Two cool Concours Bookend Arizona Auction Week in Scottsdale

It’s been a crazy ten years for classic car lovers in Arizona. For those scoring at home, the 2014 Arizona Concours kicked off with a grand display of Pebble-worthy classics on the lawn of the fabulous Biltmore Hotel. The first year was a solid success.

“I was delighted to see that the Arizona Concours had everything right: delicious cars, a beautiful setting, a smooth and efficient organization and of course, beautiful Arizona weather in January,” said Arizona Concours host Keith Martin, editor of Sports Car Market after hosting that first Arizona Concours.

It went on vigorously for three more years. Then, in 2017, after four hugely successful and critically acclaimed concours, disaster struck. A lack of corporate sponsorship ended the concours just months after its fourth edition in 2017.

“Arizona Concours Canceled Forever,” read our headline after the 2017 event.

But like Mark Twain, rumors of his death were grossly exaggerated and the Concours returned this year under new management and at a new venue, the Scottsdale Civic Center.

“I think it’s a special concours for a number of reasons,” said David Steele, judge in the pre-war sports car class and director of the American Hot Rod Association. “First would be the fact that the producers of this – Ed and Karen Winkler – are good people and serious car people. Ed was a hot rodder in the ’50s and has never stopped being a car guy. He’s got great taste and smart dude. He made the best decision to have John Carlson as the head judge of the event. Carlson is probably the most respected concours judge in North America, able to bring together excellent judges and teams of judges (myself excluded!). So this gives car owners great confidence that their car will not be dismantled and misjudged by amateurs. So you then get an excellent field of super serious cars. It all works together and you can’t have any of these things without others.”

The size of the field is also limited to no more than 100 curated cars (90 this year), ensuring a high quality field. This field is parked on the grounds of the newly renovated Scottsdale Civic Center, a perfect location considering the Concours had always served as the semi-official kick-off to Scottsdale’s Auction Week, an event that brought the elite of the collector car world to northern Arizona for the perfect season to be there. The Civic Center Plaza has undergone a major makeover in recent months, organizers noted.

“This is a fantastic event – it was great fun,” said Winston Goodfellow, automotive writer and Pebble Beach chief class judge. “This is the start of the entire Car Week/auction week, so to speak. It is a group of high-level cars in an intimate atmosphere. (You’re going to) want to come in because they’ll have even more space next year.”

Arizona Concours 2023

This “long and voluptuous” 1947 Talbot Lago T26 Record Cabriolet won Best of Show at the 2023 Arizona Concours d’Elegance, held last Sunday at the newly renovated Scottsdale Civic Center.

Arizona Concours

Ninety cars rolled onto this new venue, many of which would have been at home on the lawns of Pebble, Amelia Island or Villa d’Est. For proof, consider the winner, described by the Concours as “a long and voluptuous 1947 Talbot Lago T26 Record Cabriolet” that took top honors at the 2023 Arizona Concours d’Elegance.

“Owned by Dallas-based Ray and Bonnie Kinney, the Talbot Lago features an intricate custom body by Figoni et Falaschi that makes a joyful and opulent statement,” said the concours in its Best of Show announcement.

As with Pebble and other shows, each of the winners of the 12 judged concours classes was eligible for Best of Show honors, a field that included such diverse competitors as a 1958 Ferrari 250 Granturismo Ellena, a 1936 Lincoln K330 convertible roadster and a 1913 Bugatti T-22 Grand Prix comprised vying for the grand prize.

“The award-winning Talbot Lago has a colorful history and was formerly owned by film director George Sidney, who oversaw the production of films such as show boat, bye bye birdy, and Live Las Vegas‘ stated the concours. “It later came into the possession of Loren Tyron, former chairman of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

“The convertible was completely overhauled by RM Auto Restorations and then celebrated with concours wins at Pebble Beach, Amelia Island and other major events.

“The theme of this year’s Arizona Concours was The Art of Aerodynamics, which included cars from the early days of streamlined vehicles as well as the high-tech styles of today’s most extreme supercars.”

“Modern Exotics” were part of an ungraded 13th grade.

With the fifth successful Arizona Concours wrapped up, next week comes the tough part of the greater Scottsdale area business: selling thousands of cars, Elvis paintings and neon gas pumps at venues like Barrett-Jackson, Bonhams, RM Sotheby’s, MAG- auctions and the like.

Concours in the hills

The Concours in the Hills will take place on February 4th in Fountain Hills, Arizona.

Rob Mains Photography/Concours in the Hills

And if that’s still not enough for you, stay until February 4th for the ninth (and nearby) Concours in the Hills. This event is sponsored by Gila River Resorts and Casinos and benefits the Phoenix Children’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders and the Cardiothoracic Surgery Support Fund. It takes place at the fabulous Fountain Park in Fountain Hills, AZ.

“Concours in the Hills continues to grow every year,” organizers said. “The event is now taking over the entire park around the lake in Fountain Hills. Because of the spectacular venue, this event is considered ‘The Greatest Car Show on Grass’.”

The concours surrounds the scenic 34-acre lake with 1200 cars on display. It’s all free. “It’s the best kept secret in the valley,” says Goodfellow, who lives nearby.

It is supported by numerous Arizona auto clubs representing Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, McLaren, Corvette, Viper, Ford GT, Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Mustang, Jaguar, Cadillac, Lotus and others. It will also see motorcycles, military and civilian helicopters, and “delicious food and refreshments.”

They had us at “delicious food and refreshment”. See you there!

Growing up in a Ford family, Mark Vaughn spent many hours holding a malfunction light over a straight-six miraculously fed by a single-barrel carburetor while his father drove Ford, all of its products and everyone who ever worked there had, damn.


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