Meadow Brook Concours d'Elegance

Meadow Brook Concours d^Elegance August 2008
The Meadow Brook Concours d'Elegance is one of the premier concours's in the world as a result of its ability to attract top judges and top collectors. The result is a show field that does not disappoint with some of the finest and best prepared motorcars in the world. It guarantees that each vehicle in each class will be thoroughly analyzed and expertly critiqued by the judges with the paragon of the group placed appropriately on a pedestal amongst its peers. At the end of the day when the Best of Show is announced, one can rest assured that the vehicle chosen is most deserving.

The 30th Annual Meadow Brook Concours d'Elegance showcased over 230 brilliant classic cars and motorcycles, plus 50 brand new vehicles including the newly introduced Saleen S5S Raptor Concept, Ferrari's, Maseratis, a Bugatti Veyron, and a freshly built Lamborghini Reventón. The Reventón had just arrived in the US only a few days prior to the event and is the 12th of 20 to be produced and certainly was one of the highlights and surprises of the concours. Another spectacular creation that was making a debut was the Alfa Romeo BAT 11 which borrowed many classic design cues of the original BAT cars. On the concours lawn the lists included significant Ferraris, 16-cylinder cars, 8-Liter Bentleys, a salute to General Motors' 100th Anniversary, and a dizzying array of histories finest.

This year saw attendance figures reach levels not seen in more than a decade, with over 12,000 visitors strolling the concours lawn. Equally impressive were the number of top collectors who brought their prized possessions to one of America's greatest castles, Meadow Brook Hall. Since the first Meadow Brook Concours, held in 1979, funds generated through the concours have reached nearly $6 million which have been used to preserve historic Meadow Brook Hall, an important part of Oakland County's rich heritage.

Class of 1933
1933 was a big year. It was the year construction began on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco Bay, Mount Rushmore National Memorial was dedicated and president Franklin Delano Roosevelt addresses the nation for the first time as President of the United States. Under his leadership, the New Deal was formed (in response to the Great Depression) which provided relief for unemployed, recovery of the economy, and reform of the economic and banking systems.

The Great Depression still had a strong grip on the economy - by this point in history, depositors had lost $140 billion in deposits - resulting in a decrease in production by most automakers in response to declining sales. Some marque's moved 'downmarket' to attract a new breed of clientele and rejuvenate sales, while others merely reduced prices, increased the number of options offered as standard equipment, and attempted a slew of other tactics to avoid receivership.

Even though the economy was in turmoil, it did inspire some of the greatest luxury automobiles of all times. Creativity and originality were brought to new levels, as survival of the fittest introduced new designs and build quality.

The Meadow Brook category 'Class of 1933' showcased many alluring examples from automakers such as Auburn, Packard, Pierce-Arrow, Franklin, Chrysler, and Nash. Most of the examples on display had convertible tops, side mounted tires, streamlined design, and either eight- or twelve-cylinder engines. Most were produced in limited figures, such as the Auburn Twelve-161 Sedan Phaeton which saw only 41 examples produced, all having a base price of $1,495. The Lycoming 12-cylinder engine was also unique for a car of this price range. Around 200 examples of the V-12 Franklins were produced before their career as an automaker came to an end, in 1934. The Nash marque would make it into the post-War era despite their minuscule production of 14,973 for 1933. Their persistence paid off, as production rose to 85,949 a few years later, in 1937.

In many respects, 1933 was a year of desperation and the catalyst for a new and modern era of design and ingenuity. The arrangement of 1933 vehicles at Meadow Brook was a fitting diorama for this pivotal point in history.

The 8-Liter Bentley
The 8-Litre was the largest and most luxurious Bentley car made prior to the purchase of the marque by Rolls-Royce. It used a massive 8-litre straight-6 engine and rode on a long 144 inch or longer 156-inch wheelbase, making it the largest car produced in the United Kingdom up to that time. The 8-Litre was as advanced as any existing Rolls-Royce, and was faster than any Rolls-Royce built before World War II. Just as the Great Depression was starting to affect Europe, Bentley unveiled the 8-Litre (its finest and most expensive model) at the 1930 London Auto Show.

Only 100 examples of the 8-Liter Bentley's were produced with many still in existence in modern times. Their low production numbers made the six examples on display at the Meadow Brook Concours even more special. The variety of bodystyles and coachwork gave much to examine and explore.

