| The Greenwich Concours d'Elegance founded by Bruce and Genia Wennerstrom and held in Greenwich, Connecticut attracts collectors and fans of vintage, classic, and collectible automobiles, and motorcycles. Luxury Experience attended both days of the show, beginning with the opening day, Greenwich Concours Americana 2010, which had an excellent collection of American automobiles ranging from a 1907 Stanley K Roadster to a 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 Coupe.
Since 1995, the Roger Sherman Park in Greenwich, Connecticut metamorphoses for two days each June from an immaculate park overlooking the Mianus River into a showcase for exceptional automobiles. The Greenwich Concours d'Elegance 2010 featured 241 American and international rare, one-of-kind, competition, and collectible automobiles, 17 motorcycles, 8 America's Cup 12m yachts, and even a Russian 1965 Tupolev 007 Cosmonaut Recovery Vehicle owned by Jurgen Schulte.
Debra with 1965 Tupolev 007 Cosmonaut Recovery Vehicle
Among the many celebrities spotted at the show were Chief Concours Judge, the multi-award winning actor Edward Hermann, and racing legend and specialty car and safety engineer, John Fitch, who will celebrate his 93 birthday on August 4, 2010. During his race years, John was the only American driver for the Mercedes-Benz team in the 1950s, driving for the Briggs-Cunningham team at Le Mans, and winning at Sebring in a C4-R. He is the author of Racing with Mercedes, and featured in the documentary A Gullwing at Twilight: The Bonneville Ride of John Fitch. John last raced a Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing at Bonneville at the age of 89 years.
John Fitch and Debra C. Argen
Style was the essence of the automobiles "of the day" with their long, sweeping lines, and graceful curves. It was a time when elegance and panache meant meticulous design from the intricate wheel covers to the exceptional grills, artistry of the "mascots" (hood ornaments) to the sumptuous interiors complete with bud vases.
Gwen and Parker Ackley in Period Costume with their Antique Car
The Packard is a perennial favorite among collectors, and there were sixteen stunning Packard automobiles at the show ranging from a 1929 Packard 645 Custom Roadster to a 1955 Packard Clipper Panama Hardtop Coupe.
1930 Packard 745 Dual Cowl Phaeton
Packard highlights included a stunning 1930 Packard 745 Dual Cowl Phaeton owned by John Beveridge that showed the elegance and classic lines that make the Packard a favorite among collectors, as well as a 1930 Packard 733 Club Sedan owned by Frank and Pat Wismer who donned period clothing to match their automobile.
1930 Packard 733 Club Sedan
Frank and Pat Wisner
A 1934 Packard 1100 Coupe/Roadster, Straight 8 owned for the past 20 years by Charles B. Gillet also caught our attention. Mr. Gillet, a former Editor of Road & Track magazine in the 1950s, has been interested in automobiles since he was a child. Although he grew up in horse country in Maryland, he said that he was always more interested in four wheels than four hooves and knew all of the names of the cars on the road before he even knew his alphabet. In addition to the 1934 Packard, Mr. Gillet also owns a 1931 Cadillac V6, and a 1926 Rolls-Royce, awarded the "most elegant automobile" at the Greenwich Concours when he showed it a few years ago.
1934 Packard 1100 Coupe/Roadster, Straight 8
Charles B. Gillet
David J. Prueitt of Prueitt Automotive Restoration who had restored the automobile explained about the rather unusual green paint. The Packard was a luxury car and at the time, for the price of an extra $10, which was a considerable amount of money at that time, you could have the car painted any color that you wanted. The details were fabulous and included an intimate rumble seat and a small door on the passenger side of the automobile used for golf club storage.
Other Packard highlights included a lipstick red 1937 Packard Twelve 1507 Coupe-Roadster owned by James E. Murphy, and an attractive turquoise 1939 Packard Model 1703 Convertible Sedan owned by Jim and Maryellen Barnes.
