Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year was one of our favorite smaller concours, the Huntington Beach Concours d'Elegance in Southern California. Not quite as prestigious as some of the other concours we cover - like Greenwich, happening on the opposite coast on the very same weekend - it's always an eclectic show, featuring everything ranging from hot rods to supercars, pre-war classics and motorcycles. One of the things that makes this show extra special is what makes some real estate worth a lot more than others – location, location, location. Within spitting distance of some of the biggest and best automotive collections in the world, this laid-back exhibition always manages to bring out some huge surprises.
Split over two days, the Saturday show is billed as Hot Rods in the Park, and focuses mainly on American iron, while Sunday is the Concours d'Elegance proper, with more European makes represented. Sunday was the day to see Corvettes, Ferraris, Alfas, Minis, Nimbuses and Ducatis if you're into those kinds of things. We stopped in for a spell on both days, fully prepared to be wowed, and the entrants still blew us away. Sure the muscle cars and classics were cool as usual, but check out the lead sleds, customs and bikes that turned out this year! Highlights included the vintage custom Harleys, '57 "Scraped" Caddy, '61 409 Impala SS and a '42 Willys Americar Coupe Altered drag car. As nice as those were, the standout vehicles of the weekend were even more impressive.
Randy Simmons brought a 1947 Hudson pickup powered by a 7.3-liter Power Stroke turbodiesel. It's an A/DT class SCTA land speed record truck that has run over 135 miles per hour and looks like it could hold a place of honor in just about any museum in the world. Ducati got our attention when we noticed an aluminum paint job on the tank of one of its display bikes. Yep, it was the new limited-edition 1198R Corse - the updated-for-2010 1098R replacement. And then there was a streamlined red motorcycle that stopped us in our tracks. Have you seen The World's Fastest Indian yet? If not, go rent now. The late Burt Munro's highly-modified Indian Scout has been resurrected and brought to a level of finish that would have left him dumbfounded. The bike just emerged from a massive restoration project and was being shown in anticipation of its official coming-out party at Pebble Beach in August. That's when the engine will be re-fired for the first time in 21 years. Even standing still, it's a mighty impressive bike, as well as a bit of motoring and movie history.