Performance
Several categories were reserved for the performance minded vehicles including Drag Cars, American muscle, and Sports Cars. There were several gems within each group, including the Shelby Mustang GT500KR with its 428 Cobra Jet engine, Plymouth Road Runner, and the Chevy Camaro L88 427 COPO ZL-1 (to name a few). Only 69 examples of the ZL-1 Camaro's were produced and each had a Corvette L88 427 with weight-saving cast-aluminum block. A short distance away on the show field was another L88 powered vehicle - the Corvette. To many, it is the ultimate production Corvette and just barely street-legal. Only 80 examples of the L88 Corvette were created.

Two-seater roadsters such as the aluminum bodied Jaguar XK120, a very rare Derby L8, and the sensual Nash-Healey PF were a few examples that made up the 'Sports Cars Thru 1955' category. The 'post 1956 Sports Cars' were mostly coupes with a varying array of designs, such as the curveacous Maserati A6G/54 2000 Zagato and Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing, to the wedged-shaped air-piercing designs of the Lamborghini Miura, Bizzarrini 5300, Maserati Ghibli, and the Lamborghini Countach.

The variety in each group told stories of different interpretations and attempts at achieving beauty and performance.

The General
It is hard to imagine but General Motors turns 100 this year. To honor their many contributions, several categories were reserved to display their legacy. The 'GM The Early Years' category included Buick, Cadillac, Oldsmobile, Scripps-Booth, and Chevrolet vehicles from the late 1900s to 1927. Perhaps the most impressive vehicle in the group was the Oldsmobile Limited. Only ten of the approximately 1,000 Olds Limiteds ever built are known to have survived. They were powered by a 707 cubic-inch, 6-cylinder, T-head engine and rode on tires that measured 42x5. They were so large that dual-step running boards were required. At a price of $5,000, they were as expensive as they were massive. The Scripps-Booth Company produced vehicles from 1912 through 1917 before becoming apart of the Chevrolet model. The Model C on display was one of the few remaining examples in existence. It is owned by James Scripps Booth's grandson and his wife.

Legendary designer Harley Earl was selected to lead the newly formed 'Art and Color' section for GM in 1927. This combination would catapult General Motors to design leader of the auto industry for the many years to come. Early examples of the 'Art and Color' department included the short-lived LaSalle brand, Oakland, Oldsmobile, Chevrolet and Buick.

The 'GM Streamliners' and 'GM Jet Age' categories showcased design styles that were common to the GM line-up at different points in history. The 'GM Streamliners' category focused on mid-1930s to late 1940 vehicles that were thoroughly modern and took advantage of aerodynamic principles to shape the vehicles into designs that would glide through the air. The 'GM Jet Age' of the 1950s percolated into flamboyant designs with tail fins and turbine shaped wheel covers. This era was inspired by the space program and futuristic spaceflight.

A very special category of 'GM Concepts' made a very rare appearance. The list included two Chevy Corvair Monza concepts, early design prototypes and concepts of the Chevy Corvette, the unrealistic needle-shaped Chevy Astro III, and a pair of head-turning Riviera Silver Arrow Concepts. Harley Earl retired in late 1958 and William (Bill) L. Mitchell assumed his duties. The sketches that followed were reflective of Mitchell's clean, tautly formed, and (at times) functional designs.

Best of Show
Meadow Brook awards three Best of Show. In the vehicle categories, one is awarded for imports and the other for domestic vehicles. The third award is bestowed on the most deserving motorcycle in attendance.

In the vehicle category, there were many suitable contenders, including last years Pebble Beach winner and this years Amelia Island Concours winner. The Amelia winner had also been shown at Pebble Beach in 2007, but it was not chosen as the winner. To be fair, it was an 'Exhibit Only' entry, as were 11 of the other 18 entries in its class. So the Meadow Brook Concours was an opportunity for the Pebble and Amelia winners to go head-to-head for top honors. So who won? Well, they both did. The Pebble Beach Concours winner (the Duesenberg Special SJ Mormon Meteor) was chosen by the people as their favorite. The judges chose the Amelia winner (the Bohman & Schwartz bodied Model J Duesenberg owned by Sam and Emily Mann) as their favorite and the 'Best of Show.'

Best of Show in the European category was awarded to an Isotta Fraschin Tipo 8A owned by Joseph and Margie Cassini, III. The car has a high performance 8A S chassis; American coachbuilders LeBaron and Fleetwood were tasked with designing and creating the roadster coachwork. Upon its completion, the car was exhibited at the Isotta Motors Showroom in New York.

