Editor’s note: The ClassicCars.com Journal was at the heart of the action during Arizona Auction Week in Scottsdale, Arizona. Check out our other coverage here.
Almost lost in the hustle and bustle of Arizona auction week, the annual Grand Classic Concours of the Classic Car Club of America quietly offered up some of the world’s most beautiful cars in a free-admission concours at the Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch.
The club’s main focus is on foreign and domestic cars produced between 1915-1948. The club refers to these cars as “Full Classics,” renowned for their fine design, innovation and craftsmanship.
The Grand Classic Concours is a judged club car show that kicks off a full week of social and driving events for the CCCA, which regards itself as one of the country’s oldest existing car clubs.
Elegant and expensive when new, many of these classic cars have lived storied lives in the possession of both the rich and infamous.
CCCA Executive Director Jay Quail of Elm Grove, Wisconsin brought along his 1933 Lincoln seven-passenger limousine. The car was once owned by gangster Frank “The Enforcer” Nitti, right-hand man to Al Capone and successor to the Chicago mob. Propelled by Lincoln’s powerful V12 KB-series engine and fitted with a custom sliding glass partition, it provided a discreet gun-perch which afforded quick getaways.
“The passenger compartment of the car is double-walled steel, like armor plating,” Quail said. An inspection inside the rear door panels of the car revealed it had been stacked with 1930s-era Chicago phonebooks in an attempt to absorb gunfire.
Unrestored and in amazing original condition, the Lincoln offers an evocative look into the living history of this country — a fascination shared by many of the members of the CCCA.
A stunning Rollston-bodied 1935 Duesenberg Berline stood out from the field in a subdued tone of brown metallic paint. The elegant car was originally owned by Bill “Mr. Bojangles” Robinson, a breakout African-American entertainer of the 1930s who defied racial barriers of the day with this exclusive entrée into high society.
The car’s legend states that when the civil rights pioneer was asked which color he wanted his new Duesenberg delivered in, he rolled up his sleeve and pointed to his wrist.
Long separated from its original engine, the Duesenberg was made whole and returned to 100 percent originality within the last six years by its current owner. The buttery twin-cam inline-8 attracted a crowd upon start-up, amazingly smooth for its 84-year-old construction.
It’s stories like this that make the CCCA Full Classics visual automotive treats for today, as well as important historical markers of our cultural past.