The Greenwich Concours d’Elegance is what dreams are all about!
Instead of “Ladies and Gentlemen, start your engines”, we should be writing, “Ladies and Gentlemen, start your imaginations”, as the 10th Anniversary of the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance, held on June 4-5, 2005 at Roger Sherman Baldwin Park in Greenwich, Connecticut was indeed what dreams are all about! From vintage motorcars, boats and motorcycles to the latest style-makers in luxury motorcars, the show was all about the exotic, the unusual and the well preserved.
Imagine being able to view concept, custom and limited edition models all at one venue. Actually the show was so large, that it was held over two days to showcase American entries on Saturday, and European entries on Sunday. We attended both days, and were not surprised by the large attendance on either day.
The Greenwich Concours d’Elegance Motorcars entrants ranged in ages from an 1899 Locomobile Stanhope, which was the earliest entry, to a 2005 Porsche Carrera GT Roadster, which was the last entry in the show. In between, there were Bugattis, Packards, Rolls-Royces, Cadillacs, Bentleys, Duesenbergs, Pierce Arrows, Auburns, Aston Martins, Jaguars, Lincolns, Mercedes-Benzes, Ferraris, Lancias, Maseratis and many more. Our heads swam with excitement as we passed each gloriously shining example of automotive history. Our camera snapped countless pictures of cars, grills and hood ornaments that were stunning miniature sculptures adorning priceless motorcars.
Of course, just looking at the cars would be teasing, so on June 5, 2005, Christie’s held the first Exceptional Motor Cars Auction at the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance, where lucky bidders were able to purchase significant cars, including cars from the collection of Mr. David H. Tunick. Mr. Tunick was a prominent Greenwich resident, whose collection once included more than 150 cars. Sitting in the auction, we sat with our eyes riveted to the auction as two telephone bidders sitting side-by-side competed for the same car. Although the heady assortment of motorcars available for purchase at the auction was spectacular and indeed enticing, we somehow were able to keep our hands glued by our sides.
The top ten motor cars sold at the Christie’s auction: 1913 Simplex Model 50 Victoria Touring: $350,500; 1936 Auburn Model 852 Straight Edge Supercharged ‘Boattail’ Speedster: $246,000; 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing: $240,500; 1939 Bugatti Type 57 Stelvio Cabriolet: $211,500; 1931 Packard Model 840 Dual Cowl Sport Phaeton: $146,875; 1957 Ferrari 250 GT Coupe: $141,000; 1962 Jaguar E-Type Series I 3.8 Roadster: $82,250; 1952 Jaguar XK120 Fixed Head Coupe: $76,375; 1908/9 Lancia Alpha Four Seater Tourer: $76,375; and a 1938 Lancia Astura Series Four Limousine: $64,625. For the complete list please contact Christie’s.
Back to semi-reality, we had the opportunity to view truly unique cars, and meet 1950’s Mercedes-Benz racing legend, John Fitch, who was on hand to sign his book, Racing with Mercedes, and well as the first female racer, Janet Guthrie, who also had her book on hand, A Life at Full Throttle. Antique car owners really got into the spirit of the event, and not only exhibited their cars, but also dressed the part. We met Carlton and Anne Pate, owners of a 1903 Ford Model A Tonneau and John and Barbara Anna Kefalonitis, owners of a 1923 Packard Sport Touring Convertible, who graciously posed beside their historic cars. Carlton is considered to be an expert on 1903 – 1905 Fords, and Barbara Anna surprised us by confiding that both she and John used to race, and that she competed in NASCAR. Other vintage car owners dressed to match their vintage cars included Michael Tomko, owner of a 1912 Buick 29 Touring Five-Passenger, whose whole family dressed in vintage style including his wife, Karen, and children: Elizabeth, Christopher and Rachel, as did Parker and Gwen Ackley, Penny B. Havard, and Paul L. and Hadley Veeder II, who added ambience to a friend’s 1912 Hotchkiss Gentlemen’s Roadster, complete with period clothes, newspapers and a 1911 Vitor Victorola, owned by the Ackleys.
Motorcycles were also represented at the show, and some of the more unusual entries included a 1913 Pope, 1929 Indian Scout, 1914 and 1916 Harley-Davidsons, and a 1938 Scott Flying Squirrel. Motorcycle enthusiasts could also drool over a new Lincoln Mark LT Chopper, 2,150cc, custom made by OCC Choppers. For those not familiar with motorcycle terms, this motorcycle is the equivalent of a 2.2-liter car with a 135 horsepower, only on 2-wheels and without a chassis. Although it must be a little like flying to ride this $250,000 motorcycle, the closest we came was just sitting on it!
Two of our favorite cars at the show included a 1988 Italdesign Aztec Barchetta concept car, which was split with two separate cockpits, had 2 steering wheels, (the stationary passenger “wheel” acted as a “grab bar”), and had 2 headsets with microphones to enable the driver and the passenger to converse, only 25 of these concept cars were made, and only 3 are in the United States; and a 1936 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic Coupe also caught our attention, with its beautiful curves and riveted seam lines. This was the first in a series, with only 2 made. This twin cam, S-type Bugatti, has been lovingly restored, and is considered to be the most expensive car in the world!
Prestigious car dealers were also on hand with the latest models from: Maybach, Ferrari, Masserati, Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Aston Martin, Volvo, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, Audi, Hummer, Mercury, Lincoln, Cadillac, Pontiac, Porsche, Infiniti and Chrysler, where interested buyers could take cars for a test drive, which Edward did test-driving the new Chrysler Crossfire Coupe.
Still dreaming, we made our way our way to the parking lot, looking forward to next year’s show.
For additional information, please visit: Greenwich Concours d’Elegance.
© July 2005. Luxury Experience. www.luxuryexperience.com All rights reserved.