Located about 40 miles northeast of central Phoenix, the Arizona town of Fountain Hills is known for its 560-foot-tall water fountain, which dates back to 1970, that shoots high above the town lake. The Swiss-built fountain is the world’s fourth-tallest, making it a fitting backdrop for a similarly world-class display of collector cars.
The rolling grounds surrounding the fountain hosted the 8th annual Concours in the Hills, which event director Peter Volny said achieved record numbers this year with more than 1,100 vehicles on display and an estimated 50,000 spectators.
Volny and his team of volunteers have grown the show in size and scope over the years; it debuted in 2014 with about 200 vehicles and 5,000 spectators. The show also has an important community-service aspect, with 100 percent of the registration fees going toward Phoenix Children’s Hospital. More than $430,000 was raised this year.
“The magnitude of this show is a testament to the enormity and diversity of the car scene here in Arizona, and to the generosity of all participants,” Volny stated.
“This is not a formal ‘white gloves’ concours,” the show’s website notes, “but rather a fun and relaxed car show open to all makes and models.”
This year’s docket backed up that claim, showcasing everything from a multi-million-dollar McLaren F1 to a 660cc 3-cylinder Honda Beat kei car, the Japanese designation for tiny urban vehicles. And while awards were distributed in a few categories, Volny emphasizes that the show is more about fun than competition.
Having attended several prior Concours in the Hills events, I noted this year a strong contingent of later-model exotics when compared with vintage vehicles. The show field was a rainbow of colors worthy of a Skittles package, and my favorite aspect was how the perimeter of the waterfront was organized by marque.
The layout made for easy navigation and friend-finding, increased camaraderie among owners of similar vehicles, and established logical traffic flow with minimal crowding. Volny states that the field was divided into six categories: European, Domestic, Asian, Race Cars, Off-Road and Motorcycles.
Greg and Jennifer Davis of Gilbert are three-time participants in the Concours, and this year they showcased their 2001 Ferrari 550 Barchetta.
“I chose to display the Ferrari 550 Barchetta as this show is very exotic-focused, and I feel the rarity (one of 448 cars) of it makes it stand out in a sea of ‘mass-produced’ exotics,” Greg Davis said.
He observed that this car show attracts unique and rare cars that don’t typically come out to “regular” events such as cars and coffee. He mentioned a few of his standout favorites, such as a ISO Rivolta GT Zagato, Hennessey Venom F5 and the Aston Martin One-77.
“For the eighth year in succession, Mother Nature favorited us with sunny skies in the low ’80s,” Volny said.