The Arizona Concours d’Elegance, At Last
Report and photos by Rick Carey
The presentation of the inaugural Arizona Concours d’Elegance at The Arizona Biltmore is the ultimate chapter in the maturation of Arizona’s auction week. Its only surprise — because it was exceptionally successful and well-attended — is that it took this long for the Arizona car community to realize the opportunity and take advantage of it.
Arizona’s auction week started forty-plus years ago as a few local car guys, notably Tom Barrett and Russ Jackson, getting together with some similarly inclined friends to swap cars and money. Like the car collecting hobby, it grew slowly but steadily until its centerpiece, the Barrett-Jackson auction, became a destination event that kicked off and defined the hobby and the market.
Eventually others — Kruse, Mitch Silver and most notably RM — took advantage of the visibility and travel plans of collectors to add their own notes of interest and enthusiasm to the week. Barrett-Jackson itself grew from ‘The World’s Greatest Collector Car Auction’ into the ‘event’ that it is today. Russo and Steele spun out of Barrett-Jackson with its own fast-paced style.
Gooding & Company and most recently Bonhams brought their own contacts, expensive cars and bidders to the week, adding to the critical mass of collectors that make ‘Scottsdale’ — because that’s how everyone describes it, in deference to the location of the event that defined the week, Barrett-Jackson — a venue that anyone with an interest in old cars has to consider, if not attend.
Uniquely, ‘Scottsdale’ has been a gathering built around commerce. Other great and important collector car auctions have developed around events — Pebble Beach, Goodwood, Rétromobile, the Monaco GP Historique, for instance. Scottsdale, until 2014, was all about commerce, bereft of a show, tour or vintage racing event.
The local community finally got it, and pulled it together, this year with the Arizona Concours d’Elegance. And they did it right.
Set at the uber-luxurious Arizona Biltmore, the 2014 Arizona Concours d’Elegance drew largely from local collectors, giving spectators a chance to experience the breadth and depth of the Arizona car culture that is infrequently seen. Nearly 80 cars were on the finely manicured lawns of the Biltmore, ranging from Alan Travis’s 1905 Mitchell (which stood quietly ticking over at about 140 rpm – a figure calculated by counting the individual cycles of an overhead intake valve — most of the day) to the Pagani Huayra and McLaren MP4-12 on the display of McLaren Scottsdale.
The Concours Committee succeeded in generating a substantial crowd, displayed the cars to advantage and, despite a somewhat cramped setting, brought the class winners across the ramp efficiently and quickly. If there were hiccups — and in any event of this nature and scope there inevitably are — they were invisible. A concours of many years’ standing would have been proud to have their event proceed as smoothly as the inaugural Arizona Concours d’Elegance at The Arizona Biltmore.
Skeptics (and precise word smiths) are reluctant to employ the inherently incorrect term, ‘first annual’, but in the case of the Arizona Concours d’Elegance at The Arizona Biltmore it is appropriately and expectantly used. This was a first class event, pulled off professionally, with style and class in a first class venue that brings the Arizona auction week the quality concours that it has long needed and is a good and sufficient reason to arrive on Saturday, as well as to attract entries from collectors outside Arizona to subsequent Concours.
2014 Arizona Concours d’Elegance – Photo Gallery (click image for larger picture and description)
Arizona Concours d’Elegance 2014 – Class Winners
Best of Show – 1925 Hispano-Suiza H6B Cabriolet de Ville, Donald Nichols, Lompoc, CA
Antique — 1907 Panhard et Lavassor T-3, John Konwiser, Scottsdale, AZ
Full Classic American Open — 1934 Buick Convertible Coupe, Lee Gurvey, Scottsdale, AZ
Full Classic American Closed — 1934 Packard 1104 2/4 Coupe, Sharon Briskman, Scottsdale, AZ
Full Classic European — 1925 Hispano-Suiza H6B Cabriolet de Ville, Donald Nichols, Lompoc, CA
Pre-war Rolls-Royce and Bentley — 1936 Rolls-Royce Sedanca de Ville, Jeffrey McKee, Phoenix, AZ
100th Anniversary Maserati — 1937 Maserati 6 CM Grand Prix, Bill and Linda Pope, Paradise Valley, AZ
Pre-war European Sports and Racing — 1938 Jaguar SS 100 3.5-liter, Philippe Reyns, Chandler, AZ
Avant Garde — 1938 Steyr 220 Roadster, Peter Boyle, Oil City, PA
Post-war Racing — 1951 Schroeder/Stevens Indianapolis Racer, Gary Schroeder, Burbank, CA
Iconic Post-war American — 1952 Hudson Hornet, Jon Andersen, Murray, UT
Post-war Mercedes-Benz — 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster, Grant and Judy Beck, Scottsdale, AZ
Post-war European Sports Cars — 1964 Ferrari 250 GT/L ‘Lusso’, Tony Shooshani, Beverly Hills, CA
Exotic — 1971 Ferrari 246 GT Dino, Pietro DiLeonardo, Glendale, AZ
Post-war Preservation — 1967 Ferrari 330 GTC, Todd Reeg, Scottsdale, AZ
Arizona Concours d’Elegance 2014 – Special Award Winners
Most Elegant Pre-War — 1938 Steyr 220 Roadster, Peter Boyle, Oil City, PA
Most Elegant Post-War — 1955 Maserati A6G Frua Spider, Thomas Mittler Estate, Mishawaka, IN
Honorary Judges Award — 1930 Packard 745 Convertible Victoria, Steve Snyder, Orange, CA and 1928 Bentley 4.5-liter Le Mans, Bennett Dorrance, Scottsdale, AZ
Director’s Choice — 1907 Renault A1 35-45, Alan Travis, Phoenix, AZ
Frank Lloyd Wright Taliesin West Distinguished Design — 1936 Delahaye 135 Competition Cabriolet, Ken and Ann Smith, La Jolla, CA
Historic Vehicle Association — 1924 Hispano-Suiza Dual Cowl Sport Phaeton, William Ingler, Scottsdale, AZ
Make-A-Wish Kid’s Choice – 1939 Bugatti T57C Galabier, Bill and Linda Pope, Paradise Valley, AZ
[Source: Rick Carey]