The seventh annual edition of the Cobble Beach Concours is two months away. ConceptCarz and New Car Editor, Mark Moskowitz, present this review of the last year’s event.
The sixth edition of the Cobble Beach Concours celebrated 100 years of General Motors in Canada. Detroit’s GM Heritage Collection brought Harley Earl’s 1938 Buick Concept ‘Y Job’, the 1958 Motorama Firebird III and the 1999 Cadillac Evoq, designed under the auspices of Kip Wasenko, Saturday seminar speaker and Sunday Chief Class Judge. The GM connection is real. Event co-founder Rosemary McLeese’s family has been building Canadian transport since 1869. While their brother, a chemist, was busy inventing Canada Dry Ginger Ale, brothers Sam and George, Rosemary’s great grandfather, were partnering with William Durant to build the McLaughlin Buick. Later the pair participated in the formation of GM of Canada and served as its first President and Vice President.
The three-day event features lectures, Hagerty ride and drives, art and automobilia, a Saturday Cars & Coffee event and a 54-mile tour. More than half of the concours entrants took to the road and were enthusiastically greeted by onlookers lining the route. Concours Chairman Rob McLeese was ‘thrilled to find more than 100 spectator cars parked at the Grey Roots Museum, the tour’s first stop’.
Sunny skies and the sparkling surface of Georgian bay provided the backdrop for the concours’ largest ever field, 110 cars selected from over 300 applications. Judges noted variety, quality extending deep into classes and difficult decisions.
A rarely seen 2005 Maserati MC12 won the supercar class. It shared underpinnings with the Ferrari Enzo and was one of fifty built to satisfy homologation requirements. Chairman McLeese noted that during its Saturday appearance on the tour, it ‘most likely covered more miles than it had anytime in the last ten years’.
Legendary Motorcars brought several Cobras. Most important and classing winning was the 1963 factory racer that brought the marque its first championship. It was shown in the livery of its most famous driver, Dave MacDonald. Its Ford powerplant was topped by four 48IDA downdraft Webers – a magnificent hood up display.
The Longfield family picked up a class win with their yellow 1913 Mercer 35 J Raceabout. Son Michael was ebullient’ it’s arguably the most desirable brass car; we drove it at 65MPH and didn’t feel like we were moving’. The car had been purple for 66 years. Sourcing NOS sparkplugs wrapped in old brown paper and a five-year search for an original Mercer Motometer had been a small part of the restoration process.
Class Winner, People’s Choice and Outstanding Pre-War Car were all awarded to the massive 1942 Chrysler Windsor Town and Country ‘Barrelback’ Wagon of Vernon Smith. Vernon enjoyed opening its paired rear doors displaying tools, picnic basket, luggage and room to spare.
One fifth of the concours cars came from across the border. Eleven US states were represented. Notables included the 1958 Lancia Aurelia B24S Convertible of Robert Mirvin from California voted Outstanding Post War car by a panel of chief class judges.
Unique and Limited Production class winner was the one-off 1959 OSCA Model 18S Touring Coupe of Peter Boyle. Designed and built by Giovanni Michelotti, the show car had graced stages in Geneva, Paris and Turin. The Maserati brothers gifted the car to Michelotti, who repeatedly altered it. The coupe served as a test bed for multiple cars including the Lancia Fulvia and BMW CS and at one time wore a Pagoda roof that served as a model for subsequent Mercedes SL’s.
Rick Schad, Director of Audrain’s Newport Concours & Motorweek, displayed David de Muzio’s 1937 Bentley 4 ¼ Liter and netted the Chairman’s award. The open two-seater retains its original Carlton Carriage Company body, engine and transmission.
Best of Show was awarded to the Delahaye 135MS of Savannah’s Robert Jepson. The Figoni & Falschi styled coupe was featured in the 1938 Paris Salon. Its buyer enjoyed it for 3 months and then hid it behind windowless walls to protect it from Nazi invaders. It emerged 27 years later.
I spoke with Schad and Jepson. They expressed identical sentiments: The isolated resort promotes an intimacy among participants. Everyone is friendly, the hospitality is superb, the showfield is gorgeous and Cobble Beach should prepare itself for an invasion from south of the ‘International Boundary’ next September.