HomeCar CultureThe Chattanooga Motoring Festival Continues to Go to the Next Level

The Chattanooga Motoring Festival Continues to Go to the Next Level

Representing the very best of the new breed of concours events


You may wonder why the lead photo for a story on a concours event is a picture of the B52s performing. Well read further and I will explain how it all ties in.

In 2019 we saw a new event added to the concours calendar, and ever since the first Chattanooga Motoring Festival it is an event that has continued to not only improve but to also lead the way with a fresh perspective to what a concours event can be in the United States. They did this by adding a number of interesting and fun events to the traditional concours format, everything from live music all day, club shows, the Concours d’Lemons and even a racing component. The brainchild of this event is Byron DeFore who is crazy about two things, cars and healthcare, and uses the proceeds from the event to benefit Alzheimer’s research.

This year’s event had a number of new features over its three days in downtown Chattanooga. The biggest addition was on Friday, a pop up version of Luftgekühlt, brought to you by world famous automotive Photographer Jeff Zwart, Southern California creative director Howie Idelson, and the Le Mans winner Patrick Long.

For those not in the know, Luftgekühlt is a curated celebration of air cooled Porsche road and racing cars. Unlike a traditional car show, it creates the cars on display as pieces of art and the team at Luftgekühlt spend a lot of time to make the presentation of the cars something extra special. The Chattanooga pop up event had the assistance of Cam Ingram of Roads Scholars. The display of Porsche racing and road cars was indeed something quite special and was a tremendous addition to the Motoring Festival, attracting scores of Porsche owners showing their own air cooled cars, as well as fans of Porsche as spectators. This was a test but be sure that Luftgekühlt will be back next year.

The Friday schedule of events was capped off with a concert by the B52s in the street that holds the concours. See, now you understand the picture. The band played for 90 minutes to the crowd, which completely filled the streets for three straight blocks. It is this kind of an element that helps to make the Chattanooga Motoring festival so unique among concours events.

Saturday at the Motoring Festival was the setting for the American car club day. Hundreds of classic American cars of every type lined the streets of downtown Chattanooga, from full classics to a display of historic NASCAR stock cars. The owners and spectators explored the cars on display, meeting new friends and seeing old ones. They also had the opportunity to watch one of the many live seminars held during the weekend. Guests at these seminars included Ray Evernham, Chip Foose, David Hobbs, Bryan Redman, Lyn St. James and Tom Cotter. These celebrity guests always made themselves available after each seminar to meet with fans, pose for a selfie or answer additional questions. If there is a single concours that demonstrates that the hobby is about the people better than the Chattanooga Motoring Festival I don’t know what it is

In addition to the show downtown, the nearby racetrack saw Brian Redman’s Targa 66 event, effectively an HMDE event for classic and historic cars. Fans got to see everything from Indy cars from the early 1900s to some of the most modern sports and racing cars on track, running at speed.

Sunday was the main event where the best of the best cars in the collector car hobby were displayed in all their greatness to be judged. The Chattanooga Motoring Festival features a group of what I consider the best of the best judges in the concours world, and I consider myself honored to have been selected to judge at the concours.

Another great part of the entire Motoring Festival is the amazing group of Ferrari cars that attend each year. These cars are selected by invitation and are some of the most significant Ferraris built. The team that assembled this group, which is judged by select Ferrari Club of America judges, works each year to tell the story of the legendary Maranello company, and this year they knocked it out of the park with everything from a 212 to an F50 on display. My particular favorite was the Rosso Corsa 288 GTO.

At the end of the Motoring Festival the awards went out to classes with some amazing winners in each. This is an event that each year gets better and better cars and the 2023 event saw spectacular cars on concours day.

Best of Show award went out to the 1935 SS1 coupe with coachwork by Airline. This stunning car was restored by Missouri-based Manns Restorations and was a spectacular car and well deserving of the award.

If you have not caught on yet, the Chattanooga is the most fun I have each year at any concours event. It is both elegant and inclusive, no mean feat in the world of classic car concours event. It started out in 2019 as a car event focused on the people there, judges, celebrities, spectators, and car owners. If you have not attended you should make a point of going to next years event and I am sure you will have as much fun as it looks in the picture of my friends and I below.

For information on the Chattanooga Motoring Festival click here.

Andy Reid
Andy Reid
Andy Reid's first car, purchased at age 15, was a 1968 Fiat 124 coupe. His second, obtained by spending his college savings fund, was a 1966 Ferrari 330 GT 2+2. Since then, he has owned more than 150 cars—none of them normal or reasonable—as well as numerous classic motorcycles and scooters. A veteran of film, television, advertising and helping to launch a few Internet-based companies, Reid was a columnist for Classic Motorsports magazine for 12 years and has written for several other publications. He is considered an expert in European sports and luxury cars and is a respected concours judge. He lives in Canton, Connecticut.


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