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Plymouth, Sunday 29th of July 2012

When looking at the concours circuit on both sides of the Atlantic it is easy to see that this form of event does match more the American way of presenting cars than the European reluctance in doing so. So it is not a surprise that some of the most important Concours d´Elegance are held in the States with the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours coming up in about two weeks followed by Amelia Island in Florida earlier in March. Beside these two very international concours there are several other more local ones during the year including the Concours of America at St.John´s in Plymouth (Michigan), about 30 miles west of Detroit. For many this rates number three in America and beside many cars from the surrounding states of Ohio, Illinois and Indiana it also attracts some major collectors throughout the country.

Many of these classics are restored to debut in Pebble Beach and doing the circle on the following concours all over the USA being strong contenders for Best of Show titles or class wins at least. This year's Concours of America was no exception and several high profile cars at the show led to a very interesting field that Sunday on the 27 hole golf court of the St. John Inn. Just at its second year at the new location the concours previously held at Meadow Brooks Hall at the Oakland University became homey at the former seminary of the Archdiocese of Detroit that turned to a Hotel just a few year ago. On Saturday afternoon the first of the 300 cars were set up on their spot sorted by classes on the lawn while RM Auctions held its annual auction in the ball room of the Inn.

Unlike other concours the cars were not simply lined up but formed groups in circles fenced off by decent black rails to give a clear view on them. The classes included the usual European and American pre- and post-war classes plus a few special classes including “Cousins of the Cord”, “Jaguar vs. the Corvette” or Micro Cars.

The “Cousins of the Cord” class was dedicated to the Hubmobile and Graham models that followed the original Cord design when the moulds of the Auburn based manufacturer were sold after its liquidation. Both Hubmobile and Graham tried to make money out of the very innovative design but failed with that just as Cord did before leaving these cars being just a small episode in the history of the American car industry. Most of the spectators were unaware of this story and one could compare the models of the different companies standing side by side on the field alongside the other cars from Indiana, Auburn and Duesenberg with own classes. Especially the Duesenberg are always a strong contender for the special awards and BoS as they represent the most glamorous decade of the automobile with many of them owned by celebrities of the Hollywood film industry. This class was won by a closed example of the Model J with Beverly Sedan coachwork by Murphy.

The class of the “Jaguar vs. Corvette” represented both contenders through the decades ranging from early XK models including the C- and D-Type to the latest XKRS-GT of 2011 competing with the respective American counterpart. These classes were won by the D-Type on the one side and a beautiful trio of early race Corvettes of the 1950s on the other.

Uncommon on the concours scene is the class of station wagons from the 1950s and 60s. Most of the attention goes to the convertibles and coupes of this era but the station wagon was always an important seller for the brands and many of the presented cars were far away from the family car one might expect with a lot of chrome and ornaments just as their sportive cousins on the next field. Further classes included the very popular muscle cars from the late 1960s, the American interpretation of the Supercars of their era.

The Concours of America was very sporty this year with two further race car classes for the Trans-Am cars over and under 2 litre displacement. Whereas the first one was dominated by American V8-Power the later included some Alfa Romeo GTA and Porsche 911.

Another class was dedicated to even more radical racers, the dragsters from the 1960s. Rarely seen on a lawn these long tiny cars with big engines drew much attention by the visitors and their proud owners had to answer many questions on their cars.

But when it is time to crown a Best of Show the classic pre-war cars, preferable with open top are always amongst the favourites. With an BoS both for American and European cars this year attracted some very elegant cars in both classes.

The European  pre-war class included a superb duo of Delahaye 135 M, a Roadster by Figoni & Falaschi and a very nice brown Cabriolet. Also with coachwork by F&F was the blue Talbot-Lago T-23 but the class (and BoS European) was finally won by Jim Pattersons white Delage D8S Coupe Roadster by Villars that won Pebble Beach just two years ago. Still in immaculate condition this is a true show car and again a deserved winner.

The American BoS was even easier to chose as most could name that as soon as the Chrysler Imperial Dual Cowl Phaeton by Le Baron entered the field. Although the Duesenbergs were elegant as well they could not match with this car brought by Joseph & Margie Cassini who are well known for their spectacular collection of pre-war classics including several PB winners.

