Classic cars make a splash at annual Concours in the Hills

Nearly 1,000 cars were on display

The Concours in the Hills is held annually in Fountain Hills, Arizona, just outside Phoenix. We’ll get to the classic cars in a moment, but it’s important I set the scene: The vehicles are organized primarily by marque and are spread out on grassy hills. But if that sounds like a relatively standard car show, consider that this one wraps around a lake with a 300-foot fountain in the middle.

Considering the overcast weather and the proximity to a lake, this Amphicar 770 wasn't a bad choice to bring to the concours. | Carter Nacke photo

Considering the overcast weather and the proximity to a lake, this Amphicar 770 wasn’t a bad choice to bring to the concours. | Carter Nacke photo

It’s difficult to track down an exact number, but organizer Peter Volny estimated more than 20,000 people attended the free event.

“While it is a lot of yearlong work to put this show on, we are a bunch of car lovers and are proud to showcase just how much we have here in Arizona,” he said. “When it comes to car culture, we are in the driver’s seat.”

Volny said the event broke its own charitable record this year as more than $155,000 was raised for Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

Also, the record number of cars — 941 — offered something for just about everyone.

A string of racers by the lake greeted attendees. | Bob Golfen photo

Walking in, I first came across a row of vintage racers. Though there were some great ones, what caught my eye was a 1966 Indy car once driven by Mario Andretti. The British-built racer was equipped with a Ford V8 capable of 475 horsepower and a top speed of 200 mph. It looked fast just standing still.

As I my wanderings continued, I strolled past the Ferraris and Lamborghinis and made my way to a small cluster of Citroens. I struck up a conversation with Mickey Saperstein about his hand-built MotoGuzzi three-wheeler that was loaded with custom riveting.

“I got a carp in my tunnel,” he joked when asked about how much work went into the display.

A slightly restored 1961 Citroen DS19 sat nearby. Owner Erik Torrey said the car was given to him by his father after it sat in the garage for 15 years. He had been working on it for about a year and a half and enjoyed showing off the signature hydraulic suspension, of which former French President Charles de Gaulle was a fan (he swore to only ride in the DS after one helped him survive an assassination attempt).

Mickey Saperstein leaves the concours in his hand-built beauty. | Bob Golfen photo

Strolling further around the lake brought me to the American-made sections of the show. There were plenty of vintage Cadillacs, Chevrolets, Dodges and Fords on display. A Studebaker Golden Hawk with a supercharger under the hood received a fair amount of attention.

Given their rise in popularity, I was a little surprised to only see one example each of a Ford Bronco and Chevrolet Blazer. It was on my hunt for these that I came across Ed Boblitt.

He is the owner of a 1981 DeLorean made famous by the 1985 film Back to the Future. Though a few were on display, he was the only owner dressed as Dr. Emmett Brown — wild white hair included.

He said he’s a fairly regular fixture at local shows and, when he can, he offers children rides in the car. After, they’re each given a special DeLorean Hot Wheels car, compliments of the good doctor. He said he’s given out about 4,000 of the car to date.

Cellphones weren't invented in 1985, but Doc had access to a time machine... | Carter Nacke photo

Cellphones weren’t invented in 1985, but Doc had access to a time machine… | Carter Nacke photo

Like any concours, awards were handed out. A 1957 Jaguar D-type owned by Terry Larson was named Best of Show while a 1970 Maserati Ghibli and a 1968 Shelby American Lonestar Cobra were named best import and domestic.

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