SEABROOK, TEXAS (July 9, 2009) – In spite of the recession, pandemic flu scare, potential weather issues, etc, the 200 Classic automobiles and 74 vintage wooden boats on display at Keels & Wheels came from virtually every part of the United States. The show also enjoyed a record crowd in attendance of nearly 14,000 enthusiasts who came from throughout Texas as well as the rest of the country and Europe.
Held each year at Lakewood Yacht Club in Seabrook, Texas, a waterfront suburb of Houston, the show benefits Boys & Girls Harbor and Houston PBS. The show featured Duesenberg and cars of Carroll Shelby as the honored marques. Seven Duesenbergs graced the field, along with 24 Shelby-related muscle cars, race cars, and Cobras. The harbor was filled with beautiful wooden Chris Craft and Century runabouts, classic sail boats, and large vintage cruising yachts. The sight of these combined classics next to each other from the grounds of the Yacht Club to the harbor is a visual overload.
The array of cars on the grounds and boats in the harbor was a tremendous challenge for the Judges. Led by Honorary Chief Judge Bill Warner, Founder Chairman of Amelia Island Concours for the automobile classes and Bob Van Guilder of the Antique & Classic Boat Society for the boat classes, over 75 judges participated in determining the class winners and Best of Show awards.
“Best of Show, American Automobile” went to Frank and Millie Ricciardelli, of Monmouth, New Jersey, for their stunning 1935 Model J Dual Cowl Duesenberg Phaeton. “Best of Show, European Automobile” was awarded to Peter & Merle Mullen of Los Angeles, California for their 1939 Delahaye 165. The much coveted “Peoples Choice” award went to Chuck Swimmer of San Diego, California, and his 1938 Peugeot Darlimat 402 Roadster.
Other highlights of the show included the rather controversial Tucker Convertible, which was displayed as an unfinished restoration and generated huge interest from the crowd. The Tucker is now owned by Benchmark Classics of Madison, Wisconsin, is in the restoration process, and is looking for a new home.
The National unveiling of the WaterCar, from Los Angeles, was an incredible hit with the crowds both Saturday and Sunday. The WaterCar, driven by inventor David March, drove down the road to the ramp, entered the water and drove around the inner harbor, which was packed with vintage boats and lined with spectators. The WaterCar will do 100 mph on the highway and 60 mph on the water – a bit more pep than an Amphicar.
SCM Publisher Keith Martin served this year as Master of Ceremonies and presided over the awards presentations for both the cars and boats.
The 14th Annual Keels & Wheels Concours d’ Elegance was supported by Title Sponsors Alex Rodriguez Mercedes Benz, First Community Bank and the City of Seabrook, Texas.
Visit keels-wheels.com for more.