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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Classy chassis and vintage gems shine at Concours d'Elegance of America

   One-Tank Trip for July 23-16

   (c) By Jim Fox

   Take a step back in time at the Concours d’Elegance of America.

   This is one of the most prestigious shows of the finest vintage and classic automobiles.

   The 38th annual event returns to the Inn at St. John’s in Plymouth, west of Detroit, on July 31.

The distinctive grill and front end of a 1936 Bentley Roadster (Jim Fox photo)

   It’s a “field of dreams” as owners show their finely restored, world-class vehicles including Auburns, Duesenbergs, Packards and Rolls Royces on the grounds.

   Concours headlines Autopalooza – a celebration of southeast Michigan’s automotive heritage with cruises, races and shows during the summer.

   “This is a paradise for car-lovers as visitors can truly experience the area’s rich automotive heritage in a variety of ways,” said Renee Monforton of the Detroit Metro Convention and Visitors Bureau.

   There’s also the Woodward Dream Cruise, Pure Michigan 400 NASCAR race and the Old Car Festival at Greenfield Village.

   Concours d’Elegance means a “competition of elegance,” and has its roots in the 17th century when the aristocracy paraded their horse-drawn carriages through the parks of Paris.
Watching the passing parade of vintage autos at Concours. (Jim Fox photo)

   With the advent of the automobile, Concours evolved into competitions by automobile manufacturers, custom coachbuilders and owners whose vehicles were judged on the beauty of their design.

   The Concours d’Elegance of America originated at Oakland University’s Meadow Brook Hall, home of Matilda Dodge Wilson, widow of automotive pioneer John Dodge.

   Five years ago, it moved to the Inn at St. John’s, a former seminary now a boutique hotel with 118 luxury guestrooms, fine dining, golf and a conference centre.

   A selection committee keeps with the tradition of “showcasing classic, rare and magnificent automobiles” and inviting a “unique” collection of vehicles to be displayed and critically judged.

The lineup of woodie wagons was a popular attraction at a previous Concours d’Elegance. (Jim Fox photo)

   Classy chassis

   Featured vehicles this year include pre-war classes of Gas Light, Jazz Age, the Duesenberg Model J and Auburn Cord.

   There’s American popular and classics, European classic, post-war classes, “muscle” cars and sports cars.

   Modern collectables to be shown include autos made from 1980 to 1990, the performance classes, “super” cars, racing through the ages: GT40, rally cars and drag cars: pro-stock 1968 to 1970.
Getting a closer look at a 1931 Cadillac Phaeton. (Barbara Fox photo)

   There’s an Insider’s look at Detroit: 1946-1975, the designers, the evolution of the fastback, Pierce Arrow, from the beginning, body by Dietrich, 110 years of Lancia, jet-age travel trucks and motorcycles, post 1946.

   The show is now an “esteemed lifestyle event,” with activities from July 29 to 31.

   This includes the Concours Invitational Art Exhibition featuring automotive artists and Mode du Concours fashions.

   Hours for the Sunday big show are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the inn is at 44045 Five Mile Rd., Plymouth, MI.
  A 1929 Packard hood ornament. (Barbara Fox photo)

   Tickets are $40 U.S. in advance; $45 at the gate, with VIP tickets $150 or two for $250. concoursusa.org; (248) 643-8645

   Zoom, zoom

   - Get your motor running to the Woodward Dream Cruise on Aug. 20, called the “world’s largest one-day celebration of classic car culture.”

   Some 40,000 muscle cars, street rods, custom, collector and special-interest vehicles will be cruising Woodward Avenue from Ferndale to Pontiac.
Geoff Burton of Chicago and writer Jim Fox check out the Woodward Dream Cruise cars. (Barbara Fox photo)

   The 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. event attracts more than one-million people along the 27-kilometre route through nine host communities. woodwarddreamcruise.com; (248) 626-0006   

   - The 2016 racing season concludes with the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pure Michigan 400 on Aug. 28 at the Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn.

   Activities take place from Aug. 26-28, with “an exciting finale, featuring many lead changes and exciting finishes.”

   Organizers say there’s “great camping, affordable adult prices, special kids prices, free parking and bring a bigger cooler with your favourite food and beverages.” mispeedway.com; 1-800-354-1010.

   - The streets and grounds of Greenfield Village at the Henry Ford museum in Dearborn will be filled with hundreds of vehicles from the 1890s through 1932 on Sept. 10 and 11.
  Riding through the streets of Greenfield Village in an old Ford. (Jim Fox photo)

   On the Old Car Festival weekend, visitors can wander through the village and talk to owners about their treasured vehicles and watch the passing parade of antiques.

   There’s the Saturday Gaslight Tour, with an orchestra performing dance tunes from the 1920s until 9 p.m. thehenryford.org; (313) 982-6001

   - Autopalooza events: www.autopalooza.org; Tourist information:  visitdetroit.com; 1-800-DETROIT


Jim Fox can be reached at onetanktrips@hotmail.com

For more One-Tank Trips: http://1tanktrips.blogspot.ca

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