The New Number Three Concorso?

July 5, 2012 Comments (1)

In the past ten years, no portion of the motorsport experience has grown more rapidly than car shows. Across this country, no moderately attractive public spot of grass or asphalt is spared the indignity of being invaded regularly by some species of motorized conveyance close to the hearts of the focused fanatics that harbor them.

Santa Fe Concorso at La Mesita Equestrian Ranch

Hot rods, classic car and truck, brass era, vintage racing, European and Italian or British—each have an avid following. We now know that no sector—no matter how inexpensive, poorly designed, or offensive to the eye, ear and nose—is inconsequential enough to be ignored. History will forget them; car nuts never do.

But Nature does have a plan. With time, each metal and plastic conglomeration will seek its own level. At the bottom will be the mostly pointless “Shows”, often an assembly of odd cars having nothing more in common than a shared area code. At the top will be mighty “Concours”. With their well honed organizations, paid staffs, classes, rules and judges.  They above all others, bestow recognition and value.

But Man, also has a plan. It is in our nature to ever deem one thing better than the rest. And, if there is the “best” concours, then there must be a second best, and so on.

Concours is the French word for contest and d’elegance speaks for itself. Huge sums are spent organizing good Concours d’Elegance gatherings and larger sums are spent trying to win them. The three such displays generally recognized as being the best in the world are, in alphabetical order, the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, and the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The Villa d’Este event makes the grade because of its beautiful  (and expensive) setting and the exclusivity of the offering. This year they hosted 52 exceptional cars. On a certain Saturday night in Monterey you can see that many interesting cars at a traffic light!

Until very recently, Pebble Beach was Number One. After this year’s Amelia Island event, at least one major publication thought Amelia was now at the top. Our view of both was written several years ago and hasn’t changed. Our question to you is—who is the next Number Three?

The Meadowbrook, a Detroit area event, until recently held down that spot with ease. But in the past several years they have changed. They have become The Concours d’Elegance of America and they have moved. According to the people I met on my recent trip through the Mid-West, they can no longer claim that honor.

If that is so, the field is wide open, because there never was an acknowledged Number Four.

In 2010 a group of well respected automotive people, several of whom had migrated from careers in the Detroit area, organized the first Santa Fe Concorso at La Mesita Equestrian Ranch. Now in their third year and located at The Club at Las Companos, they are poised to make a strong bid to be Number Three.

Simply by dint of their location, they will never be the equal of Monterey or Amelia in size. Then again, this event is hardly as expensive to fly to or find decent accommodation as these others have become. And the small city of Santa Fe and environs is easily a match for any other setting in the world. In its short lifetime the event has attracted vehicles from noteworthy collection and high profile members of the motorsports community. Sir Stirling Moss and Lady Susie and award winning restorer Paul Russell have attended previous events are expected to attend again this year. The organizers are crafting a gem that in the not too distant future people will draw considerably more visitors to this late summer event.  This year’s Concorso is being held on September 30th. Visit their site and begin planning your trip now.


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Comments (1)

  1. Saurbh:
    Oct 10, 2012 at 10:24 PM

    1907 Thomas Flyer Model 35 Images, Information and History .... 1907 Thomas Flyer Model 35 news, pictures, and inoomratifn . The 2008 Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance will be held March 7-9 on the 10th and 18th ..Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance 2011 - Class Winners and Photos. Mar 18, 2011 . Best of class winners and photo gallery from the Elegance classes or Concours d' Elegance at the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance 2011..

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