Concours d'Elegance of America At The Inn At St. John's

Concours d^Elegance of America At The Inn At St. John^s July 2017
The 39th Annual Concours d'Elegance of America paid tribute to many special features, including Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost, Can Am Challenge Cup, Cobra, Murphy of Pasadena, Jet Age Juniors, along with an outstanding assortment of Classics and early Brass Cars.

Arturo and Deborah Keller were selected as this years 'Collectors of the Year.' They chose to highlight their collection by bringing a selection of Aerodynamic Coupes to this year's Concours d'Elegance of America. Five vehicles from their private collection were on display, marking the first time all five of these vehicle have been shown together in public.

The 'Enthusiast of the Year' was Ralph Gilles, Head of Design, FCA Global. To celebrate, he brought a selection of cars including his 2016 Dodge Viper ACR Extreme, several past FCA concept cars, and his Alfa Romeo 1900 SS Zagato. Gilles said, 'the vehicles I selected for the Concours d'Elegance of America prove that while function is important, form truly follows passion.'

Murphy of Pasadena
Murphy Inc. was based in Pasadena, California. Their initial reputation stems from their work with Packard Automobiles. The trademark design of the Murphy Company was their 'clear vision' pillar which were pillars designed to be as slim as possible to personify a sporty appearance for the vehicle.

The Walter M. Murphy Company built bodies for many automakers including Hispano-Suiza, Isotta-Fraschini, Lincoln, Locomobile, Marmon, Mercedes-Benz, Packard, Peerless, Pierce-Arrow, Essex, Doble, Bugatti, Bentley, Cadillac, Cord, Simplex, Rolls-Royce, and Ford. They even built over 120 bodies on the Duesenberg chassis, more than any other coachwork builder.

The Concours d'Elegance of America showcased the talents of Murphy by displaying nine vehicles wearing their coachwork, including six Duesenbergs, a V16 Cadillac, and two Packards. Although built for different manufacturers and customers, the commonality and various similarities were able to appreciate as they sat shoulder-to-shoulder on the snowfield.

The Concours d'Elegance of America stayed true to its name by showcasing many vehicles and designs that were birthed on American soil. One such featured class were the competition cars known as 'Gassers' which were built in the 1950s and 1960s, often on a shoe-string budget. These vehicles redefined creativity and ingenuity and earned their name by using common gasoline instead of racing fuel. These vehicles were distinguished by their solid front axle, raised front end, and often the relocation of weight as far back as possible. These vehicles helped establish the foundation of drag racing from stop light to stop light, and a quarter-mile at a time.

Jet-Age Juniors
Another uniquely American class was the Jet-Age U.S.-made compact cars built from 1960 through 1963. Many of these cars were built in response to the economic downturn of the late 1950s and the growing popularity in smaller European built cars such as the Volkswagen Beetle. Ford response was the Ford Falcon which resulted in over a half-million sold, a first-year record for any car. It featured a lightweight unitized construction, a 144 cubic-inch six-cylinder engine, and excellent fuel economy. Body style choices included a coupe, sedan, and wagon with prices starting at under $2,000.

Virgil Exner penned the 1960 Valiant for Chrysler, and give it swoopy fender lines, airy six-window greenhouse, and an attractive grille that had similarities to the one found on Mercedes. Chevrolet went off in another direction, with their rear-engine Corvair, in similar fashion to the Volkswagen Beetle. Ingenious engineering such as the aluminum 'flat six' and a fully independent suspension helped it make the cover of Time Magazine and earned Motor Trend Car of the Year honors.

Mercury stretched the Falcon, improved upon its styling and standard features, and called it the Comet. It quickly became the best-selling vehicle that Lincoln-Mercury had to offer. Dodge's new compact entry for 1961 was the Valiant-based Lancer. Previously, the Valiant had been retailed by Plymouth, Dodge and Chrysler dealers, but for 1961 it officially became a 'Plymouth'.

As the fight for compact car sales continued to escalate, General Motors introduced the Buick Special, Oldsmobile F-85 and Pontiac Tempest. The Tempest received Motor Trend's Car of the Year honors.

The judge's favorite at the concours was the 1962 Oldsmobile Jetfire Coupe. A performance version of the Olds F-85, the Jetfire was the first American car to feature an aluminum turbocharged V8 engine. It would be offered for two years only, 1962 and 1963. The Jetfire coupe was fitted with deluxe satin-finished exterior moldings, special wheel covers and a stylish convertible like roofline. The Jetfire interior was equally impressive, with all-vinyl front bucket seats and a center console with a special 'Turbo Charger' gauge. Just 3,765 Jetfire Sport Coupes were built in 1962.

