The fall is usually a decent time for a concours, often pleasant and dry, but the times and weather are changing. This year it was much warmer than average, humid, and with a chance of rain. Thankfully, with the exception of a few sprinkles on Sunday, the rain held off.
The Atlanta Concours d’Elegance is a two-day event. On Saturday, they have Classics and Coffee. Pretty much anyone with an interesting car can enter and put their car on the field for the day. There are no classes and no judging on Saturday. Sunday is the big event, and cars are accepted through an application process – or your car is invited because it is known by the organizing committee. Cars are placed in classes and are judged by people who know the cars in each class.
Saturday, as might be expected, included a number of cars you often see at local shows, but few of the 100 or so cars were uninteresting. Those more interesting cars included a 1966 Studebaker Wagonaire. The Wagonaire is a Lark wagon with a sliding roof above the rear half of the car. Unlike a sunroof, this sliding roof not only provided fresh air, it allowed for the car owner to transport tall things, like a refrigerator. Try that with your SUV! And how about a Hudson pickup? One of the coolest pickups EVER.
There was also a contest of sorts. While there was no judging, there was a panel who viewed the cars in order to select “The Magnificent Seven.” Those were seven cars who would be entered in Sunday’s concours. Several of the cars selected were fairly extensively modified, like the 1966 Mustang convertible with the 427 cid engine topped with four two-barrel downdraft carburetors. Two Mercedes were also selected – an SL and a sedan. Both of these cars were tan with brown roofs. Apparently the two owners did not know each other, nor did they know that the other was attending Classics and Coffee. The full list of the Magnificent Seven is:
- 1954 Corvette – OWNER: Larry Griffey
- 1966 Studebaker Wagonaire – OWNER: Eric Pierce
- 1957 Ford Fairlane Skyliner – OWNER: William Hearnberg
- 1970 Mercedes Benz 280 – OWNER: Tommy Couch
- 1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RSR – OWNER: Mark Erbegfield
- 1965 Mustang Convertible – OWNER: Steve Haywood
- 1962 TR3 B (2018 WINNER)– OWNER: Mick Allison
Nearly 180 cars competed for ribbons and trophies in the 30 classes on Sunday. The field was full of important automobiles. Oldest in the show were three interesting buggies from 1903 – a Marr Auto Car Runabout, an E.R. Thomas Model 18, and an electric Columbus Folding Top Runabout. The newest was probably the 1984 Porsche 911T that won Best of Class in the Porsche 911/912 Class. In between there were beautiful American, Italian, French, and German cars. There were Brass Era cars, woodies, 1950s American muscle, Alfa Romeos, racecars, and Porsches, the featured marque for the weekend. Bill Wallet, CEO of the Atlanta Concours, commented about one group of cars, “The diversity of attendees, entrants and vehicles is outstanding – even the ability to claim the largest showing of brass-era cars in any concours event nationwide really sets us apart.”
The three most significant awards given were Best of Show American, Best of Show European, and the Don Panoz Visionary Award. This latter award was given to Amanda Gutierrez M.B.A., vicepresident for Automotive Restoration at McPherson College. McPherson College is the only U.S. school awarding a degree in Automotive Restoration. Best of show awards were:
Fifty judges, easily identified by their red shirts, divided into teams to scrutinize the cars in each of the 30 classes. Theirs had to be a difficult task, since there were no “hoopties” among the entrants. It is likely that few points separated the class winners from others in their class. A pictorial listing of the winners can be found below.
In three years, the Atlanta Concours d’Elegance has gone from a nice local show with interesting automobiles to an important regional concours. The quality of the cars at this year’s event bode well for the future of the concours. I’ll be there next year for number four.