Category Archives: Pre-War Contemporary Photos

The 2014 Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s

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  • Best in Show – American – 1932 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Victoria.

The 2014 Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s Inn, located in Plymouth, Michigan, was held on Sunday, July 27th. The 36th annual running of the event marked the fourth year at its new home after moving from Meadow Brook Hall in Rochester Hills. More than 250 vehicles were on display on a part of the 27-hole golf course located at the Inn.

Highlights and special classes covered the evolution of the sports car, the visionary designs of Virgil Exner, Jet Age pick-ups from the fifties and sixties and the 50th anniversary of the Ford Mustang and Lamborghini. In addition, there was a full field of the traditional concours fare comprised of American and European brass, antique and classic cars.

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  • Best in Show – Foreign 1939 – Bugatti T57C Cabriolet.

The highlight of the event was the awarding of the best-in-show trophys, one to an American vehicle and the other to a foreign vehicle. The Best in Show – American was won by a 1932 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Victoria owned by William and Barbara Parfet of Hickory Corners, Michigan. Best in Show – Foreign went to a 1939 Bugatti T57C Cabriolet from the Patterson Collection of Louisville, Kentucky.

The 1932 Duesenberg wearing coachwork by Walter M. Murphy is believed to be one of the earliest Convertible Victoria bodys to be built on a Model J chassis. The 1939 Bugatti T57C when new was fitted with very distinctive coachwork by Voll & Ruhrbeck, a German coachbuilder. Two of its styling elements of interest are the unusual art moderne style grille and the peaked and razor-edged rear fenders. You can see more of the Bugatti on a video taken at last years St. James’s Concours.

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  • 1929 Duesenberg J - 1932 Chrysler CL Imperial - 1931 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750.

Other notable award winners above are: a 1929 Duesenberg Model J owned by Tony & Jonna Ficco of Wheat Ridge, Colorado, a 1932 Chrysler CL Imperial owned by Donald Bernstein of Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania, and a 1931 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 owned by Denis Bigioni of Pickering, Ohio. Look for more photos and information soon at the Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s. 

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Fine Classic Cars at the Louwman Museum in The Netherlands

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  • A 1932 Bugatti Type 50T Coach Profilee

Should you have plans to travel to Europe in the future, one destination to add to your itinerary is a visit to one of the most important automobile collections in the world – the Louwman Museum. The collection was started in 1934 by P.V. Louwman, who imported the Dodge and Toyota into Holland with a 1914 Dodge. His son Evert Louwman has added to the group and recently installed it in a new purpose-built building designed by American architect Michael Graves.

This post is the first of two covering only a very small portion of the exceptional classic cars in the museum with images by Pavel Novitski. The photo at the top of the post shows a 1932 Bugatti Type 50T Coach Profilee. The Type 50 was an updated version of the Type 46 with a supercharged 8-cylinder in-line – 2-valve d.o.h.c. engine that produced 225 h.p. at 4000 r.p.m. The coachwork design was executed by Ettore Bugatti’s talented son Jean when he was only 23 years old.

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  • 1934 Bugatti Type 57 - 1937 Talbot Lago T150 SS - Talbot-Lago T26 GS

On the left above is a 1934 Bugatti Type 57 Grand Raid Roadster with spectacular coachwork by Gangloff. This car was exibited at the 1934 Auto Salon in Paris and subsequently it was driven by Veyron and Wurmser in the Paris-Nice-Paris rally. Robert Benoist then went on to a win in the 1935 Chavigny Hill Climb with the car.

A 1937 Talbot Lago – T150 SS  Teardrop Coupe with coachwork by Figoni & Falaschi is shown above in the center. It is powered by a 160 hp 4.0-litre in-line aluminum six-cylinder engine with a rocker-arm actuated, two-valve hemi-head. One of the Teardrop Coupe’s finished third in the 1938 Le Mans race and this example was used by Rob Walker while practicing for the 1949 version of that event.

The Talbot-Lago T26-Grand Sport on the right above features exceptional coachwork by Saoutchik. It is one of only 36 that were produced and features a d.o.h.c. 4.5-liter engine that produces 190-h.p. and was capable of a 125 m.p.h. top speed. It is a touring version of the Grand Prix racing car, and it was first introduced in 1947 at the Paris Auto Salon.

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  • 1926 Mercedes-Benz K - 1935 Duesenberg SJ - 1936 Mercedes-Benz 500K 

On the left above is yet another car in the collection wearing coachwork by Saoutchik, this time on a 1926 Mercedes-Benz Type K chassis. It is powered by a supercharged 6.2-liter, 110 h.p. six-cylinder engine that produces 160 h.p. This exclusive creation has a cockpit trimmed with fine wooden moldings and features the use of silver for the window framework, the door handles and the inlay on the carved wood interior fittings.

