A passion for the eccentric? Concours of Elegances are beauty contests for a very special breed of car lovers: Classic car collectors specialized on participating in these events travel the world with some of the most beautiful cars, gather at some of the most beautiful resorts like Villa d’Este on the lake of Como and Pebble Beach near Monterey (California). Regarding their precious vehicles, they show an uncompromising aspiration for perfection and the stamina to work and refine a car for years before presenting it; all for a blue ribbon, a cup and the recognition and applause of a growing number of spectators.
While traditional motor shows focus on future cars, Concours have become automotive events mostly focusing on historic cars. Designers, historians and automotive experts judge on cars today that allow spectators to dream of departed times. This hasn’t been the case all the time: The winner of Best in Show at Pebble Beach Concours of Elegance in 1951 for example was a Jaguar Mark VII Saloon built in the same year. However it seems that the more popular the car became as a means of transportation, the more the people focused on the beauty of historic vehicles: Just ten years after the winning of the Jaguar saloon, in 1961, it was a 1930 Packard 740 Custom Eight Roadster taking home the Best in Show at Pebble Beach for example.
Lately, Concours of Elegances have become very popular events like Pebble Beach, Amelia Island Concours or Concorso d’Eleganza at Villa d’Este (Italy). Thousands of spectators applaude for cars of notable collectors like Ralph Lauren, Corrado Lopresto, Jon Shirley, the Louwman family or Jan de Reu. While these events have been around for decades, there have lately been newcomers entering the scene especially in Europe: The UK Concours of Elegance and Arts & Elegance at the French castle of Chantilly have become huge within a few years. However growth is not everything. As a countermovement to the rising popularity, some events address to the collectors with smaller and more intimate events for the community of classic car collectors. One of these is Masterpieces & Style at the German castle of Dyck, an initiative of the promoters of the highly acclaimed classic car show Classic Days.
Have you already caught fire or are you curious about having a closer look behind the scenes of the exciting world of Concours d’Elegances? Then please follow Massimo Delbò’s series of blog postings “Ten hints for participating at a concours”. As a classic car journalist and longtime observer of the collector’s community he has has visited hundreds of events and built close relations to both participating collectors as well as judges. We’re sure you’ll enjoy an entertaining view on Concours – and maybe, they also help you as an aspiring car collector win your first blue ribbon?