Cars for a cause at the castle

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A 1934 Packard 1100 Dietrich sedan owned by Tony O'Hara is among the entrants in the 2018 Benedict Castle Concours | Howard Koby photos

Used by Hollywood for the filming of old Frankenstein movies and the Hunchback of Notre Dame, Benedict Castle is a historic 100-year-old Spanish-Moorish design Southern California landmark inspired by the Alhambra Castle in Granada, Spain. It also is a wonderful, picturesque venue for a vintage and classic car show. 

The fifth annual Benedict Castle Concours was staged this past weekend. Organized by founder Nicole Meguiar and presented by Crossroads Car Shows, the event benefits Southern California Teen Challenge, believed to be the largest and oldest addiction recovery program in the world. Fittingly, the Challenge has its headquarters in the castle. 

Over 300 cars, everything from American classics, muscle cars, low-riders, hot rods, custom pickups, Shelby Cobras, customs, European exotics and motorcycles, graced the historic landmark this year.

Serving as grand marshal was Wayne Carini, host of the hit Velocity channel televison show Chasing Classic Cars. Among other car stars in attendance were Mike Brewer, Von Hot Rod, Joji Barris, Rick Dore and Barry Meguiar. 

The original Batmobile was back to the venue where it was first unveiled

The automotive excellence at the show was scattered on lawns that cascade around the castle, which sits atop a hill overlooking the courtyard where the original Batmobile, built by the late George Barris, was exhibited for all to admire.  

Also up on the hill, an authentic Southwestern lunch was available at the Petersen Automotive Museum VIP Pavilion. There also was  an English High Tea in the castle sanctuary, and guided tours of the castle were offered.

The variety of vehicles was impressive, with superb examples from Corvette, Shelby Cobras, Rolls-Royce, Packards, Jaguars, Ford roadsters, Deloreans and many more.  

Special automotive highlights included a high performance 1974 Citroen SM displayed by the Mullin Automotive Museum, and an aluminum-bodied 1936 Custom Cadillac named “Shangri-La” and designed by innovative car builder Rick Dore.  This masterpiece is finished in cobalt-blue (special hue) and under the hood is a small-block, 390 hp fuel-injected Ram Jet 350 V8.  “Shangri-La” was a contender for America’s Most Beautiful Roadster.

Best of Show winners

There were two Best of Show winners — a slate grey 1959 Chevrolet Corvette, presented by Dick and Wava Zorker, and a stunning 1932 Auburn 12 Boattail Speedster (only 35 were built), exhibited by Bruce Wanta. 

The striking Auburn also earned a People’s Choice Award at the St. Michael’s Concours d’Elegance in 2013 and won First in Class at the Pacific Northwest Concours d’Elegance followed by the Ascent Best of Show trophy.  The Auburn features Woodlite headlamps and a Lalique radiator mascot and houses V12 engine rated at 160 horsepower.

For more information, visit the Crossroads website.

 

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Howard graduated with honors from the Art Center College of Design in California. He has been a photographer and automotive journalist for 35 years out of his Los Angeles studio. He has been published in Hot Rod, AutoWeek, Road & Track, Car and Driver, Jaguar Journal, Forza, Vintage Motorsport, Classic Motorsports, Robb Report, Motor Trend Classic, Hemmings Muscle Machines, and 50 Years of Road & Track (MBI Publishing). He has served on the Advisory Committee of the Transportation Design Department at Art Center College of Design. He is the author of the books Top Fuel Dragsters of the 1970s and Pro Stock Dragsters of the 1970s, both available on amazon.com.

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