The first time for any concours is always a challenge. When the weather complicates the plans, it can become chaotic. When the announcement of The Greenbrier Concours d’Elegance appeared, it was a must do event. The Greenbrier is an historic resort in White Sulphur Springs in the mountains of West Virginia. Visitors began coming to the area to “take the waters” since 1778. It remains one of only two “springs” resorts left, the other being The Homestead about an hour away in the Virginia mountains. The Greenbrier is also the site of a facility that got the name “the bunker” thanks to a slightly misinformed newspaper reporter. “The bunker” is actually a fallout shelter designed to protect Congress from fallout during a nuclear war. Long declassified, it now serves as an interesting side tour for people staying at the resort. It also has a room now called the “Exhibition Room,” which became important to concours entrants and spectators.
It was a two day event, much as Amelia Island has become. Saturday was “Car Club Day,” and it was held on the golf course. The threat of rain and the actual drizzle kept some people away. The cars hardly made a dent on the amount of space they had set aside for them. One hotel employee said she counted about 75 cars, but even at that number, there was room for many more. The outlook for Sunday was horrible, but there were breaks in the rain forecast for late morning through early afternoon, so, on Saturday afternoon, the organizers said it was a go for the golf course. Sunday morning, it was raining so hard that speeds over 50 were impossible on the interestate. In town, the river was nearly out of its banks. The entrance from the road to the golf course was flooded. After lots of rumors spread among the entrants, a decision was made to put half the 100 or so entrants on the circle in front of the hotel and half in the “Exhibition Hall,” The latter required some effort on the part of the drivers because of all the support columns around the room. Greenbrier employees and even concours judges helped push some of the cars into place. Being inside made the noises quite entertaining. And it got very interesting when a McLaren Can-Am car drove in – what a noise! It got everyone’s attention!
In the end the Best of Show honors went to Carl Baxter’s 1934 Swallow Sidecar (Jaguar) SS1 Saloon, with the class winners including:
Class 1 – Brass Era Cars: 1911 Stanley Steam Car, Model 63 owned by Eric Arbuckle
Class 2 – Classic Cars: 1928 Isotta Fraschini 8A SS owned by Peter Boyle
Class 3 – Pre-War Production Cars: 1934 Swallow Sidecar (Jaguar) SS1 Saloon owned by Carl Baxter
Class 4 – Post-War Production Cars: 1953 Mercedes Benz 220 Cabriolet A owned by Martin Stickley
Class 5 – Foreign Sports Cars: 1960 Triumph Italia 2000 GT owned by Alan Anspaugh
Class 6 – Exotic Sports Cars: 1966 Ferrari 275GTB owned by John Gerhard
Class 7 – American Sports Cars: 1957 Ford Supercharged Thunderbird owned by Marvin Hill
Class 8 – Preservation Cars: 1967 Chevrolet Corvette owned by Mark Davis
Class 9 – Race Cars: 1957 Ferrari 500-TRC owned by David Carte
Class 10 – Muscle Cars: 1967 Ford Shelby GT350 owned by Hunt Palmer-Ball
Class 11 – Vipers: 2017 Dodge Viper owned by Bob Miller