Best of Show Motorcycle was awarded to the 1940 Indian 4 Cylinder owned by Berland Sullivan.

Conclusion
For three decades the Meadow Brook Hall has continued to grow and build upon its quest to exhibit automotive design, craftsmanship and history. From the classic and vintage motorcars to modern supers, from concept to production, the Annual Meadow Brook Concours d'Elegance was a very memorable event, proving once again that it is one of the premier concours's in the world.

Galleries
1931 Bentley 8-Liter  
1928 Packard 443 Eight  
1929 Cadillac 341B  
1929 Franklin Model 137  
1929 Packard 640 Custom Eight  
1931 Lincoln Model K  
1931 Stutz Model DV-32  
1932 Studebaker President  
1934 Packard 1104 Super Eight  
1934 Packard Twelve  
1935 Lincoln Model K  
1936 Ford Model 68  
1939 Chrysler Royal Windsor  
1939 Mercury Series 99A  
1946 Mercury Series 69M  
1947 Buick Roadmaster Series 70  
1949 Chrysler Town & Country  
1951 Hudson Hornet Series 7A  
1954 Packard Caribbean Custom  
1956 Lincoln Premiere  
1957 Dual Ghia Sports Car  
1957 Ford Thunderbird  
1958 Edsel Citation  
1958 Studebaker Golden Hawk  
1959 Ford Galaxie  
1937 Packard 120  
1938 Packard 1605 Super Eight  
1938 Packard 1608 Twelve  
1940 Packard Super 8 160  
1903 Cadillac Model A  
1904 Ford Model A/C  
1906 Pierce-Racine Model D  
1907 Ford Model S  
1910 Imperial Model 35  
1910 Mitchell Model S  
1911 Oldsmobile Autocrat  
1911 Pierce Arrow Model 36  
1912 Buick Model 43  
1912 Havers Six-44  
1927 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A  
1928 Isotta Fraschini 8A SS  
1930 Minerva AL  
1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom II  
1933 Rolls-Royce 20/25  
1933 Rolls-Royce Phantom II  
1935 Rolls-Royce Phantom II  
1936 Bentley 4½ Litre LeMans RC Series  
1938 Bentley 4.25-Liter  
1938 Delahaye Type 135  
1938 Peugeot 402 Darlmat Pourtout  
1939 Bugatti Type 57  
1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K  
1947 Talbot-Lago T-26  
1955 Mercedes-Benz 300 S  
1956 Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud  
1928 LaSalle Model 303  
1929 Oakland All-American Six  
1931 Oldsmobile Model F31  
1932 Buick Series 90  
1934 Chevrolet Master DA  
1934 LaSalle Series 350  
1959 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Racer  
1961 Chevrolet Corvette Mako Shark I XP-755  
1963 Buick Riviera Silver Arrow I  
1963 Chevrolet Corvair Monza GT Concept  
1963 Chevrolet Corvair Monza SS Concept  
1967 Chevrolet Corvair Astro I  
1968 Chevrolet Astro II  
1969 Chevrolet Astro III Concept  
1969 Chevrolet Corvette Manta Ray  
1971 Buick Riviera Silver Arrow III  
1953 Buick Series 70 Roadmaster  
1954 Oldsmobile Ninety-Eight Series  
1955 Cadillac Eldorado  
1957 Chevrolet Bel Air  
1957 Chevrolet Corvette C1  
1958 Chevrolet Bel Air Series  
1959 Cadillac Series 62  
1959 Pontiac Bonneville  
1961 Oldsmobile Starfire  
1963 Buick Riviera  
1963 Chevrolet Corvette  
1964 Pontiac Grand Prix  
1966 Oldsmobile Toronado  
1967 Cadillac Eldorado  
1968 Chevrolet Camaro Z28  
1968 Chevrolet Corvette C3  
1936 Cadillac Series 70  
1938 Cadillac Series 60  
1938 Oldsmobile Series L  
1939 Buick Century  
1940 Buick Limited Series 80  
1941 Cadillac Series 62  
1941 Chevrolet Special Deluxe  
1942 Buick Series 50  
1946 Cadillac Series 62  
1947 Pontiac Streamliner  
