The event has thrived by combining a casual show and glow event with a concours d’elegance
Formerly a two-day affair, the Milwaukee Concours d’Elegance — previously known as the Milwaukee Masterpiece — has consolidated into a single-day event that features both a club car show and judged concours.
The 14-year-old event is firmly established, despite the recent tweaking. Moving the show up three weeks in August avoided conflicts with the Geneva Concours and it now takes place prior to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance at Monterey Car Week, enabling a premium field of cars.
A great lakefront location, a strong judging corps and a wonderful regional enthusiast base are also keys to its success.
Held in the shadow of the famous Santiago Calatrava-designed Milwaukee Art Museum, the site afforded scenic backdrops of the city and cool lake breezes. Honorary Judge Donald Osborne from Jay Leno’s Garage joined Chief Judge and Hagerty Magazine columnist Colin Comer, along with other knowledgeable stalwarts, such as Tony Stevens — grandson of industrial designer Brooks Stevens — and SCCA Hall of Fame racer Peter Cunningham, to decide the winners.
The event was chaired by Carrol Jensen, who is also the president of the Classic Car Club of America and a multiple-marque car collector herself.
All that synergy made for a great selection of cars, including some wonderful examples of well-preserved, original vehicles.
The 1955 Austin Healey 100M BN1 of Jim and Debbie Keck wore fresh event stickers from a lifetime of rallying, showing wonderful patina throughout — including a spot where the paint had been rubbed through from the pilot hanging his arm over the door of the cramped cockpit.
An unrestored 1958 Thomas 800 Cab-Over Flatbed was presented by Kettle Moraine Preservation & Restoration. The truck served as a transporter for privateer Formula 1 racer Pete Lovely in the early 1960s and staged a scruffy-yet-wonderful 1959 Stanguellini Formula Junior on the back.
A 1909 Peerless 19 Roi d’Belges 7 Passenger Touring of Robert Lederer had remarkably survived numerous cycles of restoration fever and remained completely untouched for over a century. Fittingly, it took home the award for Best Original car.
Top honors went to a 1963 Ferrari 400 Superamerica Coupe owned by Jack and Debbie Thomas, and a 1932 Duesenberg J Judkins Victoria Coupe owned by classic car dealer Mark Hyman.
A striking Frua-bodied 1956 Fina Sport Convertible owned by Tedd and Tina Zamjahn took home the Donald Osborne Award.
The car is one of three ever produced.