2007 Newport Concours d'Elegance

Discussion in 'Events' started by smokeydonut, May 23, 2007.

  1. #1 smokeydonut, May 23, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2016
    The 2007 Newport Concours d’Elegance, Newport, Rhode Island will be held over the Memorial Day Weekend, May 26-28, 2007.

    Paying homage to the late Castle Hill Concours event, the Newport Concours will offer a display/parking area for vintage, classic or special interest car, adjacent to the Concours Field.

    In addition, they have expanded the Concours Road Tour into 2 daily segments during Saturday and Sunday.

    The road tour is open to all, on a first come basis and begins with a Welcome Breakfast and 2 interesting seminars at the very large Park Place Ltd. Collector Car storage facility.

    With a hands-on seminar, such as the revolutionary Boattail Speedster design, films documenting Historic Early Auto Races, cultural tours, wine tasting and Gala Oceanfront Mansion Dining; the 2007 Newport Concours d'Elegance plans to have a little something for everyone.

    Beneficiaries include The Boy’s and Girl’s Club of Newport the Larz Anderson Museum of Transportation.

    Mark Hurwitz; Chairman

    The Newport Concours d’Elegance
    Box 299, Newport, RI 02840
    (401) 767-7967



    This one threw me for a loop... apparently there are two distinct Concours d'Elegance planned for Newport, RI this year... the other being the inaugural Vanderbilt Concours d'Elegance planned for July 28, 2007.

  2. I'll be there, come by and say hi.
  3. #3 smokeydonut, May 29, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 25, 2016
  4. Elegance on parade in Newport

    01:00 AM EDT on Wednesday, May 30, 2007

    By Peter C.T. Elsworth

    Journal Staff Writer

    NEWPORT Rain threatened, but in the end the skies cleared for the 2007 Newport Concours d’Elegance on Memorial Day. The Belle Mer on Goat Island, with its lush green swards laced with walkways of crushed white shells, proved an appropriate setting for a show of about 70 show cars from all eras.

    By the time the awards ceremony started at 2 pm, the sun had returned, along with the breezes that had brought the rich to Newport in the late 19th century and continue to provide a lure for sailors today. Some 20 awards were made covering all eras and categories.

    “It went wonderfully,” said chairman Mark Hurwitz. “I feel very grateful that we had so many passionate and dedicated participants. It’s a show designed by enthusiasts for enthusiasts and we had a very broad representation from every period.”

    “There was a very nice cross section of cars,” said chief judge David Brownell. “Sports cars, brass-era pre WWI cars, real good cars from the 1950s.”

    Some 70 cars were on display, all remarkable. Some, such as Paul McCollam’s 1949 black alloy Jaguar XK120, arguably the most sensual car ever designed, and Dick Stewart’s red Ford Thunderbird, were flawlessly restored. Others, like Dick Shappy’s gunmetal gray 1922 Locomobile, were in almost original condition, warts and all.

    But that is the essence of a Concours d’Elegance, which literally means “Competition of Elegance.” What the judges are looking for is elegance, a sometimes indefinable combination of beauty, style and line that Philadelphia restorer Bob Platz referred to as “snap and jump.”

    “It’s a French judging show,” he said. “For a points show (where mechanical and physical perfection is the key), the car has to be clean as a whistle.” Such perfection is extremely expensive and often out of the reach of anyone but the wealthiest collectors.

    “But a French judging show is a different game,” Platz continued. “The little guy can compete with the big guy, with original condition, colors, combinations all counting.”

    “It’s extremely difficult to judge,” said Joan Creamer, the first women to work on exterior styling at GM and one of the judges.

    Of course, the car has to have been elegant to start with. At an earlier news conference, Brownell provided an earthy quote from GM chairman Bob Lutz to make the point: “If it was butt ugly then, it’s butt ugly now.”

    In the end, there was little dissent about the Best in Show — a rare and magnificently restored 1938 Delage D8-120 Aerosport Coupe which had turned heads all day.

    Only about 10 of these stylish cars were built, according to owner New Jersey Superior Court Judge Joseph Cassini. It reflected the height of pre-war French car design which ruled with elegant creations known as streamliners or tear droppers, after the shape of their windows.

    The era included such storied French marques as Bugatti, Delahaye (which merged with Delage) and Talbot Lago. (Next weekend, a 1938 Bugatti Type 57C Atalante coupe, which has not been moved from its garage since 1962, will be auctioned by Christie’s at the Greenwich, Conn., Concours d’Elegance.)

    Indeed, Cassini’s Delage could well have competed in some of the original Concours d’Elegance which flourished in the South of France during the 1920s and ’30s when the Riviera towns of Cannes, Nice and Monte Carlo were the epitome of style, glamour and wealth.

