Last Sunday marked the end of the weeklong Motor Show in Newport, Rhode Island. Audrain’s Car Museum, and the Concours team put on a massive series of spectacular events, highlighted by a special concert by musician John Legend, gala dinners at Doris Duke’s Rough Point, and the final day Coucours on the lawn at the Vanderbilt “cottage” The Breakers.
If you are unfamiliar with the location, Newport is home to some of the most impressive “Gilded Age” mansions in the US, if not the world. The best of the group is said to be The Breakers, which has a massive lawn leading to the ocean. On Sunday, that lawn was lined with classic, antique and specialty vehicles from the likes of Bugatti to BMW.
This was the first time Audrain’s put on the weeklong event, and I believe the first time since 2012 that any Concours was held in the area. “Our expectations for this debut event were high, but the reception exceeded them in almost every way”, said Concours Chairman Donald Osborne. “The cars, the people, the stories and the setting all came together to become the living expression of the event’s theme, ‘History, Luxury, Sport’- the essence of Newport. We are thrilled with the outcome.”
With 40 prominent judges from four countries and 98 cars from across the USA, the inaugural Concours featured 13 classes of vehicles from 1899 to 1970 plus the first of its kind ‘30 Under 30’ class. The brainchild of Jay Leno, Chairman of the Audrain’s Newport Concours & Motor Week, the 30 Under 30 class featured car owners under thirty years old who have spent less than $30,000 on their car. Carter Kramer’s 1976 BMW 2002 took home 1st in Class
On to the rest of the winners: In the top spot, winning both the “Best in Show” and “Most Elegant” awards was Joseph & Margie Cassini’s 1927 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A S Fleetwood. Shown at the 1926 New York Auto Salon, the Tipo 8A S Roadster was commissioned by film star, Rudolph Valentino, and adds the Audrain’s Best of Show trophy to its extensive collection which includes two Best of Class trophies from the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
Other class winners included a 1923 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost owned by Rick Brown carrying a body built for Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt II, a rare 1931 Ballot RH3 sports car owned by Michael Howe, a charismatic 1968 Oldsmobile 442 convertible owned by Robert Fisette and James Utaski’s spectacular 1964 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso, which also won the coveted ‘Excellence in Design’ trophy, chosen and presented by Michael Simcoe, VP of Global Design GM.
Among the other special awards given were the ‘Chairman’s Choice’ prize to Stephen and Kim Bruno’s 1952 Ferrari 212 Inter Pinin Farina cabriolet, an elegant Paris Show car and Nürburgring racer, The ‘Sporting Choice’ award given to the dramatic 1939 Type 57 Aravis Roadster of Peter and Merle Mullin and the ‘Founder’s Choice’ trophy won by Rob Kauffman’s 1901 Panhard et Levassor Type B1, which was a participant in the 1902 Vanderbilt Cup race. The ‘People’s Choice’, chosen by the nearly 2,000 attendees, was a very original 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL ‘Gullwing’ owned by Robert and Renee Torre. A true time capsule, it captivated the enthusiastic crowd.
The next Audrain’s Newport Concours d’Elegance will be held on Sunday, October 4th as a part of the 2020 Concours & Motor Week running beginning October 1st.