Greenbrier’s formerly secret vault provides shelter for concours cars

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Owners of a Dodge Viper enjoy their photo op in front of the historic Greenbrier resort and spa in West Virginia | Andy Reid photos

Last year, Paul Ianuario told me about a new concours event happening at the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. While I was a bit skeptical about yet another concours being added to an already crowed collector car calendar, I had been to the Greenbrier and thought it would make for a great location for such an event.  

Though initially planned for 2017, a number of issues put off the inaugural concours until May 5-6 of this year. 

Brass era Stanley earns a thumbs up as it parades in front of the Greenbrier

Though some might see it as being a year late, the extra time actually allowed the organizers to put on a true world-class show despite some issues with weather (think lots of rain). 

The field comprised everything from brass era classics to the newest of categories, a 25-year anniversary celebration of the Dodge Viper. The Vipers were well received and included the original test mule as well as the Viper concept car. 

The other classes at the Greenbrier Concours were also well filled with scores of top-caliber cars.  The post-war European sports car class included such cars as a 1964 Porsche 901, a 1961 Triumph Italia, a 1961 Side-Latch Jaguar E-Type coupe, and a stunning 1956 Austin-Healey 100M. The racing car class had a number of amazing cars, among them a 1957 Ferrari 500-TRC, an amazing 1972 McLaren M8F Can Am car, a factory 1972 BMW CSL FIA Group 2 car, and a 1965 Cooper T-75.

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Full classics were well represented as well, standouts being a 1928 Isotta Fraschini 8A SS, a 1928 Auburn 8-115 Speedster, and a beautiful 1936 Rolls Royce Phantom III.

Among the cars on display in ‘the vault’ was the eventual Best of Show, this 1931 SS1

The top honor of Best in Show went to a sinister-looking 1935 SS1 Saloon. It was a crowd favorite and deserved the award due to its rarity, presence, and presentation.

One of the nice things about this concours was the ability to display cars inside the Greenbrier’s vault. The vault was a secret location during the Cold War where Congress could have been housed in the event of a nuclear war. For years, the location was a national secret but these days you can take a tour of the facility. The formerly secret location offered the space and safety from the elements needed to properly show the race car, exotic car, and preservation class cars.

Another neat thing about the location is that this turns out to be a very spouse friendly concours. The Greenbrier resort offers too many activities to list with everything from a spa to classes in glass blowing to horseback riding and even an on-site off-road driving class. This is in addition to the many restaurants and shopping opportunities. There is even a casino in the basement.

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Andy Reid's first car, purchased at age 15, was a 1968 Fiat 124 coupe. His second, obtained by spending his college savings fund, was a 1966 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2. Since then, he has owned more than 150 cars—none of them normal or reasonable—as well as numerous classic motorcycles and scooters. A veteran of film, television, advertising and helping to launch a few Internet-based companies, Reid was a columnist for Classic Motorsports magazine for 12 years and has written for several other publications. He is considered an expert in European sports and luxury cars and is a respected concours judge. He lives in Canton, Connecticut.

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