For a dozen years, La Jolla’s Michael Dorvillier has been one of the driving forces behind the La Jolla Concours d’Elegance, a three-day classic car show that, under his leadership and with a dedicated committee, has garnered international acclaim as one of the finest automobile displays in the United States. When more than 150 classic cars roll into La Jolla on the weekend of April 22-24 for the 16th annual show, Dorvillier, with co-chair Robert Kerner, will once again be behind the proverbial steering wheel. The concours, presented by LPL Financial and Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty, showcases rare automobiles judged across 13 classes and one motorcycle class during three days of festivities. Bugatti is the featured marque, honored for its “relentless quest for perfection and innovation,” according to show organizers.
In advance of the concours, Ranch & Coast toured the hilltop home overlooking La Jolla’s storied coastline that Dorvillier shares with fiancée Tracy Hoogenberg, a Canadian-born certified public accountant who, like Dorvillier, moved to La Jolla for the weather. The couple share their home with Tracy’s daughter, Addison, and Sawyer, a chocolate Labrador Retriever. We talked about family (Dorvillier has two grown children, Madeline and Blake), home design, and of course, cars.
Dorvillier, passionate about automobiles since he was a teenager, owns three classic cars now being restored in Oklahoma City. They include a 1958 Corvette convertible, a 1963 Corvette Split-Window, and a 1957 Chevy Bel Air convertible. However, the cars parked in his home garage couldn’t be more modern: a Porsche 911 Turbo for him; an Audi R8 for her.
In fact, their stunning home, revamped with the help of interior designer Sy Iverson of Inside Story, is as sleek as the cars in the concours. The open living/dining area flows onto a terrace overlooking the backyard pool, spa, and the shore beyond. A three-sided metal screen encloses the patio when the weather warrants it or when the sea breezes are too brisk.
Two years ago, the couple bought the two-level house, originally built in 1957 and extensively remodeled in 2018. Their redo, a family affair, took just five months. Dorvillier’s sister-in-law Alison Dorvillier, owner and designer of Inplace Studio in La Jolla, helped with the kitchen renovation. Her husband, Andy (Michael’s younger brother), built and installed textured Italian cabinetry from Cleaf. Travertine mosaic tiles leafed in silver from Ann Sacks form the striking backsplash, and counters are Agatha Black granite paired with wood.
More than three dozen pendant lights from Lumens make a dramatic statement in the adjoining living room, furnished with a Flexform Italian sofa from La Jolla’s MOS My Own Space. A pair of “Twiggy” lounge chairs are from Thayer Coggin. Outdoor chairs, as stylish as they are rugged, are from Janus et Cie. Dorvillier did most of
the exterior landscape work himself.
In the downstairs family room, an entire wall is hung with paintings of classic cars by Scott Jacobs, the photorealistic artist whose work has graced the La Jolla Concours d’Elegance posters and program covers for many years.
Dorvillier has been car crazy since he was a youth, growing up in Puerto Rico and later New Hampshire, where he worked in a body shop at a Chrysler dealership. “My younger brother [Andy] had incredible mechanical ability and would restore and repair cars while in high school as a hobby,” he says. “I was always blown away at how he was able to do what he did with every aspect of fixing up cars and just got hooked.” After his last final exam in college, Dorvillier jumped in his Jeep and drove to San Diego, where he lived with friends in a small Ocean Beach duplex. He never looked back in that rearview mirror, settling in La Jolla, where he is now founding partner of Symbio Financial Partners and a registered principal and financial advisor with LPL Financial.
When asked to get involved with the La Jolla Concours d’Elegance 12 years ago, Dorvillier was determined to turn what was then a small car show into a world-class event. Over the years, the show expanded, word spread, and it is now considered among the finest internationally renowned classic car showcases in the United States, drawing car enthusiasts from around the globe. It has also given Dorvillier the opportunity to combine his passion for cars with his love for community. Proceeds benefit the La Jolla Historical Society and other local nonprofits. “My kids were born and raised here, I’ve spent the better part of my life here, I started my business here,” says Dorvillier. “The community means something to me. What better way to give back to the community than through something I’m passionate about: old cars.”
The 16th Annual Concours d’Elegance kicks off on April 22 with “Ferrari Friday,” when Prospect Street will be lined with — yes — Ferraris, as La Jolla Village merchants and restaurants welcome visitors with live music, gallery receptions, retail specials, specialty dining, and cocktails (be sure to make a dinner reservation in advance at your favorite restaurant). On Saturday, Tour d’Elegance is a chance for car aficionados to take a scenic tour of the area and lunch at La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club. Le Cabaret du Concours, a Saturday evening cocktail party, will feature live music, craft cocktails, and appetizers from top restaurants. Sunday’s main event, on the lawn at La Jolla Cove, will display scores of classic cars from all over the world competing for top honors, while classic airplanes soar overhead. Guests will enjoy live music, food, and a Champagne and Honey Tasting Garden. Reserve
early for VIP access. 619.233.5008, lajollaconcours.com