In Search of Classic Car Paradise
Events that celebrate the automobile at home and away
Posted on March 2019
Spring is in the air, and the car guys I know are revving up their engines in anticipation of the new season of events. “Car guys,” by the way, can be male or female and share a passion for all things automotive. There are a number of events that celebrate the automobile at home and away.
First on the travel calendar is the annual Concours d’Elegance, held at the Ritz-Carlton, Amelia Island off the coast of Northeast Florida. This happening is a favorite of showgoers because it attracts a plethora of amazing cars and the atmosphere is relatively relaxed. “Amelia is second only to Pebble Beach,” a savvy car guy assured me recently. It takes place March 7-10 this year. ameliaconcours.org
Across the Atlantic in Northern Italy, a more pinkies-up Concorso d’Eleganza is presented annually at Villa d’Este, against the stunning backdrop of Lake Como. This show is smaller than Amelia Island and more glamorous. Typically, about 50 exquisitely-prepared cars dating from the 1920s to the 1970s are displayed. The Concorso d’Eleganza Ville d’Este was founded in 1929 and will take place May 24-26 this year. concorsodeleganzavilladeste.com
The Mille Miglia, a 1,000-mile road race for vintage cars, is also on the bucket list of many serious CGs. In 2019, the prestigious rally will be held May 15-18. As always, the Mille Miglia will follow a loop route around Italy that begins and ends in Brescia. Fun fact: Ettore Bugatti built the first of his famous racecars in 1920 and named the model “Brescia” after the cars swept the first four places at the 1921 Voiturette Grand Prix in that city. 1000miglia.it
While Europeans are interested in classic cars, on the other side of the world, New Zealanders are absolutely bonkers over them. My favorite event ever was a ten-day international Bugatti rally around the South Island, and visitors can rest assured that frequent car events take place throughout the country on a regular basis. Wheels at Wanaka, scheduled for April 20-21, is just one example. wheelsatwanaka.co.nz
SoCal Road Trips
Even people who aren’t automotively inclined have heard of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The mother of all fancy car shows started in 1950 and has become the world’s premier classic car event. The who’s who of enthusiasts congregate on the 18th fairway of the Pebble Beach Golf Links on the third Sunday in August, rain or shine. They come to admire a field of more than 200 antique, classic, sports, and racing cars from across the country and around the globe.
This gathering has spawned dozens of other events, including Concorso Italiano, The Quail Concours, the Monterey Historic Races at Laguna Seca, the Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance, and numerous auctions and concept car displays. Together with the big Sunday show, they comprise Monterey Car Week. pebblebeachconcours.net
However, you don’t have to go to NorCal to see great cars. The Palos Verdes Concours d’Elegance, once held on an oceanfront bluff, now takes place in September at the Historic Zamperini Field in Torrance, so that classic aircraft can be exhibited alongside classic automobiles. Another good event is the San Marino Motor Classic in June. pvconcours.org, sanmarinomotorclassic.com
Even closer to home, the American Bugatti Club will hold their Annual Meeting in La Jolla in March. Some members plan to display their “Bugs” at the Rancho Santa Fe Cars & Coffee on Paseo Delicias on Saturday, March 16, and the public is welcome.
And of course, the best Southern California show is our own La Jolla Concours d’Elegance. The event — Sunday, April 14 this year — has grown considerably in size and significance since its modest beginnings in Scripps Park in 2004. Chuck Spielman, profiled by Andrea Naversen in this issue of Ranch & Coast, lent his automotive expertise early on and helped lay the groundwork for what is today a very successful happening.
One of Spielman’s best moves was drafting fellow car guy Michael Dorvillier to chair the event. Dorvillier has worked tirelessly to elevate every aspect of the show except the oceanfront setting, which was already perfect. Evidence of this success can be seen in the fact that many major car museums, including Blackhawk, Peterson, and Nethercutt, now send multiple cars to be displayed in La Jolla. Traditionally, one car is a token gesture, but more than one says that the pros recognize that this is a serious event.
Further evidence of this status: the La Jolla Concours now has a waiting list of judges who would love to add the event to their resume — in spite of the fact that all judges are volunteers. This year, 12 of the 75 judges slated to stroll Scripps Park in natty attire with clipboard in hand are Pebble Beach veterans. Five of these are from overseas (India, Germany, Monaco, and England). In addition, all five docents providing small group tours of the field are experts from Pebble Beach.
The Sunday show, where 130 gorgeous cars will be on display, is the final event in a three-day car-studded weekend. Other fun happenings include parties on Friday and Saturday night, a car tour for entrants on Saturday, and a free-of-charge display of 90 cars lined up on lower Girard Avenue on Sunday. lajollaconcours.com
While it’s fun to travel around the world to automotive events, it’s also nice when very special vehicles come here and turn our corner of the country into a classic car paradise. Elizabeth Hansen
Celebrate the Automobile
The 15th annual La Jolla Concours d’Elegance returns to the shores of La Jolla April 12-14. The event will feature Cadillac as the 2019 honored marque while also celebrating 100 years of Bentley and the 50th anniversary of the Mach 1 Mustang. Attendees can expect to see 130 spectacular automobiles from around the world. The weekend begins April 12 with the Pacific Sotheby’s Concours Social Club. April 13 kicks off with the annual Tour d’Elegance, followed by Aston Martin San Diego A Night of Steampunk, and a VIP reception on the Concours lawn with a hosted bar and delicious tastes from 20 of San Diego’s finest restaurants. The weekend concludes with the La Jolla Concours d’Elegance on April 14, complete with a Champagne and honey tasting garden, VIP lounge, and hospitality suites. The adjacent La Jolla Motor Car Classic at the Concours will once again expand the show from the Ellen Browning Scripps Park into the La Jolla Village roadways, displaying a variety of automobiles. 619.233.5008, lajollaconcours.com
Header image: 2018 La Jolla Concours D’Elegance
La Jolla images: Photography by Vincent Knakal Amelia: Photo courtesy of Rashba.com Pebble Beach: Photo Courtesy of Pebble Beach Concours All other photography courtesy of ADAMS/HANSEN STOCK PHOTOS