After a long winners ceremony including all the class awards and several special awards plus an fashion show of the Auto Show Models the two cars were facing each other for the final of the show.  Compared to the Chrysler the Delage almost looked tiny showing the different interpretation of elegance on both sides of the Atlantic. Whereas the Chrysler featured a 4 seater body with a long bonnet the Delage was kept short with its roaster body and a lowered radiator to make the car look more sportive.

Other cars during the show worth a special look included the Aston Martin DB2/4 Supersonic, the only Aston to wear this Ghia design, the Bugatti T57 C Aravis that won Amelia Island earlier this year or the Mercedes-Benz Type S Murphy Roadster once owned by two of the Marx brothers. The car is famous for racing against Phil Berg´s  Duesenberg at the Muroc Dry Lake north of Hollywood and was shown both in PB and Amelia after its restoration following its sale at Gooding in 2010.

For now we have put together a selection of 100 images to give you an impression of the quality of the concours, a more extensive gallery showing most of the cars on the lawn should follow later on after the upcoming Monterey car week.

Report & images ... Peter Singhof

Founders Trophy Best in Show--American
1933 Chrysler Imperial Dual Cowl
Phaeton Joseph & Margie Cassini, III

Founders Trophy Best in Show--Foreign
1933 Delage D8S Coupe Roadster
Jim Patterson/The Patterson Collection

(C) Jazz Age
1916 Pierce-Arrow 66-A Seven-Passenger Touring
John D. Groendyke

(C) Jazz Age
1922 Duesenberg A 2-4 Rumble Seat Coupe
Linda & Richard Kughn

(C) Jazz Age - Best in Class
1926 Wills Sainte Claire T-6 Roadster
Paul R. Pawlosky

(F) American Popular 1928-1942
1936 Terraplane Express Cab
Scott & Linda White

(F) American Popular 1928-1942
1932 Oldsmobile F-32 Convertible
Doug Width

(F) American Popular 1928-1942 Best in Class
1935 Buick Series 40 Convertible
Leslie E. Lindberg

(Q) Post-War European
1948 Daimler DE 36 Drophead Coupe
Mark I. Hyman

(Q) Post-War European
1964 Jensen Mark II C-V8 Coupe
Cathy & Bernie Polen

(Q) Post War European - Best in Class
1952 Mercedes-Benz 300 Cabriolet D
Thomas E. Hamilton

(G) American Classic Closed 1928-1942
1934 Packard 1107 Formal Sedan
Charles L. Mong

(G) American Classic Closed 1928-1942
1940 Packard 180 Sports Sedan
Eugene F. Tareshawty

(G) American Classic Closed 1928-1942 - Best in Class
1929 Stutz Model M Coupe
The Mitchell Collection

(H) American Classic Open 1928-1934
1933 Packard Dietrich Victoria Convertible
Bruce W. Blevins

(H) American Classic Open 1928-1934
1930 Packard 745 Dual Cowl Phaeton
The Miller Family

(H) American Classic Open 1928-1934
1931 Cadillac 370A Convertible Coupe
Marvin M. Tamaroff

(H) American Classic Open 1928-1934 - Best in Class
1933 Chrysler Imperial Dual Cowl Phaeton
Joseph & Margie Cassini, III

(B) Gaslight
1908 Lozier 7-Passenger Touring
James A. Grundy, Jr.

(B) Gaslight
1911 Mercedes 50 HP Tourer
Pamela & Scott Isquick

(B) Gaslight - Best in Class
1911 Pierce-Arrow 48 Touring
Robert & Betty Reenders

(N) American Muscle Car
1969 Oldsmobile Cutlass 442 Convertible
Ken Nagel

(N) American Muscle Car
1966 Pontiac GTO Convertible
Vernon Smith

(N) American Muscle - Best in Class Al Maynard Award
1968 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28 Convertible
Dana & Patti Mecum

(O) Post War Sports
1957 Aston Martin DB Mark III
Peter Conover & Kristi Sloniger