One of the most attractive Duesenberg’s ever built, a 1935 Model SJ Phaeton with sweep-panel coachwork by Walker-LaGrande is shown above in the center. This car was purchased new by World War I flying ace Reginald Sinclair and features the renown 420 c.i. d.o.h.c. straight-8, equipped with a centrifugal supercharger that reportedly produced 320 h.p.

And finally in the right hand photo above is a 1936 Mercedes-Benz 500K Special Roadster. Twenty-five of  these lavish Special Roadsters with coachwork by Sindelfingen were produced. This model restablished the kompressor (supercharger) made famous by earlier models, on a five-liter rocker-arm actuated o.h.v. straight-eight that produces 160 h.p.

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  • A Frederick Gordon-Crosby painting from the automotive art collection

You can learn more about the museum that is pictured below, and the extensive collection of over two-hundred and fifty cars at the Louwman Museum. The automobles photos above are courtesy of Pavel Novitsky.

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A Guide to Enjoying Vintage Car Week on the Monterey Peninsula

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In a little less than a month, the Monterey Peninsula with be teeming with action as enthusiasts and their automobiles from around the globe will gather for the smorgasbord of vintage car events held there yearly. The map above courtesy of Monterey Car Week shows the location of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and the satellite events that have sprung up around it over the years. We have put together this report with our readers in mind so that you will know where to go and what to see for a pleasurable experience.

All serious old car enthusiasts need to attend the happening least once in their lifetime to experience what it is all about, and it’s not to late too think about going this year. We have put together a guide to the events that are sure to please. Plan on getting there by Monday and settle in, which will give you plenty of time on Tuesday to see the sights and find your way around the area.

Plan on spending everyday Wednesday through Sunday to see the most important events. And bring some warm clothes – light layers and a jacket, as if it is foggy it can be quite cool. Check with Monterey Car Week for a calendar.

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On Wednesday plan on taking in Automobilia Monterey in the ballroom of The Embassy Suites. It is billed as the largest automobilia show in America with forty-five top dealers from around the world. There you will find an amazing assortment of the best vintage posters, photographs, signs, original art, scale models, literature and books to be found anywhere.

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For Thursday plan on taking in The Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance. The area is known for its scenic beauty and roads that wind for miles through pine and cypress forests. The tour takes in parts of 17-Mile Drive, explores inland sights and the spectacular coastline. This year the Tour will once again take a lap around Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The tour usually wraps up for lunch in the center of Carmel-by-the-Sea where all of the cars are displayed in the middle of the town.

The cars that will be on display in the Concours d’Elegance on Sunday are not required to complete the tour, but if two vehicles tie in class at the competition, the vehicle that has completed the Tour gets the nod.

Plan on getting there very early and visit the start (seen above) between Collins Field where all the transporters park and the Gooding and Company Auction tents. Find out exactly where the tour is going (the Concours office is very helpful) and after the start, find scenic a place where you can watch the entrants pass by. 17-Mile Drive or Route one if the tour goes down the coast are spectacular vantage points.

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On Friday you should plan on attending, The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering. In time it has become a must see experience for motorsports enthusiasts and collectors. At the Quail, you will be treated to a wide assortment of sporting and racing  automobiles and motorcycles on the greens of the Quail Lodge & Golf Club. After you leave the event plan on taking a drive over the scenic Laureles Grade, which ends very near the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

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On both Friday and Saturday one of the cornerstone events to take in is the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. Over five-hundred racing cars attend from all over the world at this premier vintage racing event. A car is accepted to participate only after its authenticity, race provenance and period correctness has been determined. This year Maserati is the featured marque which should bring out many rare examples.

Practice and qualifying races are held on Thursday and Friday. The main race days are on both Saturday and Sunday with seven races run-off before the lunch break, and eight in the afternoon, each is about 20-minutes long. Get a pit pass which will allow you to full access to inspect the cars. You can find the full Rolex Monterey schedule here.

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Of course, the most important event for most is the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance held on Sunday. Plan on getting there before day-break to partake in what is called – The Dawn Patrol, were if a spot can be found you can watch as the entrants drive on to the field. General admission to the field opens at 10:30 and the awards presentation starts at 1:30 and continues until the Best of Show winner is announced later in the afternoon. You can find the schedule here.

Full details of all of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance events are here. Other facets of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance are: The Pebble Beach Auction by Gooding and Company, the Automotive Fine Arts Society (AFAS) Exhibition and the Pebble Beach RetroAuto.

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