The inaugural Pinehurst Concours d’Elegance was held May 3-5, 2013 at the Pinehurst Resort and Golf Club in North Carolina, the birthplace of golf in the United States. The famous fairways played host to a field of 118 classic automobiles displayed on the first holes of courses #3 and #5, with the historic portion of the clubhouse providing a stately backdrop.
The more than 5,000 spectators who braved some unseasonably cool weather found themselves rewarded with a show that clearly had careful planning and impressive attention to detail. It was obvious from the moment the show started that Chairman Bob Ingram, Executive Director Jay Howard and their team did their homework. It may have been the first time running of this event, but the atmosphere was one of a more mature Concours.
Neat touches like two white rocking chairs behind each car (replacing the folding chairs that entrants typically bring) and white overall-clad golf caddies to deliver good news to the class winners gave the Pinehurst event a sophisticated, Southern feel without being too over the top about it. Additionally, some of the cars were laid out on the fairways at an angle, a subtle but welcome change from the monotonous parallel displays normally found at Concours. The buzz among spectators and entrants alike was nearly tangible, and most expressed how their respective user experiences met or even exceeded expectations, all the while reporting they were excited for what the future will bring. With no visible hiccups to be found, patrons were simply able to enjoy the scenic setting and vintage automobiles on display.
“Today was about creating positive impressions, and we wanted the patrons to leave with two thoughts – I’m glad I attended and I want to share this experience next year with my family and friends,” said Pinehurst Concours Executive Director Jay Howard. “And I can’t say enough about the Pinehurst community and how welcoming they were.”
The 2013 Pinehurst Concours d’Elegance featured Porsche, Corvette and the Cars of Holman Moody. Director of Competition Brian Barr assembled an impressive selection of cars, with a wide and varied show field that offered something quite literally for everyone. From a 1928 Bentley 4 1/2 Litre Semi-Le Mans Tourer to a 1968 Owens/Corning Chevrolet Corvette L88 race car, many couldn’t help but comment on how the quality and breadth of entrants was unprecedented for a new event. By way of example, an ultra-rare 1965 Ferrari 275 GTB/C Le Mans Speciale greeted visitors entering via the secondary entrance, while the interesting racing cars of Holman Moody grabbed the attention of spectators at the main entrance. And these were just the entrances. Each made a powerful impression of what was to come.
The non-judged Holman Moody class was headlined by the Collier Collection’s 1967 Ford GT40 MkIIB (chassis 1031/1047), which was prepared for the 24 Hours of Le Mans by John Holman and Ralph Moody’s famous North Carolina-based racing team that operated as race contractors for many of Ford’s racing efforts. Twice a Le Mans participant, the GT40 won the 1967 Rheims 12 Hour race at the hands of Jo Schlesser and Guy Ligier. Other Holman Moody cars included the 1964 Ford Falcon AF/X Drag Car, Lee Holman’s 1963 Ford Galaxie and the 1969 Ford Talladega Torino of Ray Evernham.
The ex-Pedro Rodriguez 1955 Porsche 356 Speedster Super of George Kehler took top honors in the strong Porsche class that included a slantnose 1988 930 Cabriolet and a one-off, Strawberry Red 911 Carrera RS.
Best of Show at the 2013 Pinehurst Concours d’Elegance was awarded to the 1938 Steyr 220 Glaser Roadster owned by Peter Boyle of Oil City, Pennsylvania. This extravagant 2.3-liter 4-cylinder special roadster is thought to be one of two that wears coachwork by the Glaser Coachworks of Dresden. Boyle purchased the car two years ago, restored it and later won Second in Class at the 2012 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance before capturing the top prize at Pinehurst.
The event kicked-off on Friday, May 3rd with the Iron Mike Rally, a 60-mile tour through the golf country of Pinehurst, the horse farms of nearby Southern Pines and then the wide-open roads of the massive Fort Bragg, home of the United States Army Airborne and Special Operations Forces and one of the largest military complexes in the world. After passing Fort Bragg’s “Iron Mike” statue, dedicated to paratroopers from throughout US military history, the rally ended at the inspiring Parade Field that has hosted celebrations and ceremonies since World War I, including those involving the President of the United States and foreign heads of state.
Once the vehicles were parked, the Parade Field was open to military members and their families, who could meet with the Concours vehicle owners and drivers. At the same time, the Concours participants were able to get up close and personal with the myriad of military displays and machinery. While the soldiers and their families no doubt enjoyed seeing the cars, it was also clear the car owners felt they benefited the most from the heart-felt start to the Pinehurst Concours. A “Soldier’s Choice” award, given to the car with the most votes from the military guests, went to the 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing of Barbara Schlitz.
Saturday’s activities included the Pinehurst Fairway Drive, where a field of Porsches and Corvettes fought for the attention of the crowd, while later in the day RKM Collector Car Auctions held their debut sale at the historic Pinehurst Fair Barn.
Pinehurst has hosted more single golf championships than any other site in America, including the U.S. Open, PGA Championship, Ryder Cup Matches, PGA Tour Championship and many others. The seminal Donald Ross-designed #2 Course will serve as the site for both the U.S. Open and U.S. Women’s Open Championships in back-to-back weeks in 2014. Golf is in the blood here and it’s apparent that cars will be as well.
“The Pinehurst Concours did an amazing job marrying the event with the history and tradition of the resort, from the white rockers to the names of the awards to just the overall atmosphere,” said Tom Pashley, executive vice president of Pinehurst Resort. “We can’t wait to see what year two is going to hold. With the weather and all the challenges we had this year the competition exceeded everybody’s expectations. There is so much enthusiasm for the future. We’re all in.”
The Pinehurst Concours d’Elegance, which will be held again the first week of May in 2014 and 2015, drew a field of cars from over 20 states and as far away as Mexico. The first-ever event was a strong success and we look forward to celebrating cars in the Sandhills region of North Carolina for years to come.
Perhaps it was famed Porsche collector Magnus Walker who summed it up best. On Pinehurst, the “Urban Outlaw”, who came all the way from Los Angeles for the show, said, “It was an awesome event. The people were great here and the cars were great. This was spectacular…and I look forward to coming back next year.”
More praise came from Ed Gilbertson, Chief Judge Emeritus of the Pebble Beach Concours and part of the Pinehurst judging team. “This was the greatest inaugural Concours I’ve ever attended. I can’t wait to come back,” said Gilbertson.
Photographer Michael DiPleco documented the 2013 Pinehurst Concours d’Elegance, offering up an excellent selection of images from the debut event. We split up the 260 pictures Michael captured at Pinehurst into two galleries. The first gallery features our top 40 images, all displayed in the full-width view of our website, while the second gallery and event results can be found on the last page of the article and gives a comprehensive view of all the photographs.