(O) Post War Sports
1969 Maserati Ghibli Coupe
Rick Imshaug

(O) Post War Sports
1956 Aston Martin DB2/4 Coupe
Brian Joseph & The Patterson Collection

(O) Post War Sports
1966 Aston Martin DB6 Convertible
David Pasant

(O) Post War Sports - Best in Class
1966 Bizzarrini 5300 Spyder
S.I. Mark & Allison Sassak

(T) Slingshot Rails
1955 Green Monster #5 Dragster
 Jon C. Rowley

(T) Slingshot Rails
1959 Chassis Research A/Com Coupe Panel Truck
Todd Schmidt

(T) Slingshot Rails - Best in Class
1964 AA/FD Logghe Dragster
Bob Gladstone

(E) Auburn Cord
1932 Auburn 8-100 A Speedster
Chris C. Mahoney

(E) Auburn Cord
1932 Cord L-29 Sedan
Terry E. Williams

(E) Auburn Cord - Best in Class
1935 Auburn 851 Speedster
Allen Strong

(D) Duesenberg
1930 Duesenberg Rollston SJ Victoria Convertible
Roger Willbanks

(D) Duesenberg - Best in Class
1929 Duesenberg Beverly Sedan
Terence E. Adderley

(J1) Pre-War European
1936 Bentley 4 1/4 Coupe
Andrew W. J. Davidson

(J1) Pre-War European
1928 Mercedes-Benz S Boat Tail Speedster
John W. Rich

(J1) Pre-War European - Best in Class
1933 Delage D8S Coupe Roadster
Jim Patterson/The Patterson Collection

 (J2) Pre-War European
1937 Delahaye 135M Roadster
Malcolm Pray

(J2) Pre-War European
1938 Jaguar SS Coupe
Frank Ricciardelli

(J2) Pre-War European - Best in Class
1938 Bugatti 57 C Aravis Drophead Coupe Off Brothers Collection
Bill Johnston & Ron Elenbaas

(MC) Vintage Three Wheelers - Restored
1937 Indian Dispatch Tow
James E. (Jim) Summers

(MC) Vintage Three Wheelers - Unrestored
1930 Indian Dispach Tow
Gordon Rinschler

(MC) Vintage Three Wheelers - Best in Class Restored
1921 Harley-Davidson FD
Larry & Fay Williams

(MC) Vintage Three Wheelers - Best in Class Unrestored
1950 Harley-Davidson G Servi-Car
Loyd N. Benson

(A) Pioneer Pre-1900
1899 Locomobile Carriage
Allyn Kilsheimer

(A) Pioneer Pre-1900 - Best in Class
1899 Orient Autogo Trike
Dennis Carlson

(CC) Cord Cousins
1937 Cord 812 Phaeton
Tom Beale

(CC) Cord Cousins
1937 Cord 812 Cabriolet
Brent Merrill

(CC) Cord Cousins - Best in Class
1940 Graham Hollywood Convertible
Deidre & Walt Bender

(V) Jet-Age Station Wagons
1959 Buick LeSabre Station Wagon
Joseph Carfagna

(V) Jet-Age Station Wagons
1959 Mercury Colony Park Wagon
Richard R. Saute

(V) Jet-Age Station Wagons
1959 Cadillac Broadmoor Skyview Station Wagon
Robert Waldock

(V) Jet-Age Station Wagons - Best in Class
1961 Chrysler New Yorker Station Wagon
John R. & Lynne K. Cote

(L) American Post-War 1946-1959
1953 Buick Skylark Convertible
 John Allen

(L) American Post-War 1946-1959
1958 Pontiac Parisienne Convertible
Steven Plunkett

(L) American Post-War 1946-1959 - Best in Class
1954 Packard Balboa-X 2-Door Hardtop
Ralph Marano

(M) American Post-War 1960-1970
1960 Chrysler 300 F Coupe
BHA Automobile Museum

(M) American Post-War 1960-1970
1963 Ford Thunderbird Sports Roadster
 Jim Wulf

(M) American Post-War 1960-1970 - Best in Class
1960 Chrysler Imperial Convertible
Richard A. Schultz

