Concours gone, born and reborn

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A pair of Packards grace the lawn at the Concours d'Elegance of Copshalem | Larry Edsall

The collector car community was poorer by four concours d’elegance events during 2018, but richer by two, including the reorganization of one of the canceled concours into a new one. And another new concours was announced for next year.

The sad news focused on the ones that were absent this year:

The Arizona Concours d’Elegance, previously held for four years at the Arizona Biltmore Resort in Phoenix at the start of January’s annual Arizona Auction Week.

The Pinehurst Concours d’Elegance, which started in 2013 at the Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina and was abruptly canceled in January.

The Greystone Mansion Concours d’Elegance of Beverly Hills, California, that was cancelled “due to unforeseen circumstances.”

The Lake Bluff Concours d’Elegance of St. Joseph, Michigan, which was ended after 13 years due to a change in park policy by its host city.

But there was good news, too, as the Greenbriar Concours d’Elegance was started May 5-6 at the historic resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia, with an impressive batch of collector cars in a spectator-friendly atmosphere.

The 1935 SS1 Saloon that won best of show at the Greenbriar Concours | Andy Reid

Despite drizzly weather, the inaugural event went off well as the organizers used one of the unique features of the Greenbriar Resort – a secret vault – to display the more weather-adverse automotive entrants. The vault is a broad basement location that was designated during the Cold War as a secure place for government dignitaries to shelter in case of catastrophe.

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The show included honors for the 25th anniversary of the Dodge Viper, as well as classes that went back to Brass Era cars from the beginning of the last century. The best of show winner was a classic black 1935 SS1 Saloon, produced by the British automaker that would be renamed Jaguar after the war.

The other piece of good news was even more impressive, the “rebirth” of the Lake Bluff Concours as a brand-new event, the Concours d’Elegance of Copshalom near South Bend, Indiana, about 40 miles from St. Joseph.

The new Indiana concours was organized by the Studebaker National Museum and some of the enthusiasts who were instrumental in holding the Lake Bluff show. The Studebaker museum’s neighbor, The History Museum, joined in the venture, and the inaugural show was held on the grounds of the Oliver Mansion – named Copshaholm after the family’s ancestral Scottish village – and the adjoining Oliver Gardens.

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The 1929 Auburn Cabin Speedster at the Copshalem concours | Larry Edsall

The mansion was built in 1895 by industrialist J.D. Oliver, and it made for a splendid historic backdrop to the garden-party atmosphere of the show, which featured the myriad of automotive brands produced in the Hoosier State. There were classes that included Studebaker Hawks and Hoosier Centenarians, as well as others for such things as micro cars and “Never Been Kissed” preservation vehicles.

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Cars were sent to the show by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Museum, the Gilmore Car Museum, America’s Packard Museum and the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum.  Best of Show and People’s Choice honors were awarded to a 1931 Duesenberg Model J owned by Margie and Joseph Cassini, who has a significant Indiana connection: Judge Cassini graduated from the law school at nearby Notre Dame University.

Also this year came the announcement of a new concours d’elegance in a grand location: Las Vegas. The inaugural Las Vegas Concours d’Elegance will be held Saturday, October 26, at the DragonRidge Country Club, which provides a view of The Vegas Strip. The next day, October 27, the main drag of The Strip will be shut down for a parade of the show cars for all to see.

The concours will take place in what will become an “automotive autumn” in Las Vegas, on the weekend after the Barrett-Jackson Collector Car Auction and before the big SEMA Show.

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Bob Golfen is a longtime automotive writer and editor, focusing on new vehicles, collector cars, car culture and the automotive lifestyle. He is the former automotive writer and editor for The Arizona Republic and SPEED.com, the website for the SPEED motorsports channel. He has written free-lance articles for a number of publications, including Autoweek, The New York Times and Barrett-Jackson auction catalogs. A collector car enthusiast with a wide range of knowledge about the old cars that we all love and desire, Bob enjoys tinkering with archaic machinery. His current obsession is a 1962 Porsche 356 Super coupe.

1 COMMENT

  1. Had a great time at the Concours d’Elegance at Copshaholm even though we had to push our FriskySport into place since the fuel shutoff valve malfunctioned. It was an honor to be present for the first Concours.

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