Keith’s Blog: The Hilton Head Concours – An All-Star Weekend

 

This was my fourth time attending the Hilton Head Island Concours d’ Elegance.

Over the years, it has grown to be a more than just a concours. It bills itself as a Motoring Festival, and that it is.

The festivities start the weekend before with the Savannah Speed Classic, which includes vintage races held in nearby Savannah.

The car show weekend kicks off on Friday, with a hanger party that this year featured the debut of the Gulfstream G500 executive jet, along with a P-51 Mustang and B-24 Liberator on display.

Saturday morning I was the moderator for an SCM Insider’s Seminar. The panelists were Ken Gross, Mark Hyman and Peter Mullin. Our topic was Delahaye, Duesenberg, Alfa and Porsche. We discussed the historical importance of each marque, as well as the affordable classic and best buy choices for each. Peter Mullin, chair of the board of directors of the Petersen Museum, was awarded the “Prince of Palmettos” trophy (decided by audience votes).

As has become the tradition with many concours, the day before the official concours is a “car club” or “cars and coffee” day.

This makes financial and logistical sense, as that way the cost of the setup of the tents, stage, PA system and more can be amortized across another day.

The Car Club Showcase featured over 200 cars from local car clubs. Featured marques for that day — and the weekend — were Allards and Sunbeam Tigers.

More than 200 cars were on the field. I find these types of Club Showcase events highly satisfying to attend. They are full of lots of “regular” collector cars (think 1978 Corvette instead of Hispano-Suiza) — and interesting variants I haven’t seen before.

The local Corvair club had quite a few examples on display, including a Corvair Van with facing seats and a little table. Quite cute.

Best of show was a Ferrari Daytona.

The forecast for Sunday was light rain beginning in the late afternoon. The day started out sunny.

I was honored to be emcee of the event. I was up at 6:30 a.m. to walk the field. It’s the best time to look at the cars, and I also enjoy watching and chatting with the owners while they perform the final detailing of their cars.

There was a display of BMW M1s (it was their 40th anniversary), along with a class for three-wheeled Morgans.

The featured collector was good friend Paul Ianuario. The Pinnacle Award winners were Peter and Merle Mullin.

The rain started around 2 p.m., but the concours went on as scheduled and all the awards were presented.

The Road & Track award was presented to a 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL. Jeff Files, from Durham, NC, owns the car. Aside from a re-spray, the car had a completely original interior and drivetrain. He had just completed the 1000-mile Colorado Grand in the car.

The Best Motorcycle was received by a 1928 BMW R63 owned by John Landstrom of Norcross, GA.

The Best Production / Performance Car was awarded to a 1967 Shelby Mustang GT350. The owner, Hunt Palmer of Louisville, KY, is the original owner. He bought the car when he was 19 years old.

Best Rolling Art and Best of Show went to the 1931 Stutz DV32 Convertible Victoria entered by Judge Joseph Cassini from West Orange, NJ.  A remarkably attractive car, and impeccably restored, it was a fitting choice.

Hilton Head offers a complete weekend for a gearhead. From the parties to the seminars to the shows, there is something for everyone. The organization is top-flight, and the display and hospitality areas are perfect.

For complete concours results, visit http://www.hhiconcours.com/

 

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

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