Like the Tony Awards, the idea for the Greenwich Concours D’Elegance was first touted during lunch at Sardi’s. Greenwich residents Bruce and Genia Wennerstrom presided over the luncheon meeting of the Madison Avenue Sports Car Driving and Chowder Society – a group of enthusiasts that’s been meeting at Sardi’s since 1957. Although Bruce and Genia are now passed away, the Greenwich Concours continues as a family endeavor – commencing, with this year’s 20th anniversary event, in the capable hands of the younger generation of Wennerstroms.
Hosted in Greenwich, Connecticut, just 30 miles from midtown Manhattan, the Greenwich Concours D’Elegance is a three day event, beginning on Friday afternoon with a Grand Tour through Greenwich. The lawns of Roger Sherman Baldwin Park, a waterfront park on Greenwich Harbor with views of scenic Long Island Sound, provided a fitting backdrop for two separate Concours events on Saturday and Sunday, as well as featured displays of contemporary cars. Classic America’s Cup yachts and modern luxury yachts are also displayed next door at the Delamar Hotel and Marina as part of the event.
On Saturday, the crowds turned out to see a stunning display of American vehicles. The hot sun seemed most appropriate for Brock Yates’ 1971 Dodge Challenger, his mount for the ‘Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash’ – Brock’s infamous road race to protest the new 55mph National Speed Limit. A Cannonball Run legend.
Sunday’s Greenwich Concours International focused on European sports, touring, and competition cars. The highlights included the pretty 1946 Lancia Aprilia Barchetta of Chuck Schoendorf, and Phillip Toledano’s stable of Stratos, BMW M1, Lancia 037 and Delta S4. Special mention must go to the sight and sound of the 1961 Le Man-winning Ferrari 250 TRi/61 Spider pulling onto the lawn. Slower, but also oozing charisma, was the 1960 Fiat 600D Jolly which Arno McGraw showed alongside a Cinzano umbrella – ciao!
One of many notable Astons on display was the new DB11, being shown in public for the first time in North America. As it’s adept keeper Edward Gwyther of Aston Martin explained, “this car is the actual Geneva show car, and very much a hand-built prototype. It is still one of only a few pre-production cars in the world at the moment”.
Bonhams held their auction on Sunday at noon. Lots rivalled the hardware on the lawns, including a magnificent 1937 Mercedes 540K Sport Cabriolet A, the 1963 New York Auto Show Mini Cooper, and a one-owner barn find Shelby GT350. There was some spirited bidding – a drawn out battle for a 1959 Fiat Multipla was met with a rousing cheer from the audience. It just goes to prove that a passion for classic cars can be appreciated whether it is about a priceless rareity or a humble city runabout.
Brit Nick Grewal’s 1936 Brough Superior Drophead, one of only two surviving 8-cylinder cars, was this year’s Best in Show, the first time since 2003 that a British car has won the prestigious trophy. Hurrah!
Greenwich Concours D’Elegance The Roger Sherman Baldwin Park, Greenwich, Connecticut, USA 3-5 June, 2016