Keith’s Blog: Rain or Shine, Radnor Hunt Goes On

There is one element of a concours that is beyond our control: the weather.

We can spend years restoring our cars and attending to every little detail. Likewise, months of preparation can precede the one day of glory that concours anticipate.

But mother nature can have her own ideas.

This was the 22nd annual Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance. Concours organizers Thomas Ross and Mike Tilson had prepared an activity-filled weekend, and despite the rain, the enthusiasts who attended saw some remarkable cars.

Of the 101 cars registered, 41 braved the rain, including the SWB covered headlight 1962 Ferrari California Spyder that belonged to Oscar Davis — which had just been shown at Pebble Beach. I appreciated him bringing out the car for us to admire, without fear of a little moisture or mud.

I was honored to be the Guest of Honor, as well as a judge of the European Style, American Power class. The featured class was Rolls-Royce and Bentley.

Also honored was eight-time world champion motorcycle racer Phil Read MBE.

This year the concours was a benefit for the Thorncroft Equestrian Center.  Thorncroft is a leader in the field of therapeutic horseback riding and related mental health programs.

The event began with a barbecue on Friday night at the Radnor Hunt clubhouse. While there were glimpses of sun during the late afternoon, by that night we experienced monsoon-like rains, with water coming down in sheets.

SCM’er Richard Lincoln was there. He was a veteran of the Bradley GT “Miami to Monterey” exercise in folly, and drove our Autozam in this year’s Caravan to Concorso. Proving that he can introduce disaster to modern as well and vintage cars, after he inadvertently left the windows on his X5 M down, it went into “limp-home” mode and was last seen in a service bay of the local dealer.

As our amphicar wasn’t ready, we skipped the Saturday tour and visited the Thorncroft Center. We watched the kids and young adults with special needs break out with giant grins as they mounted their horses

We kept hoping the next day would bring sunshine, but it didn’t.

I was judging “hybrids,” defined as cars having American powerplants and non-U.S.-built coachwork.

Lead judge of our European Style, American Power class was good friend Arno Leskinen, Alfa Romeo Club National Concours Chair and Chief Concours judge. I had most recently seen him at the Alfa Romeo National Convention in Olympia, WA – where I accidentally bought a Junior Zagato. Joining us as a judge was Mercedes-enthusiast and expert Harrison Platz.

Our class, American Style European Horsepower Sports included a Pantera, Iso Lele, Railton Farimile, Apollo 5000GT convertible, Sunbeam Tiger and an Intermeccanica Torino Spider. Best in class was awarded to the 1965 Apollo owned by Jack Triplett, of Kensington, MD.

I found myself drawn to the Lele. I have never paid much attention to these cars in the past, finding them not as attractive as the Grifo or the Rivolta that preceded them.

But this particular example was striking in silver over black. Recently, I’ve found myself attracted to the crisp angular lines of ‘70s 2+2s. At the Quail, the car I admired the most was a Ferrari 308 GT4 in red with boxer black lower panels.

The Lele and the Bertone would make a perfect pairing in the SCM garage…

Emcee of the gala dinner and the concours was SCM Contributor and friend Bill Rothermel.

I presented the SCM Spirit of Radnor Award to a stunning 1953 Nash-Healey Roadster owned by Edward and Rita Koch of Flemington, NJ. I had never seen one shown with its top up before (a necessity given the rain) and it was exceptionally handsome.

Best of Show went to Forrest McClain, of Atlanta, GA and his 1932 Rolls Royce 20/25 Saloon with coachwork by Gurney Nutting. Best of Show Sport award went to Irwin Kroiz, of Ambler, PA and his 1956 Corvette SR-2 Roadster. People’s Choice was awarded to a Bitter CD 305 owned by Jay Harmon of Asbury Park, NJ.

 

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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