As part of its silver anniversary, this year's Newport Beach Concours d'Elegance gathered together a selection of former Best of Show winners as its featured marque. That meant visitors were greeted by a Jaguar XK-SS and SS-100, a mauve Gullwing Mercedes, a Maserati A6 GS (above), an Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato, a unique ostrich-skin interior Delahaye 135, and a beautiful black and orange Duesenberg SJ Boattail Speedster. A pretty good start to a day of classic car nirvana. Although this is a much less prestigious show than Pebble Beach, Meadowbrook, Amelia Island or Villa d'Este, the quality of cars in Southern California means the cars themselves are still first tier.
Some of the most beautiful and significant vehicles from every era come from the most exclusive collections around. Representatives from The Petersen, The Nethercutt Collection, the William Lyon Estate, and the Marconi Museum were on display, enticing spectators to dig into their pockets to raise money for charity. Although still referred to as the Newport Beach Concours d'Elegance because of its original home, this event has changed venues several times before ending up at Strawberry Farms Golf Club a few of years ago. With the cars parked in the natural bowl of the driving range, it is an intimate and manageable show.
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Although the people who enter their cars in these smaller local concours are just as serious about winning, there's a bigger emphasis on having a good time and helping a charity than competition. Sponsors like Chopard, AutoWeek, Meguiar's, Coast Magazine, The Fairmont Hotel and the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center underwrite the event and allow even more of the proceeds to go to the beneficiaries. As always in Newport, those include the Assessment and Treatment Services Center, which "provides the highest quality counseling to troubled children and families." Hoag Hospital was also a recipient this year.
As important as the charity work is, we go for the cars, and this year's show didn't disappoint. There were 15 classes of vehicles, some judged and some for display only. Altogether there were about 175 Ferraris, Porsches, Jaguars, Aston Martins, Packards, Lincolns, Cadillacs, Delahayes, Mercedes, Rolls-Royces, Duesenbergs, Woodies, race cars, horseless carriages and others clustered around the grounds.
It was easy to get lost in the beautiful coachwork of the Auburns, Cords and Duesenbergs. The amazing preservation class showcased cars up to 95 years old still in original condition, including a 1912 Detroit Electric (right). The antique and vintage class went even further into automotive history with cars like Gerhard and Rosmarie Schnuerer's 1895 Benz Myford Landaulet Coupe - the oldest still-running vehicle on the planet (below).
Packards, Lincolns and Cadillacs always make up a big part of these shows, but European classics from Rolls, Delahaye, Bugatti and Mercedes are also well represented. As gorgeous as those Pre-War cars are, we tend to linger even longer around the Post-War sports cars.
Mercedes 300s, Jag XKs, Porsche 356es and the like always have big crowds around them. This year they had to fight for attention with a solid crop of Corvettes, Austin-Healeys, Lamborghinis and Maseratis, among others. And of course, there is always a huge Ferrari turnout.
Four classes of Ferraris were arranged at the far end of the grounds, high atop the range on their own elevated green. Highlights from those various categories included the gorgeous blue 275 GTB/4 alloy coupe, two Daytona Spiders, a preservation 410 Super America, restored 500 SuperFast, a 166 Barchetta, and a slew of other Prancing Horses. At the other end of the range, organizers gathered about a dozen race cars and had a special hot rod tribute area in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the iconic '32 Ford. Add in the ultra-rare Ferrari F50 and FX from the Marconi Foundation, the show's Fine Art tent, vendors including local highline dealers and automakers like Superformance, WWII warplane fly-bys, and it added up to another terrific show.