the event website.