Meteor Strikes the 2016 Arizona Concours

The Duesenberg Mormon Meteor

One-hundred eighty-seven miles north of the Arizona Biltmore is Meteor Crater, one mile wide and 570 feet deep. When the meteorite hit the earth, some 50,000 years ago, it impacted with an estimated force equivalent to 2½ million tons of TNT.

At 3 p.m. last Sunday, another meteor was observed — but this one’s impact was visual, not physical.

While the display of Duesenbergs at the Arizona Concours was exceptional, one car stood out — the 1935 Mormon Meteor, owned by Harry Yeaggy of Cincinnati, OH. At the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1935, Ab Jenkins and Tony Gulotta famously set a 24-hour speed record of 135.47 mph in the car. Yeaggy bought the car at a Gooding auction in 2004, had it restored, and won Best of Show at Pebble Beach in 2007.

The car racked up another concours Best of Show on this day. On the Arizona Concours green, the supercharged engine made a thunderous sound as it was fired up, and the yellow paintwork with contrasting orange inner wheelwells gleamed in the sun.

The third Annual Arizona Concours d’Elegance has now come and gone. Once again, it was a well-run, successful event, from the seminars on Saturday, to the Saturday night gala, to the concours on Sunday and the “afterglow” dinner that evening.

The featured categories this year were Coachwork of Zagato, Exceptional Cars of Great Britain and Duesenberg.

There’s an easy way to see all of the cars and read their histories: download the free Arizona Concours d’Elegance app. Bruce Covill and his company, Cyberitas Technologies, created the app. Technology such as this is the way of the future and enables concours to share information with a much larger audience.

The Zagato class was a case study in the consistency of a designer’s approach to coachwork. From the 1937 Siata 750 Gran Sport to the modern concept cars on display the night before, all of the Zagato shapes evoked a purposeful, “lean and mean” appearance. Andrea Zagato spoke about the tradition of his family’s design house — a tradition which emphasizes that the body should be “just enough and no more” and follow the shape of the engine.

A 1962 Lancia Flaminia Sport 2.8 3C owned by Chet Andrews of Scottsdale was on display. I once owned this car, and I was pleased to see how well it has been preserved under Chet’s care. I thought about offering to buy the car back for the $30,000 or so he paid for it, but I realized I’d have to sell my Méhari to make room for it, and I’m just not ready to make that kind of sacrifice at the moment.

Other friends with Zagato-bodied cars included David Sydorick with his 1956 Ferrari 250 GT, Jim Feldman with his 1957 AC Ace Bristol Zagato and Richard Ballantine with his Alfa Romeo TZ-1.

Once again,TV personality and SCM Editor-at-Large Donald Osborne and I were co-emcees. Donald and I have been working together for decades now, and I thoroughly enjoy sharing the podium with him.

The concours moved along briskly and ended at 3 p.m., due to another event scheduled for the lawn later that afternoon. Concours traditionally end at 4 or later, but everyone I spoke with agreed that the early finish was a plus. Most of us look at cars in the morning, and it often feels like a long wait until Best of Show is presented at the end of the day.

The directors of the Arizona Concours committee, Kevin Cornish, Chuck Stanford Jr. and Ed Winkler, continue to direct and guide the concours in a professional yet friendly manner. The entrants and judges all told me how much they liked being a part of this event.

The setting, at the Frank Lloyd Wright-influenced Arizona Biltmore, is perfect for a concours with just under 100 cars.

Make-A-Wish Arizona works in conjunction with the concours to raise funds to make dreams come true for young people with challenging medical issues. To date, well over $100,000 has been raised for this worthy cause.

The 2017 Arizona Concours d’Elegance will take place Sunday, January 15. This year’s event completely sold out. It’s not too early to put next year’s on your calendar — I look forward to seeing you there.

Check for complete results soon, or download the app.

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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  1. Hi Keith. I have to agree that this year’s Concours was remarkable and memorable. What a thrill to be so close to the Meteor! Very interesting to see it with the front wheelcover back on after it’s recent “race” as told in ACC. I have to say I had several faves but the ’49 Fiat Topolino Panoramica was a beauty. This Zagato styling exercise was proof small cars could be attention getters for all the right reasons! My thanks to Scott Gauthier for bringing it.

  2. It would be great to do a profile on a Lancia Aurelia B24 S Spider America at Biltmore with Miles Collier doing his styling analysis. Location of gas filler door on this otherwise beautiful. At is puzzling to say the least.