TODAY! - Final Concours d’Elegance of America at St. Johns July 23-25, 2021 Before New Era Begins
By Steve Purdy
Senior Detroit Editor
First, let me remind you that the prestigious Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s is coming up this weekend, July 23-25, on the golf course at the Inn at St. John’s, Plymouth, Michigan - a show not to be missed by anyone who appreciates the history, culture, and particularly the aesthetics, of the automobile. www.concoursusa.org
Second, it’s important you know, this will be the last Concours of America to grace the verdant grounds at St. John’s, a former seminary converted into a hotel and convention center. The new owner of the show, the respected Hagerty company of Traverse City, Michigan, premier purveyor of collector car insurance, compiler of reams of data for the hobby/business, and probably the country’s most active promoter of the enjoyment of these cars, also owns the Amelia Island Concours and other national and regional events.
Hagerty just announced, beginning next year the venue for the Concours of America will be the Detroit Institute of Art, near downtown Detroit along Woodward Avenue. And they will move the show to September. Details are sketchy and I expect few are determined yet.
It will be a monumental task to reconfigure a classic Concours-style show from the traditional golf-course format to an urban one. The DIA acts as centerpiece for what Detroiters consider their “cultural center,” encompassing the library, art museum, a few other museums and the College for Creative Studies. If anyone can do it, we contend, the Hagerty folks can as they integrate all those cultural resources.
Back to this year’s Concours:
270 classic, collectible and historic cars, and a few other things vehicular, will be displayed along the three or four fairways closest to the Inn on a July Sunday that typically turns out to be sunny and hot. Don’t forget your sunscreen. This reporter has not missed one in close to 40 years and still, at each new show, I see vehicles and ephemera I’d never heard of or imagined.
On Friday and Saturday car people gather for tours, lectures, lesser shows, vendors, entertainment and profound socializing - a drive to Hell and back, the outside-the-box Concours d’Lemons for those cars that get little respect, rides-and-drives in high-end cars, an automotive fine art show, and other ticketed and free events. See their website for schedule.
The Sunday Concours will feature a couple dozen classes including: Sports cars; Jet Age Designs; Wedge-designed Cars; Muscle Cars of ’70 and ’71; Classic Motorcycles; Super Cars, 1980 to 1990; a Ferrari Monza class; and, special cars from the collections of three local enthusiasts with world-class credentials - Ken Lingenfelter, Larry Smith and Ted Stahl.
As with the other fine shows, each automobile will be accompanied by a “story board” describing its identity, history and provenance written by volunteer experts. The pass in review begins at 1 PM, you can hear them run and see them in action (though sedate action, we must admit) as the MC introduces class and special award winners.
The Inn at St. John’s is at Five Mile and Sheldon Roads in Plymouth, a western suburb of Detroit. Gates open to the public at 10 AM and you can hang around until 4:30 PM, if you like. Admission is $35 or $40 after July 21st - a bargain compared to other major Concours events. Kids under 12 free.
So, be there, or lose out on one of the best automobile experiences you’ll encounter.
© Steve Purdy, Shunpiker Productions