I’m very lucky to live in San Diego for many reasons, and one of those reasons happens to be the annual La Jolla Concours D’Elegance. Last year I attended and loved the variety of cars and exposure to many different makes and models I’d never heard of before. Despite being the same venue and location as last year, this year had a ton of new cars (well, technically quite old – but cars not present last year, anyway) making it just as memorable and enjoyable as ever. There was also a ton of variety, but every car was nearly flawless in finish and the passion of the owners was downright contagious. The featured marque was Lincoln this year, and in total there were over 200 cars in the event itself.
I got to the event early this year which was great, as the judging started before the show opens to the public and I spent some time listening to a few cars get reviewed. It was amazing the level of detail the judges go into, including checking to make sure the turn signals work and I even heard one judge commenting on how a door hinge didn’t seem original on the suicide door of a car. The judges will inspect every inch of the car to look for any flaws, and the award ceremony begins in the early afternoon to reveal the top honors. No detail goes overlooked as the judges make sure the car is both functioning properly and true to its heritage.
I’m always drawn to the drivers cars that while they’re cleaned up and well restored, they still get driven on a regular basis and aren’t “show queens” either. The show had plenty of those, including this 1929 Riley Brooklands Special (above) owned by a fellow San Diegan. The front bumper was adorned with races it had been in, and the owner drove it home – no flat bed here. This car took home the “Spirit of Motoring” award given it’s nature as a drivers car first and foremost.
That being said, there are some cars you probably don’t want to risk driving on public roads very much, like this 1947 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith Convertible by Inskip in a very rich (pun intended) purple finish. The sweeping lines of the fender arches and the giant white walls really bring the design to life, as if the car is moving even when it’s parked. It was another one of my favorites, and took home the Phillip Wichard Memorial Trophy.
Best of Show was awarded to this 1939 Bugatti Type 57SC Aravis Cabriolet, which is quite stunning. Enthusiasts only familiar with the newer Bugattis can instantly recognize the lines, and those who know cars like this are equally drawn by the timeless design and beautiful color scheme of this car.
Likewise, this 1929 Ruxton Model C Roadster won the Chief Judge award and was another crowd favorite as well with it’s eye-popping paint job and unique headlight shape.
Another big winner was this 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Convertible Coupe which took home Most Outstanding Pre-War as well as best in its class. The red accents really popped, while the rest of h
And last but not least, Most Outstanding Post-War car went to this gorgeous 1959 Ferrari 250 LWB California Spyder. This car should look familiar to Ferris Bueller fans, although it is not the exact same model (the movie featured a 61 250 GT California Spyder Replica) but very similar…
Speaking of vintage Ferraris, there was a healthy showing of them this year. While the newer Ferraris are great and certainly outperform the old ones in nearly every aspect, there is something about the Ferraris of yesteryear that seem so much more special and enjoyable to me…I spent a lot of time in this area, but then again I’ve always been a sucker for a red head.
Another favorite, which there was no shortage of this year, is the Mercedes 190 SL. It’s a timeless design, and it’s no wonder that it has become such an iconic collectable.
My absolute favorite was a green one that had a unique (and I’m assuming, OEM) plaid interior, it looked absolutely awesome.
As mentioned earlier, Lincoln was the featured marque. Lincoln has always been known for making larger cars (and still are to this day, if you think about it), but in their prime Lincoln was also known for having some of the most well built cars, and was the first to offer a two year warranty on their cars which was the best in the industry. Most car enthusiasts know the 61-65 Continentals, but the brand has many other cars that are worth getting to know better including a rich history of town cars as well as some really elegant coupes like this Premiere above.
Another great Lincoln was this 1926 Lincoln LeBaron 4D Sedan which won it’s class and showed that Lincoln has a rich heritage of great designs and amazing town cars.
It truly was a special collection of cars, and an absolutely beautiful day to be outside and enjoy them. As I write this I’m a little sunburned and exhausted, but couldn’t be happier with how I spent my day. The great weather and abundant sunshine also helped all of the little details on each of these cars pop, and likewise made it impossible for any flaw or swirl mark to be missed by a judge. You couldn’t have asked for better conditions for a car show, and while Pebble Beach may be a bigger show, the weather and overall vibe of La Jolla is much more relaxing and enjoyable.
As you keep walking around the show, you keep finding more cool and cool stuff, each car with it’s own story to tell and owner that would be happy to tell it if you had the time. On top of that there were vendor booths, including a champagne tasting next to some new Aston Martins, and even an air show for spectators to enjoy. There is no doubt you could spend an entire day here and still wish you had more time to explore.
Last but not least, there were some newer cars there too…and it was great to get up close and personal with a few of them, like the Chiron above in one of the better color combinations I’ve seen it in.
It was also neat to see the new Phantom, which is a lot larger in person than it looks on the computer screen, and boasts an even nicer interior than the previous generation which is no small feat.
But the new cars were the side show, and even cars like an aircooled Porsche seemed like a “young gun” in a show that had likely a majority of cars dating well before WWII. Last year’s featured marque was Packard, and many Packard owners brought theirs back out like this stunning orange on silver 34 Packard below:
It was hard to name favorites, but of the 100+ photos I took at the event here are a few more of mine in no particular order. I wish I could tell you what each of them were (and most if not all of them had placards telling you), but many of them I’d still have to guess. How many can you name?
If you like what you see above, you can check out my full gallery (including high res downloads) by going to my Flickr album below…just be sure to tag and credit me (@nickscarblog on most social channels) if you reshare. A big thanks to the organizers of this great event, I’m already looking forward to next year.