1939 Packard Twelve 1507 Coupe-Roadster
One of the most unusual "toys" at the show was a futuristic looking 1948 Davis Divan "The Californian" Two-Door Convertible owned by Wayne Carini, the host of the television show, Chasing Classic Cars on the Discovery Channel. The three-wheel mint green automobile with silver roof and distinctive rocket-shaped nose definitely had its share of attention. Originally designed by Frank Kurtis, and later manufactured by Gary Davis, the automobile, once owned by the actor Nicholas Cage, was one of only 13 Davis automobiles produced. It was inexpensive to build as it had three wheels instead of four, an aluminum riveted body, aircraft-inspired suspension, a V-8 engine and 60 horsepower. Alas, the Davis story is much like the Tucker story; he took two of the automobiles on the road to solicit interest, one was stolen during the trip, and when he returned the large manufacturers blocked Davis from being able to purchase more materials thus preventing the production of the inexpensive to make, and inexpensive to purchase, automobile.
1948 Davis Divan "The California" Two-Door Convertible
Wayne Carini and Debra C. Argen
Other show highlights included the earliest American entry, a 1907 Stanley K Roadster owned by Robert Mead, which could reach an impressive speed of 75 mph, and a 1938 LaSalle 5067 Convertible Coupe owned by Richard A. Esposito with its long, rectangular grill.
Motorcycles were well represented at the show, and Roland Houde, the owner of a highly collectible bright red 1948 Indian Chief "348" motorcycle got into the spirit of the day as he rode into the show dressed as "Johnny" Marlon Brando's character in the 1953 film, The Wild Ones. An enthusiastic motorcycle collector, Roland Houde owns 11 vintage motorcycles as well as a late model Harley-Davidson.
Roland Houde on 1948 Indian Chief "348"
There were many rare automobiles at the show including a sexy, vibrant red, 1958 Dual-Ghia Convertible owned by William Branston. This immaculate beauty was one of only 117 Dual-Ghias produced in the United States between the years 1956 and 1958, and at last count, there were only 32 still in existence. The Dual-Ghia, with its limited production and racy lines, became a "celebrity" favorite with a who's who list of owners that included Frank Sinatra, Sterling Hayden, and Ronald Reagan who as the story would have it, lost a Dual-Ghia to Lyndon B. Johnson in a card game.
The Ford Mustang had great appeal in the 1960s, and it continues to delight collectors. Owners Paul and Hadley Veeder got into the spirit of the era dressing in 1960s clothing complete with a mod cap for Paul and a mod cap, black and white mini-dress, and knee-high white go-go boots for Hadley to match their navy 1966 Ford Mustang Coupe 289, V8. Paul's father purchased the automobile in August 1966 for just over $3,000, and Paul later purchased the Ford Mustang from his father for $1; not a bad price for original upholstery and only 4,700 miles.
1966 Ford Mustang Coupe 289, V8
Paul and Hadley Veeder
The Chevrolet Corvette is another perennial favorite among collectors and drivers. A few of the 1950 Corvette highlights at the show included: a 1955 Chevrolet Corvette Convertible owned by Al and Kim Maiorano; a 1957 Chevrolet Corvette Hardtop Convertible owned by Peter Cordaro; and a 1957 Chevrolet Corvette Race Car owned by George Scott.
Stunning examples from the 1960s included a 1960 Chevrolet Corvette Hardtop owned by Mario and Joyce Moss; a 1962 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster owned by Robert Glickstein and Joyce Carey; and a silver 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Coupe owned by D.M. Spaulding. As for late models, a 2009 Chevrolet Corvette ZR-1 Coupe owned by John E. Mancuso reminded us why this car has always been a standout.
1963 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Coupe
After admiring the many racecars at the show, including a 1956 Kurtis 500 owned by Thomas R. Coady, Jr., (Edward) did take a sleek, black 2011 Mercedes-Benz SL 63 AMC with V8, 32-valve engine, 518 @ 6800 rpm, 7-speed sport transmission, with a top speed of 155 mph out for a test drive. Not quite a racecar, but can you say vroom?
1956 Kurtis 500
A gorgeous, sunny, blue-sky day and an amazing collection of vintage, classic, and collectible cars, what more could you want; a regatta of 12m yachts that were former winners of America's Cup? There was that, too.
Racer Debra - Start Your Engine
Read about the Greenwich Concours d'Elegance International 2010 in the Antiques section.
Founder Bruce Wennerstrom Enjoying the Event
For information on the next Greenwich Concours d'Elegance, please contact Bruce and Genia Wennerstrom or visit the website: www.GreenwichConcours.com.
Bruce and Genia Wennerstrom
Greenwich Concours d'Elegance
30 Sumner Road
Greenwich, Connecticut 06831
© August 2010. Luxury Experience. www.LuxuryExperience.com All rights reserved.