It seems like every concours this year, at least east of the Mississippi River, has endured a rain threat. The Amelia Island weekend was compressed into Saturday because of the forecast. A sodden golf course at the Greenbriar caused cars to be displayed on the circle in front of the hotel and in “The Bunker.” The Elegance at Hershey endured rain during the afternoon. And, like the Greenbriar, the show at the Trump National Golf Club had to be moved off the spacious golf course because of rain the day before the concours. The bad news was that the cars would be displayed in much more cramped quarters; the good news was that the areas chosen to display the cars allowed convenient access for spectators and for the cars to be attractively displayed. It was the right decision, and it was a good one.
The day of the concours, Saturday, November 10th, was a beautiful, crisp day. It was sunny with just a bit of fall chill in the air. Like Hilton Head and Amelia Island, the organizers of the Trump Charlotte Concours d’Elegance invite members of local car clubs to display their cars in an area separate from the concours field. Unlike the others, the club cars are displayed on the same day as the show cars. When the entire golf course was available, there was plenty room. This year, the organizers had to be clever about how to use the space available to them. Concours cars were displayed on the Red Show Field, an area originally designated for members of the club and special invitees, and a smaller lawn areas adjacent to it where Italian sports cars of the 1950s and 1960s were displayed. A few of the concours cars were displayed on the lawn in front of the club house. A parking lot, originally designated for club members and concours judges, was used for two large groups of club cars – one level for Corvettes and the other for recent Italian exotics. The remainder of the club cars were parked around Meeting House Circle in front of the club house and administrative buildings. A final group of cars that were not to be judged were displayed next to the lake in an area designated as the Director’s Choice Display. All these were in easy walking distance of each other. Food and drink venders were also moved to be convenient to attendees.
The temporal proximity of the show to that at Hilton Head meant that some of the cars that had traveled to South Carolina were able to attend this event in North Carolina – good planning on the part of the organizers. Being near Mooresville and Lake Norman, it was no surprise that some historic NASCAR racers were present – a personal favorite was a 1963 ½ Ford Galaxie once driven by “Fireball Roberts.” There was an interesting grouping of drag race cars, not something you see at most concours. One other race car worth mentioning, since it is very rare, was a 1911 E-M-F Model 30. The “E” in E-M-F was for “Barney” Everitt, who a decade later would be behind the creation of Rickenbacker Motor Company. Other memorable cars included two Isotta Fraschinis – I’ve never seen two of them in one place. The Italian sports car display included a Bizzarrini 5300 Spyder S.I. that creates lust in my heart every time I see one and an Alfa Romeo I had never seen in person – a 1955 1900 CSS produced by Ghia-Aigle in Switzerland. But the car I will remember the longest from this show is a 1966 Shelby GT 350, candy apple red, with no body stripes, and the only option a back seat – just like my first new car, bought in November 1966 when the Ford dealer really wanted to move it. The answer to the obvious question is “Yes, I wish I still had it.”