Keith’s Blog: Buicks, Rileys and Alfas – The La Jolla Concours

This past Sunday marked my 7th year as emcee of the La Jolla Concours d’Elegance.

In the bright morning sunshine, I looked over the 135 cars on the lawn at Ellen Browning Scripps Park, which is right on beautiful La Jolla Cove. The setting, which overlooks the beautiful Pacific Ocean, of this concours rivals that of Pebble Beach.

That same Sunday, it was 45 degrees and raining in Portland, with gusts of wind reaching 40 mph. Clearly La Jolla and 75 degrees was a better choice.

This was the 14th Annual La Jolla Concours, and the last six have been under the direction of Chairman G. Michael Dorvillier. He has assembled a remarkable team to create this complete weekend of collector car immersion.

My good friend and ACC contributor Michael Pierce joined me for the weekend, and he helped judge the Camaro class on Sunday.

The event began on Friday night with a swank party sponsored by Rolls-Royce, UBS Financial Services and Schuback Aviation.

The Tour d’Elegance on Saturday was sponsored by Porsche of San Diego. They provided my ride for the weekend, a new Macan S. While behind the wheel, I was reminded of just how good new cars are. The Macan had the tight, responsive feel of a sports car while at the same time offering the visibility and feeling of safety of an SUV. It’s no wonder that trucks and SUVs now make up the vast majority of new cars being purchased.

My favorite car on the tour was an oddball, a 1965 Buick Custom Sport Wagon owned by SCMer Jeff Phillips of Solano Beach. I awarded him the “Car That Belongs on the Cover of SCM” trophy.

In a sea of Ferraris and Porsches, the red Buick wagon — a California surfmobile for the ages — stood out.

Alan Taylor creates the signature trophies for the La Jolla Concours, and they were especially fantastic this year. I awarded the SCM Spirit of Motoring Award to a diminutive 1928 Riley Brooklands Speed owned by Michael Potiker from La Jolla.

Another favorite was a spectacularly restored 1949 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS Cabriolet owned by David and Susan Buchanan of Menlo Park, CA. Resplendent in blue over a red leather interior, it clearly was an example of the “big Alfas” that typified Alfa’s pre-1900 and pre-Giulietta offerings.

Most Outstanding Pre-War Car was awarded to a 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I owned by Aaron Weiss. Most Outstanding Post-War was a stunning 1959 Ferrari LWB California Spider that belonged to Chuck Wegner.

Best in Show went to a spectacular 1939 Bugatti Type 57 Aravis brought by the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, CA.

Each year, the La Jolla Concours gets better in every way. The quality of the cars is better, and the sponsorships from the business community increase.

The entire weekend has a crisp, professional feel to it. That makes it particularly pleasant for participants and spectators alike. I look forward to returning next year.

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.

Posted in Blogs, Keith Martin

0 comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *