Even if you know only two things about cars, where to put the gas and where to put the air in the tires, car shows are great fun to go and look at old gems. If you come across a car that jogs your memory back to a time long ago, then you can count that time as well spent. Those memories may be of that ‘56 Chevy Bel Air that Dad bought home from the dealer or that ‘69 GTO that you and friends double dated in way-back-when.
Car shows are a staple of almost every festival that comes down the pike, and all of them have more than their share of muscle cars of the 1960’s and ‘70’s. However, there is one car show that is the gold standard of car shows, the Concours D’ Elegance. The Concours has its share of muscle cars of bygone days of course, but the real treat of attending one of these events is the likelihood that you will see automobiles that you may have only seen in movies or television. Bentleys, Ferraris, Aston Martins and Rolls Royces are almost always on display.
Besides the varied cars shown, one other concept of the Concours D’ Elegance that sets it apart from other car shows is that each car is there by special invitation of the organizers. If someone has a car they would like to enter in the Concours, they must apply for an invitation and with the application they must also provide pictures and interesting or historical facts about the car.
Concours D’ Elegance is French for “competition of elegance.” The cars on display more than live up to the name. They are more than just cars in mint condition. Many are in better condition than when they came off the assembly line. The upholstery, paint, and the engine restoration are just a few of the components that make some of these cars better than mint.
Judging is much more strict than in a normal car show. To secure a top award, the car must be perfect or very close to perfect.
There are many categories in which the cars can compete including pre-war and post war, vintage and antique. Some popular models may have their own categories such as the Porsche or the Mercedes Benz. The categories may even extend to hardtops, coupes and convertibles.
The first Concours D’ Elegance was in Pebble Beach, California in 1950, as an add on to the Pebble Beach Road Race. Since that first Concours many organizations have instituted their own Coucours D’ Elegance. Among the most notable is the annual event on Amelia Island. This is a grand affair where the cars are displayed in a wonderful setting, along the cart path of the Golf Club of Amelia Island at Summer Beach.
Other locales that have competitions are Denver, New York in midtown Manhattan and Hilton Head, SC.
The Hilton Head event is hosted each year at Honey Horn Plantation on the north end of the island. More specifically, it is at Mile Marker 1 on US 278. As with most of the Concours, the admission proceeds go to local charities, and in this case proceeds go to the Hilton Head Symphony and the Boys and Girls Club of Hilton Head.
This year’s event in Hilton Head will be October 29 through November 7. Each day something special will be going on, from wine dinners on Thursday to the obligatory golf tourney on Friday. Saturday is a great time to view the Club Car Jamboree. The culmination event is the actual Concours and judging on Sunday November 7.
If you have never been to a Concours this event in Hilton Head is a perfect chance to see some really beautiful cars, talk to their owners and have a good time.