Can-Am Challenge Cup
Sitting in close proximity to the Drag Racing 'Gassers' was the Can-Am class. Although different in appearance, their formulas were simple - both were products of extreme experimentation where winning was the primary goal. The Can-Am Challenge Cup Series spanned two countries and was created by the SCCA in 1966 in conjunction with the CASC. This Canadian-American racing series would last until 1974 and would see some of the most extreme racing cars ever created. With few rules, extremely powerful engines, lightweight race cars, and skilled drivers, this was arguably the greatest motor racing era ever with some of the most powerful race vehicles ever assembled.

The concours celebrated this exciting time of motor racing by displaying several vehicles from McLaren, Porsche-Audi, Chinook, Lola, and Shadow. The judges chose the Porsche 917/30 as their favorite. It is one of two 917/30's sued by Team Penske during the Can-Am Challenge series in 1973. Mark Donohue drove the car and captured the 1973 Can-Am Championship. It not only won races, it dominated. Mark also set a closed-circuit record of over 211 miles per hour at Talladega Raceway.

Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost
Rolls-Royce produced the Silver Ghost from 1907 through 1926. Originally named the '40/50 HP' the early examples were produced at the company's Manchester factory, before moving to Derby in 1908. Beginning in 1921, Rolls-Royce also built these elegant automobiles in America in Springfield, Massachusetts.

The Silver Ghost was introduced when horses were still the preferred mode of travel and automobiles were loud, smelly and unreliable. Henry Royce and C.S. Johnson of Rolls-Royce, Ltd. unveiled a one-of-a-kind, whisper quiet 40-50hp legend, the 'Silver Ghost.' Up to 1906, the most powerful engine Rolls-Royce had ever produced was a 30hp, six-cylinder giant - woefully underpowered considering its seating capacity; there was room to ferry the entire family to the countryside for a Sunday picnic. But the 40-50s, as they were known were different. With a body balanced high over a silky-smooth, transverse leaf spring and a drive-train powered by a huge but silent seven-liter, six-cylinder inline block, the Silver Ghost broke world endurance and mileage records.

The concours celebrated the Silver Ghosts many accomplishments and their elegance by displaying a vast selection of Ghosts from the early 1907s to 1926. Two Best in Class awards were given, one for Pre-1920 and another for Post-1920 examples. The earlier example went to a 1914 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost Torpedo Phaeton and the Post-1920 award went to a 1926 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost Pall Mall Tourer.

Best of Show
The Concours of America celebrates two 'Best of Show', one Foreign and one American. The judges selected the Stutz DV-32 Convertible Victoria owned by Joseph and Margie Cassini as their favorite 'American' car. The 'Foreign' Best of Show winner was the Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A owned by The Patterson Collection.

Astonishingly, both cars have a similar sporty profile and similar Convertible Victoria bodystyles. Both have long hoods, and a short/raked windshield.

Stutz DV-32
In the early 1930s, Stutz doubled the number of valves per cylinder in its engine resulting in a boost of horsepower by 40-percent from the base motor. It was known as the DV-32 for its 32 valves, and it was used to power vehicles that were adorned in an array of bodies.

The Cassini's Stutz features a radically raked and shortened folding windshield design, the longest Stutz hood (lengthened by more than 6-inches), and a set-back firewall. The coachwork is by LeBaron and much of the ownership history for this car is known. It was originally imported to Argentina for Stutz distributor Luis Angel Firpo. In 1974 it was sold to a collector in Florida who kept it for several years before selling it to a gentleman in Ohio. The present owners were able to acquire it in 2008 from the Bool's estate. They commissioned a full restoration returning it to its original glory.

The Cassinis have Best of Show at this event (and many others) on several occasions, their most recent was last year with their Packard 1108.

Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A
The Isotta Fraschini automobile bears the name of its founders, Cesare Isotta, and Vincenzo, Oreste and Antonio Fraschini. Before the Milanese friends and brothers founded Automobili Isotta, Fraschini & Company in 1900, they assembled Renaults.

They were among the early pioneers of the overhead camshaft engine, with an engine designed by Giustino Cattaneo. Isotta Fraschini introduced the Tipo 8, the first production automobile to be powered by a straight-eight engine, at the Paris Salon in 1919 and began delivering them to customers in 1920.

Debuting in 1924, the Tipo 8A replaced the Tipo 8 of 1920-23. The derivative 8A engine featured a larger 7.4-liter displacement and was significantly more powerful. Overall, the 8A set new benchmarks for automotive magnificence. Between 1924 and 1932, a total of 950 8A chassis were produced.

In 2016, the Patterson Collection was the featured 'Collector of the Year' and one of the car's they brought was their Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A (for display only; not judged). It won Best of Show at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in 2015 and when it rolled onto the Concours of America at St. Johns this year, it was clearly one of the most elegant 'Foreign' car on the show field.

