In the nine years I have attended the Hilton Head Island Concours d’Elegance as a judge, I have seen a great many changes, and obstacles that this concours has faced. With the exception of 2020, when the event was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic, it has overcome those obstacles and put together a n event that is one of the very best in the country.
Be it hurricane clean-up, venue changes, no matter what has come to pass, the team has taken on the challenge and always delivered.
This year was no different. Despite constant rain on Friday, the tour went on, just with a few less cars. The Saturday club day also suffered constant rain, yet still hundreds of car owners turned up to show their prized vehicles on a very wet show field.
The rain was supposed to have stop by early Sunday morning, but when we arrived at the field at 9 a.m. that morning for judging, the precipitation continued. But the concours field had been quickly rearranged late Saturday night and the classes were filled with some amazing cars.
There was an amazing Jaguar E-Type class as well as a Stutz class and entrants turned up to be judged regardless of the weather
One concern was whether spectators who had bought tickets would attend, but by the time the rain finally stopped at 10 a.m.,the field quickly filled with people coming out to see the cars on display, with many more arriving by noon.
Another change brought on this past weekend by the conditions was presenting awards in front of the Port Royal Golf Club clubhouse instead of the usual show stand set up. This new setting was wonderful and I’d suggest this become a regular feature.
By show’s end the top winners were:
- Best Rolling Art award (aka Best of Show) was given to the 1932 Packard 903 Deluxe Victoria owned by Mr. and Mrs. Richard Lambert of Port Orange, Florida.
- Paul Doerring Best Production/Performance award went to the 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz owned by Phil Farese of Wake Forest, North Carolina. I judged this car which won my class. Except for the paint and chrome, Farese had done the restoration of this car by himself over a period of 20 years.
- The Best Road & Track award went to a 1951 Cooper MG Sports Racer owned by Howard Banaszak of Fernandina Beach, Florida. This car, with the look of a Ferrari 166 barchetta, was perfect in every way and had an amazing history in competition.
- The Best Motorcycle award went to the 1937 Sunbeam Light Solo Sports owned by Richard Daughenbaugh of Aiken, South Carolina.
Finally, it is important to note that the Hilton Head Concours this year has a new president in Lindsay Harrell, and she has been successful in taking the concours again to the next level by fielding the best cars we have seen at the concours and showing her ability to make on on-the-spot changes. She should be commended for such a great effort, especially in her debut event.