Concours at St. John’s Continues to Impress

1937 bugatti 57sc atalante coupe best in show  foreign

Last year, I made my first visit to the Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s and was surprised and delighted. Formerly known as the Meadow Brook Concours d’Elegance and held at Meadow Brook Hall in Rochester, Michigan, the concours moved to its new location — the Inn at St. John’s in Plymouth, Michigan — in 2011.

I was honored to be co-emcee again this year, and I enjoyed working with the ever-smiling and extremely knowledgeable Robert Joynt.

The Inn at St. John’s is a renovated seminary and sits on an 18-hole golf course — a perfect concours setting.

There’s really nothing better than walking out from your room to breakfast in the host hotel, and then strolling to the concours green.

As I wrote last year, the quality of the cars on display is first rate. I would rank this concours in the top three in the U.S., along with Pebble Beach and Amelia Island.

Larry Moss, the chairman of the event, has assembled a first-rate team, and together they are working hard to improve the concours every year.

The weekend is a complete one, with a tour, seminars and gala dinner. It all culminates on Sunday with the show.

From Muscle Cars to American Classics to Sports Cars, the depth of each class was quite impressive. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised; after all, Detroit is the home of the American automobile. There are a large number of families that have been collecting for many generations. Rare and unusual cars were the rule, not the exception.

The concours is also working to keep its offerings fresh and unusual. There was a class for hearses this year, one for sprint race cars and another for unusual Japanese collector cars.

Good friend and long-time SCMer Bruce Meyer was honored as Enthusiast of the Year, and several of his cars were on display.

The Founder’s Trophy for Best in Show — American, went to a 1929 Duesenberg Model J owned by Charles Letts Jr. of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Best in Show — Foreign was awared to a 1937 Bugatti 57SC Atalante coupe owned by Jim Patterson of The Patterson Collection, of Louisville, Kentucky.

The Concours d’Elegance of America has earned a permanent place on my summer schedule. I look forward to returning next year to enjoy the beautiful cars, warm and welcoming people and stunning setting. This event is the total package.

(To see 171 photos from my Facebook album, click here. You do not have to be a Facebook member to view them.)

Keith Martin

Keith Martin has been involved with the collector car hobby for more than 30 years. As a writer, publisher, television commentator and enthusiast, he is constantly on the go, meeting collectors and getting involved in their activities throughout the world. He is the founder and publisher of the monthly Sports Car Market and bi-monthly American Car Collector magazines, has written for the New York Times, Automobile, AutoWeek, Road & Track and other publications, is an emcee for numerous concours, and has his own show, “What’s My Car Worth,” shown on Velocity.

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