(I) American Classic Open 1935-1942
1936 Cadillac 7529 Convertible Sedan
 Jim & Barb Morningstar

(I) American Classic Open 1935-1942
1941 Cadillac Series 62 Convertible
Paul & Sandra Wise

(I) American Classic Open 1935-1942 - Best in Class
1941 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet
 Jim Quinlan

(W) Micro Cars
1957 BMW Isetta Slide Window Cabriolet
Michael McCloskey

(W) Micro Cars Best in Class
1955 Messerschmitt KR 200
Jim Garbo

(U1) Jaguar Racing
1983 Jaguar XJR 5 GTP
Robert Boller

(U1) Jaguar Racing
1962 Jaguar E-Type Coupe
The Collier Collection

(U1) Jaguar Racing Best in Class
1955 Jaguar D-Type Open Racer Jim Taylor

(U2) Corvette Racing
1962 Chevrolet Corvette Gulf Oil Racecar
Paul E. Andrews, Jr.

(U2) Corvette Racing
1957 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster/Hardtop
Bill Connell

(U2) Corvette Racing Best of Class
1960 Chevrolet Corvette Hardtop
Lance Miller

(S1) Trans Am Under 2 liter Best in Class
1971 Ford Pinto 2.5 Challenge
John Edward Smith

(S2) Trans Am Over 2 liter Best in Class
1967 Mercury Cougar Trans-Am Race Car
Larry H. Miller Group

Best Driving Award: Car We Would Like to Drive Home
1965 AC Cobra 427 Competition Roadster
Robert Michael Gingold, M.D.

Best Reflection
1937 Ford 78 Cabriolet
J. B. Saunders, III

FIVA Award
1927 Minerva AFS Roadster
Robert M. Pass

Best Paint
1969 Maserati Ghibli Coupe
Rick Imshaug

Hagerty Youth Award
1908 Baker Roadster
John B. McMullen

Hagerty Youth Award
1951 Crosley Hotshot Roadster
David W. Anspach

Hagerty Youth Award
1929 Stutz Model M Coupe
The Mitchell Collection

Chairman's Award
1938 Horch 853 A Phaeton
Ed & Judy Schoenthaler

Lee Iacocca Award
1967 Ford Shelby GT Convertible
Styles Collection

Debut Award
1954 Packard Balboa-X 2-Door Hardtop
Ralph Marano

Engineering Excellence
1933 Stutz DV-32 Monte Carlo
Richard Mitchell

Most Original - The Way It Was
1957 Buick Super 4-Door Hardtop
Charles G. George

The Most Significant Mercedes-Benz
1928 Mercedes-Benz S Boat Tail Speedster
John W. Rich

Best Use of Color
1908 Lozier 7-Passenger Touring
James A. Grundy, Jr.

Most Photogenic Award
1947 Delahaye 135 MS Teardrop Coupe
The Burt Collection

The Most Significant Ferrari - The Gerald Roush Memorial Award
1963 Ferrari SWB California Spyder
Joe Moch

Spirit of the Hobby Award
1934 Packard 1107 Coupe
David & Linda Kane

Otto Rosenbusch Memorial Award-Spirit of the Automobilist
1916 Pierce-Arrow 66-A Seven-Passenger Touring
John D. Groendyke

People's Choice Award
1929 Willys-Knight 66B Roadster
Al Giddings

Spirit of Detroit
1957 Chevrolet Corvette Roadster/Hardtop
Bill Connell

Spirit of Modernism (Best Art Deco Design) Award
1937 Delahaye 135M Roadster
Malcolm Pray

The Art That Moves Us Award
1966 Chevrolet Corvette L88
Kevin J. Mackay

Timeless Beauty Award
1938 Jaguar SS Coupe
Frank Ricciardelli

Gordon Buehrig Award - Auburn Cord Duesenberg
1935 Duesenberg SJN Convertible Coupe
Bill & Barbara Parfet

Most Elegant Car 1937
Railton Saloon
Eldon & Esta Hostetler

Designer's Choice Award - David R. Hollis Memorial
1938 Bugatti 57 C Aravis Drophead Coupe Off Brothers Collection
Bill Johnston & Ron Elenbaas