Keith’s Blog: The Inaugural Las Vegas Concours d‘Elegance

“What an amazing display of  “A-list cars.”

That was the response of Jakob Griesen, Head of the U.S. Motoring Department and Vice President of Bonhams, as he viewed the cars entered in the first annual Las Vegas Concours d’Elegance.

Arrayed on the show field at the DragonRidge Country Club, located 18 miles from downtown Las Vegas in Henderson, Nevada, were 108 important cars from museums and private collectors.

Star display cars were the 1938 Hispano-Suiza Dubonnet Xenia from the Mullin Museum and the Phantom Corsair Experimental 6-passenger coupe from the National Automobile Museum.

Concours founder Stuart Sobek brought in a team of acclaimed judges, including Chief Judge John Carlson from British Columbia, Honorary Chief Judge Dr. Gerald Greenfield, and Honorary Judges Dr. Paul Sable, Ed Gilbertson and yours truly.

Other judges included Christian Kraemer, Dr. Mark Moskowitz, Ken Gross, Somer Hooker, Lilly Pray, Jim Stranberg, Michael Tillson, Ed Winkler and Kip Wasenko.

SCM-contributor Bill Rothermel was an entertaining and informative emcee.

Andy Reid of ClassicCars.com was my chauffeur in a golf cart, as I surveyed the field.

We will have a complete list of results in the Concours Corner of next week’s newsletter. The cars that caught eye were a striking blue 1955 Jaguar D-type, a 1966 Bosley Interstate Mk II and the custom coachbuilt, “The Illusion.”

I awarded the SCM “Pursuit of Passion” trophy to a 1964 Triumph Spitfire Mk IV owned by Barry and Jhongrok Connally. Immaculately restored, it had been purchased by their father new in 1964 and been in the family ever since.

Best of Show Pre-War was awarded to a 1931 Bugatti Type 51, and Best of Show Post-War went to a 1953 Ferrari 250 Europa Vignale.

Creating an event of this magnitude is not an undertaking for the faint of heart. Stuart had lofty goals — and for the most part achieved them. Whatever minor glitches occurred were organizational ones that will easily be solved by next year’s event.

Most important, the cars were first rate. Out of the box, Las Vegas now has a high-line concours to call its own.

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, now in its 33rd year. Keith has written for the New York Times, Automobile, AutoWeek, Road & Track and other publications, is an emcee for numerous concours, and had his own show, “What’s My Car Worth,” shown on Velocity. He has received many honors, including the Lee Iacocca Award, the Edward Herrman Award, was inducted into the Concorso Italiano Hall of Fame and more. He is on the boards of directors of The LeMay Museum and Oregon Ballet Theater, and was formerly the chair of the board of the Meguiar's Award.

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