Its 145-inch wheelbase Tipo 8A chassis was clothed by Swiss coacbhuilder Carrosserie Worblaufen. The result of Worblaufen's blending of Swiss elegance with Italian engineering was first displayed at the 1932 Geneva Auto Show. The car went on to win the Grand-Prix d'Honneur at Cannes in 1933.

It has a long hood and an ultra-low windshield, combined with a closed-quarter cabriolet top, large trunk and double spares at the rear. It has had just four owners since new. It was quietly kept in Switzerland and France prior to its 2014 arrival in the United States. A complete body-off restoration has since been carried out.

The Concours d'Elegance has its roots in 17th century France, when the aristocracy would parade their horse-drawn carriages through the parks of Paris. With the advent of the automobile, Concours d'Elegance events evolved into competitions between 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, the historic home of Matilda Dodge Wilson, widow of automotive pioneer John Dodge. In 2011 this world-class event moved to the beautiful grounds of the Inn at St. John's in Plymouth, Michigan.

With the support of the board of directors, collectors, volunteers and patrons the Concours has given back to the communities who have supported this event. Throughout the 39 years the Concours d'Elegance of America has been dedicated to philanthropic efforts contributing over $5M to; the restoration of Meadow Brook Hall, JDRF (Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) and many other charitable organization in our community.


1932 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300  
1937 Duesenberg Model J  
1938 Bentley 4.25-Liter  
1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K  
1939 Talbot-Lago T150 C SS  

1957 Alfa Romeo 1900 CSS  
1968 Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 Stradale  
1969 Alfa Romeo 1750 GT Veloce  
1989 Dodge Viper Concept  
1998 Chrysler Chronos Concept  
2000 Dodge Viper  
2000 Dodge Viper GTS-R Concept  
2004 Chrysler ME412 Concept  
2011 Porsche 911 GT2 RS  
2016 Dodge Viper ACR  

1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy  
1930 Cadillac Series 452A V16  
1930 Duesenberg Model J Murphy  
1931 Duesenberg Model J Murphy  
1932 Duesenberg Model J Murphy  
1932 Lincoln Model KB  
1932 Packard Model 905 Twin Six  

1960 Plymouth Valiant  
1961 Mercury Comet  
1962 Buick Special  
1962 Chevrolet Corvair Series  
1962 Dodge Lancer 770  
1962 Oldsmobile F-85  
1962 Studebaker Lark  
1963 Chevrolet Chevy II Series  
1963 Ford Falcon  
1963 Rambler American  

1911 Rolls-Royce 40/50 HP Silver Ghost  
1912 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost  
1913 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost  
1914 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost  
1915 Rolls-Royce 40/50 HP Silver Ghost  
1920 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost  
1921 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost  
1923 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost  
1925 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost  
1926 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost  

1966 Lola T70 MKII  
1967 Chinook MK5  
1967 Shelby Can-Am Cobra  
1969 Lola T163  
1969 Lola T70 MK IIIB  
1971 Lola T222  
1971 McLaren M8E  
1973 Porsche 917/30  
1974 Shadow DN4  

1964 Dodge 330 Lightweight Superstock  
1964 Ford Falcon A-XS  
1965 Dodge Coronet  
1965 Mercury Comet A/FX  
1965 Plymouth Barracuda  
1965 Plymouth Belvedere AWB  
1966 Chevrolet Chevelle Series  
1966 Ford Mustang  
1966 Pontiac GTO Altered Wheelbase  

1963 Shelby Cobra 289  
1964 Shelby Cobra 289  
1965 Shelby Cobra 289  
1965 Shelby Cobra 427  
1966 Shelby Cobra 427  
1967 Shelby Cobra 427  

1903 Ford Model A Two  
1907 Success Model B  
1910 Auburn Model X  
1910 Oakland Model 24  
1911 Oldsmobile Autocrat  
1912 EMF Model 30  

1917 Hudson Series J  
1918 Roamer Model C  
1919 Stanley Model 735A  

1916 Simplex Model 5  
1928 Graham-Paige Model 835  
1929 Auburn 8-90  
1929 DuPont Model G  
1929 Stutz Model M  
1931 Duesenberg Model J  
1934 Auburn 1250 Twelve  
1935 Amilcar Type G36 Pegasé  
1935 Auburn Model 851  

1928 Studebaker Commander  
1929 Buick Series 129  
1932 Chrysler Series CP  
1935 Buick Series 50  
1937 Chrysler Imperial Series C-14  
1937 DeSoto Series S-3  
1937 Hudson Custom Eight  
1937 Hudson Terraplane  
1938 Nash LaFayette  
1941 Graham-Paige Hollywood Custom  