1908 Buick Model F  
1911 Oldsmobile Limited  
1916 Cadillac Type 53  
1916 Scripps-Booth Model C  
1925 Chevrolet Series K Superior  
1927 Cadillac 314A  
1948 Ferrari 166 MM  
1953 Ferrari 342 America Speciale  
1954 Ferrari 375 MM  
1955 Ferrari 375 America Speciale  
1957 Ferrari 410 Superamerica  
1958 Ferrari 250 GT  
1958 Ferrari 250 GT TdF  
1959 Ferrari 410 Superamerica  
1962 Ferrari 250 GTE  
1963 Ferrari 250 GT California  
1964 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso  
1965 Ferrari 275 GTB  
1965 Ferrari 500 Superfast  
1968 Ferrari 330  
1970 Ferrari Dino 246 GT  
1917 Locomobile Model 48  
1927 Duesenberg Model X  
1929 Duesenberg Model J  
1930 Cord L-29  
1931 Duesenberg Model J Murphy  
1932 Auburn 12-160  
1932 Duesenberg Model J Murphy  
1934 Duesenberg Model J  
1935 Duesenberg Model JN  
1935 Duesenberg Model SJ Special Mormon Meteor  
1936 Auburn 852  
1936 Cord 810  
1917 Pierce Arrow Model 48  
1918 Pierce Arrow Model 66 A-4  
1921 Daniels Speedster D-19  
1922 Duesenberg Model A  
1922 Marmon Model 34B  
1922 Roamer Roadster  
1922 Wills Sainte Claire A68  
1925 Packard 236  
1928 Packard Model 526 Six  
1921 Vauxhall 30/98E  
1927 Bugatti Type 39/35B  
1933 Derby L8  
1938 Jaguar SS 100  
1949 Jaguar XK120  
1950 Aston Martin DB2  
1951 Allard K2  
1951 Porsche 356  
1952 Lancia Aurelia  
1953 Nash Healey Pininfarina  
1956 Maserati A6G-54  
1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL  
1960 Jaguar MKIX  
1961 Maserati 3500 GT  
1961 Triumph Italia 2000  
1963 Austin-Healey 3000 MKII BJ7  
1963 Maserati 3500 GTi  
1966 Bizzarrini 5300 Spyder S.I Prototipo  
1966 Jaguar XKE E-Type  
1969 Lamborghini Miura P400  
1971 Maserati Ghibli  
1975 Lamborghini Countach LP400  
1949 Kurtis Kraft Sport  
1950 Allard J2  
1950 Emil Diedt Rochester Speical  
1952 Maverick Speedster  
1954 Hudson Italia  
1958 HK Special  
1933 Auburn 12-161  
1933 Auburn Model 12-165  
1933 Chrysler CL Custom Imperial  
1933 Franklin Model 17  
1933 Nash Ambassador Twin 8  
1933 Packard 1001 Standard Eight  
1933 Packard 1004 Super Eight  
1933 Pierce Arrow Model 836  
1930 Cadillac Series 452A V16  
1931 Cadillac 452A V-16  
1931 Marmon Model 16  
1931 Miller Championship Race Car  
1932 Marmon Sixteen  
1933 Cadillac 452C V16  
1933 Marmon Sixteen  
1934 Cadillac 452D V16  
1937 Cadillac Series 90 V16  
1940 Cadillac Series 90 Sixteen  
1961 Chevrolet Bel Air Series  
1963 Mercury Monterey  
1964 Pontiac Tempest  
1966 Chevrolet Impala Series  
1966 Ford Shelby Mustang GT350  
1966 Oldsmobile 442  
1968 Ford Shelby Mustang GT500 KR  
1969 Chevrolet Camaro  
1969 Dodge Coronet R/T  
1970 Chevrolet Nova Series  
1970 Plymouth Road Runner  
1971 Plymouth Barracuda  
1974 AMC Javelin  
1932 Helicron No. 1  
1989 Ferrari F1 640  
1997 Ferrari 310B F1  
2005 Maserati MC12  
2007 Bugatti 16/4 Veyron  
2008 Alfa Romeo BAT 11  
2008 Lamborghini Reventon  
2008 Saleen S5S Raptor Concept  
1909 Ford Model T  
1910 Ford Model T  
1911 Ford Model T  
1912 Ford Model T  
1913 Ford Model T  
1921 Ford Model T  
1926 Ford Model T  
1926 Ford Model T Racer  
1927 Ford Model T  
1961 Pontiac Hardtop-Series 25  
1963 Chevrolet Impala Z11  
1964 Ford Thunderbolt  
1965 Dodge Coronet  
1965 Mercury Comet A/FX  
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