    Cassini, a well-known collector who is a past Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance winner, said the car had been located in Australia and had been completely restored right down to the elephant hide upholstery trimmed with goatskin.

    He said he loved the lines, pointing out the reflection of the molding in the running board, the massive hood with four hexagonal exhaust pipes fanning out on either side, the notch below the rear window and the art deco dashboard.

    “The attention to detail, the sliding roof, the windshield (which can be louvered to provide a flow of fresh air), the outside exhausts, the fender skirts, everything has a design element,” he said.

    “The Delage is gloriously extravagant and jaw-droppingly beautiful . . . with body work to die for,” said Brownell.

    “I could sit in front of that car for the next month and not get bored,” agreed Hurwitz. “There are so many lines and perspectives.”

    The era of the great French art deco cars faded after the war, largely due to high taxes, according to George Dragone who runs a restoration shop in Bridgeport, Conn., and specializes in French marques.

    The Citroen DS, which was introduced in 1955 and became known as the Goddess after the French pun on the initials, also reflected sublime styling. But it was a new era, one that saw the rise of the people’s car — the VW Beetle in Germany, the Fiat 500 in Italy, the Morris Minor and Mini in Britain and the Citroen Deux Chevaux, or 2CV, in France.

    “It was the opposite in the United States where big cars continued to rule, largely because of cheap gasoline,” said Dragone.

    Some of those large post-war American car were on display, including a red 1957 Chevy Bel Air owned by Christine Kelly of Preston, Conn., who provided flair by dressing in a 1950s outfit, a gold 1958 DeSoto and a red 1953 Olds Holiday 88 owned by Bob Fisher of North Kingstown. He said he’s owned the car for eight years and loved the design which has elements of a convertible — ribs across the inside of the roof and no central pillar to divide the windows — but is a hardtop.

    Pre-war American roadsters were also on display, including Paul DiMaio’s black 1936 Packard Phaeton with its massive hood, low-slung canvas roof and roomy rear seats. The Johnston native said he repurchased it last year having sold it in 1973 to “put a deposit on a house.”

    He said the car had originally belonged to an estate in Plymouth, Mass., where it had been sparingly used, had gone into storage during the war where it had remained until he originally bought it in 1967.

    Boat tails were a major theme of the show, tying in with the sailing tradition of Newport. The design is marked by hull-like rear ends and were in fact styled on nautical principles of aquadynamics applied to rudimentary aerodynamic design. For, just as a boat flows through water, so a car should flow through the air.

    The design first emerged in the pre-WW1 era and became a stylish element of the Jazz Age in the 1920s. Some examples at the show included a 1915 cream and green Crane Symbol Boattail Speedster, a blue 1936 Auburn 852 Boattail Speedster and Dragone’s charming little blue 1924 Le Type CGS runabout from France.

    Next to McCollam’s black XK120 was Mike Provenzano’s white 1974 Jaguar E-Type with red leather upholstery and its full hood open, exposing a massive and immaculate V12 engine.

    “My wife never thought we’d get it back together,” he said, referring to his friend Peter who had helped him restore it, “every nut and bolt, front to back, over two years.”

    He said it had been in worse shape than he thought when he first bought. “It was a 20-footer,” he said. “It looked good from 20 feet, but not so good closer up.”

    Some entries were plain charming, such as the 1936 Austin taxi, the interior redolent of British mainline marques such as Austin and Morris, with its open section for backseat passengers.

    A 1913 America Scout Underslung, “one of five made,” was distinguished by having its springs set above the chassis, thus lowering the vehicle and its center of gravity. Bill Sherwood said it was partially developed to help women in hoop skirts get in and out of the car. He said the car also had a remarkable self-starter, with compressed air used to push the cylinders up and down.

    The pre-WWI brass-car era was well represented by a fully restored 1909 Locomobile, a 1930 Rolls Royce Phantom II and a 1907 olive green Panhard LaVoisseur with facing bench seats in the rear reflecting echoes from horse-drawn carriages.

    Tom Hickey, of Dennis, Mass., and president of the North Atlantic Packard club pointed to a maroon 1947 Packard Clipper Touring Sedan. “It was a moderately priced car, but look at how nicely appointed it is,” he said. He added that the design was given to the Soviet Union following WWII as part of the post war effort to jump start the Eastern European economies and it became the basis of the Soviet Zil car.

    Individual awards were made to two favorites in collecting circles: Fred Roe, auto historian and author of Dusenberg: The Pursuit of Perfection, and John Moir, known for his whimsical collection of some 60 cars — with one for every letter of the alphabet.

    “Our enthusiasm for these cars is not a hobby, it’s a passion,” said Cassini on receiving the Best of Show award for his Delage.

    “Passion,” said Brownell. “That’s the word.”

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