1930 Lincoln Model L  
1932 Packard Model 904 DeLuxe Eight  
1934 Chrysler Imperial Airflow Series CV  
1936 Pierce Arrow Deluxe 8  
1938 Packard 1605 Super Eight  
1939 Cadillac Series 75  
1941 Cadillac Custom Limousine  

1930 Packard 734  
1930 Stutz SV16  
1931 Cadillac 355 Eight  
1931 Stutz Model DV-32  
1932 Chrysler Series CH  
1933 Chrysler CL Custom Imperial  
1933 Packard 1002 Standard Eight  
1934 Pierce Arrow Model 840A  
1935 Duesenberg Model SJ  
1937 Packard 1508 Twelve  
1938 Packard 1604 Super Eight  
1940 Packard Custom Super 8 180  

1924 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8  
1925 Renault Model 45  
1927 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A  
1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K  
1939 Delahaye Type 135 M  

1948 Tucker 48  
1954 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster  
1956 Plymouth Fury  
1956 Studebaker Golden Hawk  
1957 Cadillac Series 70 Eldorado Brougham  

1948 Buick Series 50 Super  
1953 Chrysler New Yorker  
1953 Studebaker Commander Prototype  
1954 Packard Caribbean Custom  
1955 Buick Super Series 50  
1957 Dodge Custom Royal  
1960 Buick Electra  
1960 Imperial Crown  
1960 Pontiac Bonneville  
1963 Cadillac Series 62  
1966 Ford Thunderbird  

1947 Bentley Mark VI  
1959 DKW Monza  
1959 Mercedes-Benz 220SE  
1960 Bentley S2 Continental  
1962 Ferrari 250 GTE  
1966 Jensen FF  
1971 Mercedes-Benz 600  
1971 Rolls-Royce Phantom VI  
1972 BMW 3.0 CS  
1972 Mercedes-Benz 280 Series  
1972 Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow  

1950 Healey Silverstone  
1952 Aston Martin DB2  
1953 Aston Martin DB2  
1953 Ferrari 250 Europa  
1956 Austin-Healey 100M BN2  
1957 Chevrolet Corvette C1  
1957 Jaguar XK-140  
1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL  
1957 Porsche 356 A  
1958 Chevrolet Corvette C1  
1959 Lancia Appia  

1961 Lotus Elite S1  
1963 Alfa Romeo 2600  
1964 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso  
1964 Studebaker Avanti  
1966 Jaguar XKE E-Type  
1968 Fiat Dino  
1969 Maserati Ghibli  

1927 Lincoln Model L  
1932 Lincoln Model KA  
1933 Lincoln Model KB  
1935 Lincoln Model K  
1937 Lincoln Model K  
1940 Lincoln Continental  
1948 Lincoln Mark I Continental  

1951 Lincoln Cosmopolitan  
1956 Continental Mark II  
1964 Lincoln Continental  
1972 Lincoln Continental  

1930 Cord L-29  
1932 Auburn 8-100A  
1935 Auburn Model 851  
1936 Cord 810  

1963 Dodge 330 Series  
1964 Pontiac Tempest  
1965 Chevrolet Chevelle Series  
1967 Ford Shelby Mustang GT 500  
1968 Dodge Charger  
1968 Plymouth Road Runner  
1969 AMC AMX  
1969 Chevrolet Camaro  
1969 Dodge Coronet Super Bee  
1969 Ford Mustang  
1970 Buick GSX  
1970 Chevrolet Chevelle Series  
1970 Oldsmobile 442  
1970 Pontiac GTO  
1973 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am  

1972 Nissan Skyline H/T 2000GT-R  
1982 DeLorean DMC-12  
1982 Rolls-Royce Camargue  
1983 Lamborghini Countach LP500S  
1985 Audi Quattro  
1986 Lotus Esprit  
1987 Ferrari 328 GTS  
1989 Porsche 911  
1991 Ferrari Testarossa  
1991 Nissan Skyline R32 GTR  

2005 Ford GT  
2008 Alfa Romeo 8C Competizione  
2009 Mercedes-Benz SLR Stirling Moss  
2016 Chevrolet Corvette Concept Z Z06  
2017 Aston Martin DB11 V8  
2017 Ford GT  

2014 Falcon F7  
2014 Ferrari LaFerrari  
2015 McLaren P1  
2015 Porsche 918 Spyder  
2017 Acura NSX  

1957 Cadillac Series 62  

1953 Chevrolet Corvette C1  
1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing  
1972 Ford Capri MK1  
1980 Lancia Beta Monte Carlo  

1957 BMW Isetta  
1976 Honda Civic Lady Prototype  

1926 Wills Sainte Claire T-6  
1929 Whippet Model 96A  
1932 REO 8-35 Royale  
1933 Graham-Paige Model 57A  
1940 Graham-Paige Model 107  

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