This year, the free event celebrates 100 years of Bentley
“Old boys have their playthings as well as young ones, the difference is only in the price” – Benjamin Franklin
In 1967 Fred Hyman, “the father of Rodeo Drive,” opened Giorgio Beverly Hill, the street’s first high-end boutique. A year later, Gucci opened on Rodeo Drive, which accelerated the growth by which the street became the shopping boulevard of the rich and famous.
It is said that if you listen closely to a scene in the 1990 movie Pretty Woman, you will hear a line that says, “Via Rodeo is the first new street built in Beverly Hills in 75 years.”
Rodeo Drive is home to what is considered the most expensive stores in the world: For example, House of Bijan, where you must make an appointment to shop and, on a typical visit, a customer will spend over $100,000 on men’s fashions.
Looking back, the first Rodeo Drive Concours started with Sharon Stone and Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo honoring the then-brand-new Ferrari 348 Spider. The first model went for more than $1 million at auction (proceeds went to charity), and in 1994 the event was born and moved to Father’s Day.
On June 16, 2019, Father’s Day, zip code 90210, the most famous shopping street in the world was closed to all traffic from Wilshire to Little Santa Monica Boulevard for the posh Rodeo Drive Concours presented by the Rodeo Drive Committee in conjunction with the City of Beverly Hills.
Fathers of all shapes, sizes, and colors flocked to Rodeo Drive with family and friends to admire and gawk over vintage race cars, European classics, antiques, American muscle and the latest exotics from around the world.
Amazingly, this world-class event is free to the public and a great place to celebrate Father’s Day with the entire family.
Rodeo Drive Concours committee chairman Bruce Meyer states, “It’s one of those special events that appeals to everyone. The combination of fashion, architecture, great cars and the best people watching makes it a unique tradition every Father’s Day.”
A special display this year included the finest motorcars from Bentley Motor Ltd., the British marque celebrating its 100th anniversary and represented by a 1927 Bentley 4.5 Litre Le Mans Special, a 1960 Bentley S2 Continental, a 1929 Bentley 4.5 Litre Touring by Vanden Plas, a 1928 Bentley 4.5 Litre Tourer and a perfect re-creation of the 1930 Bentley “Blue Train” that won the Rodeo Drive Award-Most Unique displayed by Phillip Sarofim.
Bentley Motors Ltd was founded in 1919 by 21-year-old Walter Owen “W.O.” Bentley and his two years senior brother, Horace Milner Bentley straight out of WWII and wanting to race cars (the two 4 Litre cars participated on the international Grand Prix race circuit).
Bentley also showed its 2019 Bentley Continental GT3 race car and hosted a driving program with the 2019 Bentley GTC convertible, 2019 Bentley Bentayga Speed and 2019 Bentley Hybrid.
Additional displays included a “Future Classics” exhibition courtesy of ClassicCars.com, along with displays by Ferrari Beverly Hills, Santa Monica Maserati, Superformance, BMW Performance Center and Compass.
Some of the esteemed awards honored Dr. Perry Mansfield with his fantastic 1935 Bugatti Type 57 Aerolithe Recreation (Mayor’s Award-Most Elegant), Iconic Award-Timeless Classic to Tomy Drissi presenting his superb 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB4, David Duthu’s exceptional 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300SL coupe received the Steve McQueen Award-Classic Sports Car, Police Chiefs Award-Life in the Fast Lane went to Ken Okuyama with his innovative design of the 2018 Kode57, the Carroll Shelby Award-Most Sporting went to the striking 1953 Kurtis 500S Roadster presented by Tom Malloy and the coveted Best of Show to Aaron and Valerie Weiss with their stunning 1925 Rolls-Royce silver Ghost (Piccadilly).
“The car is the quintessential Rodeo Drive car of the era, something which would have been driven by many silent film stars,” said Weiss.
“What brings me the most happiness is I look over the crowds (46,000 in attendance) that are here and the diversity, the gender, the ethnicity, the variety of people that come to enjoy this event is what makes it for me,” Bruce Meyer reflects.
“It’s all about the people. It is also a way to honor dads and to support the Beverly Hills Police Foundation (the concours’ charity of choice) that helps police families in times of need.”