The star car at this year's Fairfield Concours d'Elegance will wear the Spirit of Ecstasy on her hood and no less ecstatic a design all along her body. The 1939/47 Rolls-Royce Phantom III "Vutotal" Cabriolet by Labourdette, now in the John Rich Museum collection, started off as a standard Phantom III designed by Henry Royce. It was re-envisioned by coachbuilder Hooper and Co. in 1938 with a Sedanca de Ville body style, then showed off in Europe before being tweaked for the U.S. market.
When the very same show car ended up in the Parisian studio of Henri Labourdette in the Forties, he threw out everything but the running gear and rebodied the car in gold-plated-and-brass-adorned aerodynamic bodywork that swooped back into a boattail. He also got rid of anything that identified it as a Rolls, save for its mascot and a couple of interior trim pieces. The final detail: the Vutotal windscreen, a thick slice of glass that appears to support itself. The conversion cost $44,000 at a time when the average price of a home was about $4,000.
Elsewhere on the Concours docket, featured judging classes will include Porsche, Bugatti, Period Hot Rods and Custom Cars from 1948 – 1964, there will be regional vintage club gatherings, an auction conducted by Bonhams, and photographer Jesse Alexander will be the featured artist. The Barn Find category is a new one this year and is still accepting submissions to go with dusty, rusted hulks that will include a 1949 Willys Panel Wagon and 1961 AC Greyhound.
The seventh annual Fairfield Concours opens its lawn on Saturday, September 11, 2010.