In previous years — and there have been a lot of them as the Concours d’Elegance of America (nee Meadow Brook Concours) prepares to celebrate its 40th anniversary — the annual media preview day for Detroit’s own car show was held at the actual venue.
But this year the program was moved to a more intimate but no less fitting location, the College for Creative Studies’ Ford Campus, located just north of downtown Detroit and very near the historic Piquette Avenue plant where Henry Ford and his young car company assembled the first 12,000 Model Ts.
While the Piquette Avenue facility is historic, the Ford Campus, one of two centers housing the art and design school that produces many car designers, is a modern urban oasis surrounding a sculpture garden. In other words, an ideal setting to display nine of the 300 vehicles that will be on the golf course fairways next month when the concours takes place at the Inn at St. John’s in west suburban Plymouth.
Actually, there were 10 cars on display, but the bestickered 1959 Cadillac coupe won’t be joining the likes of the 1935 Duesenberg, 1939 Bugatti, 1910 Ford, 1958 Bentley or the 1969 Triumph motorcycle as an official concours entry come the weekend of July 27-29.
From its start as a one-day car show, the concours has grown into a three-day, 15-event extravaganza. The activities begin July 27 with a motoring tour, a gala and a battle of the bands musical showcase.
But conserve your energy because on July 28, there’s a 1,200-vehicle cars and coffee; a Porsche Racing Legends panel featuring Brian Redman, Vic Elford and Hurley Haywood; and a new Truck Night gathering celebrating the centennial of Ford and Chevrolet pickups.
On July 29 comes the concours, featuring five cars from the Collectors of the Year, Sam and Emily Mann; 14 vehicles — some his, some General Motors’ — honoring Enthusiast of the Year, Mark Reuss; and such featured classes as 70 years of Porsche, Porsche Werks race cars, Bugatti, Plymouth, Mercedes-Benz 300SL, Steam Cars, Jet Age cars, Cars of the (concours’) Founding Fathers, Flip-Top (drag racing) Funny cars,
Diane Fils-Schneider, the concours’ executive director, noted that such events historically involved art, fashion and automobiles, and said that the Concours d’Elegance of America will do so as well with eight professional artists displaying their works and eight CCS students doing sketches; with professional fashion models, some in gowns made from automotive seat fabric and car-part jewelry, showcasing vehicles during the awards presentation; and, of course, with the 300 cars seeking concours’ honors.
For details, visit the concours website.