Rodeo Drive concours celebrates a truly silver anniversary

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Kip Cyprus' 1960 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz convertible won the "Most Stylish" award at the 25th annual Rodeo Drive Concours d'Elegance | Larry Crane photos

“Iconic” has become more of a complementary adjective than its original symbolic meaning. We hear it too often to allow it to have its purposed power. 

However, on Father’s Day when rarity meets the best in design wrapped in luxury on three blocks of a street created specifically for all of that, there are few superlatives that would seem out of character. 

Even old Hollywood’s favorite top echelon “fabulous” scrambles to acknowledge its accuracy. 

In the year of the silver car, the 1938 Hispano-Suiza H6B Dubonnet Xenia from the Mullin Automotive Museum won Best of Show honors

One hundred of the most eclectic collection of the best cars gather on Rodeo Drive to represent specific segments of enthusiasm. In celebration of the event’s quarter-century of history, 50 of them wore silver paint. That alone was an astonishing achievement in such a broad range of automotive ideas. 

While the event’s name suggests a contest of elegant cars, this is less a contest than a gathering of cars that could individually win awards anywhere.

So how does the car enthusiast culture feel about the luxury fashion venue? Well, 30,000 of them filled the street to a degree that it was difficult to step back and fill your camera screen with a complete car. 

Fathers were often proudly celebrated by several generations of their success. A car show crowded by smiling wives — that, alone, is a memorable moment in time. 

There was, indeed, one “winner,” but there were many awards given more for recognition of creativity than for quality of restoration — which was universal.

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Larry Crane has been an automotive literature aficionado from childhood. Car books and magazines represented most of his reading experience. He moved to Southern California in his early twenties to be close to his favorite cars. After a WestPac stint in the Navy, he was offered a position redesigning Motor Trend magazine. Then, for Steve Earle, he created America's first vintage road racing magazine as both editor and designer. FromVintage Racer he joined Road & Track and then David E. Davis Jr., asked him to help create a new kind of car magazine, Automobile. After 12 years, Crane took his family back to Los Angeles to create his dream magazine, AUTO Aficionado, which attracted an impressive cadre of the most influential members of the collector car hobby until the national economy made that one impossible to continue.

1 COMMENT

  1. Yes, but Rodeo Drive is in Beverly Hills and very certainly not Hollywood. Huge difference. Huge. And Rodeo Drive could hardly be called a "golden shopping street of Hollywood." To someone from the area, this (and confusing the two) is a rather laughable notion.

    As for photographing cars at this show, this notion has never been easy simply due to the nature of cramming thousands of people along with dozens and dozens of vintage cars all onto a street not really designed for such stuff. Rodeo Drive is not a wide thoroughfare.

    Still, this event is always a memorable one to attend. But please don’t move it over to Hollywood–which really is a different geographic, governmental, municipal, demographic… and visual location.

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