When I attended the inaugural Chattanooga Motoring Festival in 2019, I came away impressed. Never had I seen a first-year concours better executed and managed. Not only did this event put together a number of great cars, it also was possibly the most enjoyable event I attended all year.
When the event had to cancel last year, except for Monterey Car Week, it was the event that I was most sad to see drop from the 2020 calendar due to world events.
To say that I was excited to see what event founders — the DeFoor Brothers, Brian Johnson, Corky Coker, and the late Jim Pace — had put together for their second running n 2021 was to an understatement.
Well, I now can tell you, to use a term from the movie Spinal Tap, the team took it to 11 for their second running, adding to an already great weekend a full vintage race weekend, a pair or rallies, as well as an auction put on by Mecum.
The weekend started Friday with the vintage races at a newly constructed track designed by Pace and with a cars and coffee-type event for various local car clubs. The day ended with live music and — quite literally — dancing on the streets of downtown Chattanooga.
Saturday was another great day with more vintage racing, a second, and even better-attended, cars and coffee club event, plus seminars with notable collector car and racing celebrities such as racing legends Brian Redman, David Hobbs, Justin Bell and Ray Evernham, and notable car celebrities including Wayne Carini, Ray Shaffer from Porsche, and Sports Car Market magazine founder Keith Martin. The day again ended with some great live music on Saturday and, you guessed it, more dancing on the streets.
Sunday was the main event with the concours field filled with more than 150 cars, including an amazing display called the Gathering of the Greats: The Ferrari Edition, which included some of the world’s most significant Ferraris, including a 1948 Ferrari 166 Spider Corsa, a 1954 Ferrari 250 Monza, a 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4S NART Spider, and a 1985 288 GTO.
By the conclusion of the concours, the winner of the The Timeless Elegance Award went to Jack Boyd Smith’s 1936 Packard 12, and the People’s Choice was a 1950 Buick Special owned by Jeff Hardin.
The Best of Show award was well earned by a 1967 Ferrari NART Spyder owned by Rare Wheels Collection.
“We’re topping off this year’s Festival with one of the best cars in the world,” said Carini, who presented the trophy. “Luigi Chinetti’s vision was to have the top go down on a 275. They made 10 of these cars. It is probably the only silver one that was built. This deserves best in show.”
“We did it,” said Byron DeFoor. “The city has been very good to us. Thank you all for coming to Chattanooga and supporting the event as well as neuroscience and finding a cure for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and strokes.
“It’s also about the cars and everyone coming to Chattanooga,” he added. “We had a great show, at the Pace Grand Prix at the Bend and here in West Village at the Concours d’Elegance. Thank you all for believing in our event, in our cause, and for taking part in all the activities.”
DeFoor surprised concours director Ken Gross by presenting him with the Chairman’s Award.
“This it totally unexpected,” said Gross, an award-winning automotive journalist and former director of the Petersen Automotive Museum. “One of the reasons I said yes to Byron to help with this event is because the proceeds go to neuroscience research, Dr. Thomas Devlin and his researchers. I thought, these are great people, a great cause, and I’m in as long as you want me.”
If you have not yet added the Chattanooga Motoring Festival to your schedule of must-attend collector car events, be sure to do so. It is one of the best events on the automotive calendar.