The third annual Cobble Beach Concours was a show unequalled in Canada and surpassed by few anywhere on the continent. And it gets better every year.
The third annual Cobble Beach Concours d'Elegance, Canada's most prestigious classic car show, took place on September 13, 2015 at the bucolic Cobble Beach Golf Resort Community on the shores of Georgian Bay – a setting worthy of the spectacular cars that took part, such as this rare 1937 Bugatti Type 57C Coupe.
The Georgian Bay backdrop for Classics such as the 1931 Cadillac, 1932 Packard and 1932 Cadillac shown here, rivaled that of Pebble Beach.
Here's another look at that 1931 Cadillac, a model 370A V-12 Roadster. Cadillac built cars with the V-12engine from 1931 until 1937. Only 91 V-12 roadsters were built in 1931 and this is the 29th in that series – one of only 12 known to exist today. It features a body built by Fleetwood rather than by Fisher, which built most of the closed-Cadillac bodies.
Cadillac's Flying Lady was a common sight on the Concours field as several Cadillacs took part in the competition.
This 1915 Cadillac Type 51 V-8 was the oldest of the Cadillac brigade. In addition to being 100 years old, it also holds the distinction of being the first model built in America with a V-8 engine.
The oldest car in the competition was this 1903 Stanley Steamer, seen to be trailing a spray of steam as it drives off the award platform. There was one older vehicle at the Concours – an 1898 Locomobile, which was part of a Musem display, featuring cars from automotive museums in Canada and the U.S.
At the opposite end of the age spectrum, the newest car in the competition was this 2006 Ford GT – one of just over 2,000 such road-going cars built between 2004 and 2006 to honour the brand's Le Mans winning GT40s from 40 years earlier. This one took first-place honours in the Exotics class.
The Exotics class also included this Ford-powered De Tomaso Pantera. The mid-engined Pantera (Italian for Panther), designed by Ghia, was sold by Ford in the U.S. from 1971 to 1975, through its Lincoln-Mercury dealer network.
Winner of the European Sports Car (pre-1973) was this 1972 Ferrari Dino 246GT – the "baby Ferrari." Only 2,631 of the V-6-powered, mid-engined GTs, designed by Pininfarina, were built between 1969 and 1973.
Other prancing horses on the field included this 1994 Ferrari 512 TR – the penultimate Testarossa and the last flat-12-powered Ferrari road car. Behind it are a 1987 Lamborghini Countach 5000 QV and a De Tomaso Pantera.
Just as stunning, but from an earlier era, was this 1935 Auburn 851 S/C Boattail Speedster. Fewer than 100 of the supercharged Gordon Buehrig-designed '35-'36 models are known to survive today.
As at most major Concours in North America, Auburns, Cords and Duesenbergs had a class of their own. Behind the Auburn Boattail Speedster shown here are a 1930 Duesenberg Model SJ and a 1935 Auburn 851 S-C Phaeton.
Here's a better look at that Duesenberg – a 1930 Model SJ Convertible Victoria, with body by Rollston, which was once owned by orchestra leader Paul Whiteman – the "King of Jazz." Originally an un-supercharged model J, it is one of 36 Duesies upgraded to supercharged SJ specifications during the car's production period.
This other 1935 Auburn 851 S/C wears a Phaeton body-syle. It's an original supercharged model that was built at the company's secondary plant in Auburn, Indiana.
Among the more sporting of the early post-war American models was this1948 Chrysler Town and Country Convertible. One of just 3,309 built, it's Ash wood framing is part of the body structure – not an add-on. The veneer inserts are pure mahogany.
Another American convertible, this 1938 Graham 97 Supercharged Cabriolet, was judged the "Best of Show" at Cobble Beach. For good reason: it's one of just two such models built by the flamboyant French coach-builder, Jacques Saoutchik for the 1938 Paris motor show.
While Saoutchik was responsible for the sweeping body design and detail, the "Sharknose" front-end and grille was Graham's own design. While it won critical acclaim, the American public didn't appreciate the look on its production sedans, ultimately leading to the company's failure a few years later.
One of the advanced features of Saoutchik's design for the Graham Cabriolet was its parallel-opening doors – a concept that made it into production decades later on minivans.
While the judges opted for the Graham as their top choice, this 1929 Packard 645 Dual-Cowl Phaeton took the "People's Choice" award. Of just over 2000 Packard 645 models built, fewer than 100 were Dual-Cowl Sport Phaetons
Another crowd favourite, this1937 Bugatti Type 57C Coupe was awarded by the judges as the "Outstanding – Pre-War" vehicle. Designed by Jean Bugatti, son of company founder Ettore Bugatti, the art deco masterpiece is one of just 17 such coupes built between 1936 and 1940.
The Bugatti is as impressive inside as out, with its hand-crafted leater and wood finishings.
The "Outstanding – Post-War" award went to this big-finned, supercharged 1958 Studebaker Golden Hawk – the last of its lineage. But it wasn't the only Studebaker to gain attention.
This 1937 Studebaker Coupe Express impressed show-goers in the Vintage Pickup class. Arguably, it was the spiritual forerunner of Ford Rancheros and Chevrolet El Caminos to come.
Another distinctive pickup entry was this 1957 Fargo Sweptside with fin treatment similar to that of its passenger car siblings. Fargo Sweptsides were built and sold only in Canada and in 1957, only 25 were made.
Another pickup, which started life as a 1936 Ford, took top honours in the Traditional Hot Rod class. Nothing makes it more traditional than its flathead V-8 with three carburetors.
A hot rod of a different type, this McLaren M8E CanAm customer car drew people like flies when its engine was fired up for the judges. The car was raced by Vic Elford.
Not a racer itself, this high-winged, long-nosed Road Runner was put into production to make those features legal for NASCAR racing.
From the same era, this 1970 Ford Mustang Boss 429 took top honours in the Muscle Car class.
A muscle car in its own right this 1965 Sting Ray Coupe competed in one of two classes for Corvettes alone. The '65 models were the first available with disc brakes and big-block engines, like the 396 in this one.
This rare '53 model was the winner in the class for first-generation Corvettes. It is #280 of just 300 cars built in that first year.
Nothing exemplifies the '50s better than the 1959 Cadillac, which boasted the highest fins of any car.
The 59's fins were the ultimate evolution of those on the exclusive 1957 Eldorado Brougham shown here, which was part of a display only Museum class. Behind the Caddy is another Duesenberg Model J and in the background a 1928 McLaughlin-Buick.
This Canadian-made 1928 McLaughlin-Buick 28-496, dubbed the "Car of two Kings," was custom built for the 1927 cross-Canada tour of the Prince of Wales and the Duke of York, both of whom later succeeded to the British throne.
The McLaughlin-Buick wasn't the only Canadian car in the Concours. There were two classes specifically for cars that were "Canadian Engineered or Built." This 1958 Pontiac Parisienne exemplified such models of the post-war period.
The Parisienne's colourful interior and chrome-laden instrument panel were characteristic of the period.
As presenting sponsor of the 2015 Cobble Beach Concours d'Elegance, Cadillac had several of its V-Series cars on hand for people to test-drive and a lounge on the show field where this Ciel concept car and a 1953 Le Mans concept were on display.
Attendees entering or leaving the show field filed past this spectacular 1935 Bugatti Type 57 Aerolithe Elektron reproduction on display. The original Aerolithe, which was built specifically for the 1935 Paris Motor Show, has long-since disappeared. This recreation was constructed on another Type 57 chassis, here in Canada, by the Guild of Automotive Restorers, using the same unique materials.
The 2016 Cobble Beach Concours d'Elegance is scheduled for September 17 & 18, 2016.
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