If you live on the east coast and generally consider yourself an aficionado of all things with four wheels or two, then you may have heard of the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance. If you haven’t, the Concours is a 2-day judged event that brings together American and foreign classic automobiles during the first weekend of June in Greenwich, Connecticut. The Greenwich Concours can always be counted on to present not only some of the most breathtaking cars from the northeast, but a flavor that is unmatched by any other concours event on the east coast. And that flavor smells like high octane fuel, $30 cigar smoke, Italian car leather interiors, uncatalyzed exhaust, and perfume that cost more than the cameras many people brought to the event.
The Greenwich Concours is really two concours events in one, with Concours Americana featuring rare American classic automobiles on Saturday, and Concours International that brings together rare foreign-made cars on Sunday. The 17th annual Greenwich Concours d’Elegance once again took place in Roger Sherman Baldwin Park, right off Interstate 95, and featured impressive collections of automobiles on both days. Sunday also featured an auction of Collectors’ Motorcars and Automobilia by Bonhams, which offered dozens of rare vintage automobiles. The Concours benefits AmeriCares, an international relief agency based in Stamford, CT.
In depth review after the jump
Sunday’s Best in Show award for foreign automobiles went to Judge Joseph Cassini’s 1938 Horch 853 Special Roadster. The Horch 853 premiered in 1937 and utilized a number of engineering advancements that came out of Auto-Union’s racing experience. This example was originally brought to the US by a servicemember returning from Europe after WWII, and was restored decades later by RM Restorations, achieving Best in Show at Pebble Beach in 2004.
Both days also saw the return to the Concours of the Chevrolet Rondine and the Chrysler Ghia Thomas Special, which have been making the concours rounds during the last couple years. The Rondine was a concept built by Pininfarina for the 1963 Paris Motor Show, and sits on a Corvette C2 chassis. The Rondine resided in Pininfarina’s collection until 2008, when it was sold for $1.76 million to Michael Schudroff (who, amazingly, had no qualms about leaving the Rondine and the Chrysler on the show grounds overnight). The Chrysler Ghia Thomas Special from 1952 is a fully functional concept built by Ghia, and was presented at the 1953 Paris Auto Show. Virgil Exner’s involvement should be immediately apparent to anyone familiar with his work, and it is considered one of the best Ghia-Exner collaborations.
An obscure but fascinating Italian-American collaboration was the 1973 Momo Mirage 2+2 from Peter S. Kalikow’s collection. The Mirage emerged out of Peter Kalikow and Alfred Momo’s joint venture to build a large 2+2 GT. Designed in part by Pietro Frua and powered by a Chevrolet 350 V8, the Mirage fell victim to high production costs and the economic crisis of the early 1970s. Only five were built, and Kalikow still owns several. The Mirage appeared earlier this year at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.
An understated rarity, on this side of the pond anyway, was the 1990 BMW Z1 Roadster owned by Maurice Cozzo. One of only a handful in the US, and one of the few that have been successfully registered for road use, the Z1 features (relatively) easily removable plastic body panels which in theory would allow owners to change the color of the car in a matter of hours. The Z1 is probably best remembered for its drop down doors that didn’t quite drop all the way down, making ingress and egress a maneuver that required some practice. Needless to say, we’re not going to see more of these on our shores until the earliest examples turn 25, though two of these were present at Carlisle Import & Kit Nationals in 2011.
Concours Americana on Saturday featured a number of bespoke estates based on full-size saloons of the time, including this 1941 Packard Model 110 Station Wagon. And as concours events often like to have two or three examples of very similar vehicles, often of the same model but slightly different specification, the Packard was kept company by an earlier 1940 Packard 1801 Station Wagon, in addition to a 1937 Chrysler Royal Station Wagon.
Returning from the 2010 edition of the Greenwich Concours was this 1974 De Tomaso Longchamp, owned by Walter Eisenstark and Richard Klein. First shown to the public at the 1972 Turin Motor Show, the Longchamp was based on the De Tomaso Deauville. A little over 400 Longchamps were built in coupe and convertible form between 1972 and 1989. After De Tomaso was purchased by Maserati in the late 1970s, the car was reworked inside and out and sold as a Maserati Kyalami. You may recognize the headlights from the MkI Ford Granada. Yes, it was that kind of time at De Tomaso in the early 1970s. But hey, at least they’re readily available, which is more than could be said for parts from many other small Italian manufacturers of the 1960s and 1970s.
Here’s a car that probably doesn’t come to mind when you hear Chrysler V8. The Facel Vega II used a 6.3 liter Chrysler Typhoon engine good for 355bhp. This one is owned by Ken Swanstrom.
A very impressive stretch limousine by Mulliner Park Ward, stretched at the C-pillar with longer rear passenger doors, a higher roof, and automatic glass divider. Rare to see one in LHD built to US specs. A very labor intensive conversion, needless to say. Carat Duchatelet built similar limousine conversions based on the Mercedes-Benz W140 S-class sedan, and they’re even tougher to find now.
Last but not least, here’s a wonderful 1932 Stutz DV32 Boat Tail Convertible. Owned by James M. Glickenhaus, this was one of three Stutz automobiles at Greenwich Concours this year.
The 2013 edition of the Greenwich Concours d’Elegance will take place on June 1 and June 2 of next year.
Full gallery from this year below