Chattanooga conjures up its own style of concours

With time trials, tours and vintage boats, it’s more than just another classic car show

Only a few months ago, brothers Ken and Byron DeFoor thought it would be fun to create a concours d’elegance event in the West Village neighborhood of downtown Chattanooga, where many of their real estate holdings are located.  They chose the Chattanooga-based Erlanger Neuroscience Institute as their charity and got on their phones to make it happen. 

This past weekend, it happened, and it was pretty darn spectacular for their first time out.

With major sponsorships from Chattanooga’s Volkswagen, Coca-Cola, GM, and Atlanta-based Porsche, the event featured an entire parking lot full of vintage VWs, a Porsche party with a new-product reveal, and an excellent display of five historic Corvettes from museums.

This is a 1910 Nyberg, People’s Choice winner, built in Chattanooga and now owned by honored collector Corky Coker, who brought a host of machinery from his museum six blocks away | Jim McCraw photos

There were five elements to the weekend. For the racers, there were two days of time trials along the banks of the Tennessee River over a 1.5-mile course with a 180-degree turn and two sets of chicanes.  (Two course workers were injured when a mechanical failure caused one of the time-trial cars to crash.)

For the marine-minded, there was a display of vintage boats, moored in the river.  

For enthusiast drivers, there were two road rallies through the Tennessee hills, starting and finishing at Coker Tire, the world’s largest supplier of vintage-car tires and a Chattanooga institution.  

There were two days of cars-and-coffee at the headquarters Westin hotel parking lot and other lots scattered around the hotel.  

The concours ran all day Saturday, not on some nearby golf course, like Amelia Island, St. John’s, Pebble Beach and others, but on the streets around the Westin for five blocks.

Al and Barbara Mason from Virginia won Best In Class 2, Best Paint and Best in Show with this fabulous 1928 Auburn 8-115 roadster, which Al restored and painted himself

There were celebrities all over the place, starting with British racing greats, grand marshal Brian Redman, racer and TV host David Hobbs, and Alain de Cadenet, American racers Bill Elliott, Tanner Foust, Jim Pace and Dorsey Schroeder, who ran the time trials, car collector and vintage racer Brian Johnson of the rock group AC/DC,  TV personalities Keith Martin, Donald Osborne, Barry Meguiar, and Wayne Carini, and honored collector Corky Coker, along with the first lady of motorsports, Linda Vaughn.

The quality and variety of the cars on display first time was out excellent, many of them prize winners from previous events, all put together by journalist, author, hot-rodder, museum exhibition curator and all-around car nut, Ken Gross.  

We can’t wait to see what this team comes up with next year.

Jim McCraw

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  • Doug Mills
    October 19, 2019, 2:14 PM

    Sounds like a great event!!! I saw all the notifications, but couldn’t make it this year. Do they have a date set for next year?

  • John Landstrom
    October 20, 2019, 6:02 AM

    I displayed my 1931 Henderson motorcycle at the concours. I was impressed with how smoothly everything went the day of the show. Load in and out was a breeze Parking was convenient. All the staff were very nice. I look forward to next years show

    • Jt Toy@John Landstrom
      October 20, 2019, 11:17 AM

      I’ll be there next year if only to see your wonderful Henderson. Sounds like a unique event with something for everyone.

  • Chip Wright
    October 20, 2019, 5:01 PM

    This was a real lifestyle event. From the top down everyone involved should be commended for such a fine event. There was something for every car guy and gal from supercars of today to some of the oldest supercars from long past. Thanks to Byron DeFoor and his brother for assembling such a capable team to pull this off!!! Can’t wait for next year!

  • Somer H
    October 21, 2019, 8:20 AM

    Great show. More like a 3 ring circus from back when 3 ring meant a lot of entertainment. Sunrise to sunset and beyond entertainment!


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