Grand classics, American-engined imports and even unrestored, as-found oldies coexist peacefully on the show field!
For the Seventh iteration of the St Michaels Concours d’Elegance, the event moved to larger grounds at Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Golf Resort, Spa and Marina in Cambridge, MD to house the ever-expanding show field. Featuring grand classic, sports and racing cars along with wooden boats and cars, the Concours added four-wheeled visual excitement to the already stunning venue. Shown, top, are Jeffrey Spence’s Buick Estate Wagon, Loren Hulber’s ‘48 Chrysler Town & Country and Sue & Sal Anicito’s ‘50 Chrysler Newport.

Into a post-WW ll country hungry for consumer goods, came Earl “Mad Man” Muntz. Early success selling TVs and radios, led him to try his hand at high-end cars. Beginning with a design from racecar designer Frank Kurtis, he stretched the car into a four-seater and fitted it with steel body panels and a Lincoln engine. His noble experiment was short-lived and Tina & William Sipko’s Muntz Jet, above, is one of probably less that 200 produced.

Against a nearly cloud-free-sky, Joan & Sonny Abagnale’s ‘32 Auburn Speedster gives us a feel for the classic era of automobile design. Its flawless black finish complemented by bright yellow highlights and trim harmonizes with the car’s exquisite lines. Once a car of distinction in early American automobile history, Auburn would suffer the fate of other such nameplates and fade away. Its mascot is a work of art.

Anglo-American hybrids are not uncommon. The linkage between American power and British chassis has been time honored; sometimes well executed and others not. In the successful category is Sydney Allard’s J2. These cars filled
the sharp end of the grid in the early days of U.S. sports car racing, powered by Ford multi-carb Flatheads, Chrysler Hemis and Cadillac and Oldsmobile OHV V8s. David Hans’ spectacular example, below, is Cadillac powered.

Charles Gillet tells the story of how Packard in 1934 would paint a car any color. They even ran ads claiming you could send them your wife’s scarf and they would match your car’s finish to it.  His ‘34 Packard Eight, above, bears tribute to that advertising campaign with its distinctive two-tone green paint. That alone would have made the car memorable, let alone its
meticulous restoration and show prep.

Virginia & Peter Blond’s ‘48 Lincoln Continental looks right in its element on the Fairway with Chesapeake Bay in the background. A “halo” car for Lincoln if not all of Ford at the time, the Continental featured a more stylish profile than other cars of the time. To power the car, Ford would stretch their flathead V8 into a V12, giving the car added panache.

I was intrigued that this Rolls-Royce body style was listed as a Playboy Roadster. Not sure exactly what that meant, but the car incorporates a couple of interesting things. First it is a Rolls assembled in Springfield, MA during the short time they built cars here. Secondly it has a Brewster-built body harkening back to the time when you bought a bare chassis and had it shipped to a coachbuilder for fitting of distinctive bodywork. And third the Robin’s Egg Blue on the wheels was repeated in the interior upholstery. Marion and James Caldwell topped that all off with an immaculate presentation.

In the French tradition, a Concours is a celebration of the art in everything, including cars, venues, fashion, painting, photography, sculpture, etc. Here a model in vintage attire complements the lines of the North Collection’s ‘36 SS-100 Jaguar. The car is finished in Aubergine (eggplant) with an alligator and leather interior trimmed in Rosewood. Every
piece was meticulously prepared. A photo study of this car to capture all its detail
would easily extend to a hundred frames or more!

Debbie & Bob Cornman’s ‘31 Franklin 151 Convertible transports us back in time. A separate trunk mounts on a bracket to the rear and a rumble seat is forward of that. A little lower on the body is a door to a compartment designed to hold golf clubs.

A debate rages in the classic car community between those who painstakingly restore their cars to a condition sometimes far better than new and those who follow the adage that it is original only once.  Ann & Paul Rose chose to leave their four-owner ‘23 Buick Sport Roadster as found with minimal preparation. The Roses have a sense of humor as shown by the use of Band-Aids to highlight part of their Buick’s original patina and a crack in the windshield!

PHOTOS & WORDS: M.M. “Mike” Matune, Jr.

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