AB stops at the 27th Concours d'Elegance at the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort

27th Concours d'Elegance at the St. Regis, Dana Point - Click above for high-res image gallery

For its 27th iteration, Orange County's most prestigious classic car show returned to the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point, and finally dropped the "Newport Beach" from its name. No longer would it be known as the Newport Beach Concours d'Elegance, instead adopting the Concours d'Elegance at the St. Regis moniker. The title may have changed, but the quality of the entrants hasn't. Still benefiting the Mary & Dick Allen Diabetes Center at Hoag Hospital and the CSP Assessment and Treatment Services Center, the field of classic cars at this concours was once again stunning.

This year's featured marque was Mercedes-Benz, and the automaker was represented by some truly spectacular models, aided in no small part by the show's proximity to the Mercedes Classic Car Center, the factory-backed restoration shop for vintage Mercedes vehicles. Besides the beautiful Benzes, the roughly 3,000 attendees got to see about 300 other classic and exotic vehicles spread out around the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort and the adjacent Dana Point Sea Terrace Park. Read on to learn what else we found during our day in Dana Point and don't forget to check out the huge gallery below.

All photos copyright ©2009 Frank Filipponio / Weblogs, Inc.

Although this is pretty much a local show, it manages to attract some really impressive machinery every year. Heck, we saw a few cars that we remember seeing up at Pebble Beach. Top shelf cars from nearby museums and collections like The Petersen, The Nethercutt Collection, the William Lyon Estate, the Mercedes Classic Center, the Simon Collection, the Caballeriza Collection, and the Marconi Museum were on display, alongside some superb machinery from local collectors like David Sydorick and Peter Mullin.

This year's gathering featured 14 familiar classes of classic, vintage and exotic vehicles along with a new category for supercars. Needless to say, we quite enjoyed seeing some of the youngsters joining their ancestors on the green. Besides those judged and display-only classes, the organizers also allowed local car clubs to park in specially designated car corrals for each marque for the first time this year. Those cars occupied space in the neighboring parks around the resort. That meant a good bit more walking this year than in years past, but it was more than worth the effort.

Just among the featured Mercedes-Benz vehicles you could find a Gullwing, a preservation-class 1923 Mercedes-Benz 28/95, a recently restored 1936 Mercedes-Benz 230/W143 Cabriolet, the 1909 Blitzen Benz and a 600 Pullman known as the Red Baron. New car lovers might have preferred the B200 Turbo, SLR Roadster, 722, SL65 Black, or even the new 2010 Maybach Zeppelin.

Personal favorites out of the non-Benz groups included the copper and green 1941 Chrysler Le Baron Thunderbolt, the 1954 Pegaso Z102 Spyder, 1951 Delahaye 235, 1937 Cord 812C, 1973 Porsche 911 RS, 1929 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750, 1936 Talbot-Lago T-120 Baby Sport Cabriolet, 1937 Lincoln Model K V12, and a 1936 Delahaye 135 Competition. Of course there were at least another dozen or so supercars that we would have loved to have been handed the keys to as well, starting with one of the two Bugatti Veyrons, a Lamborghini Reventon, as well as three Ferraris named Enzo, F50 and F40. The event is settling into its new home nicely and keeps attracting an incredible array of A-List classics. We can hardly wait for next year.

All photos copyright ©2009 Frank Filipponio / Weblogs, Inc.

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