Inaugural Arizona Concours d’Elegance Exceeds Expectations

Concours d’Elegance is a French expression that means competition of elegance, and is most often used in relation to automobiles. A concours is essentially a beauty pageant for rare and elegant cars.

There are several examples of these shows in America. The largest and most well-known is the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in Monterey, which has been held annually since 1950. A similar show has been held at Amelia Island in Florida since 1971.

Recently, a Concours d’Elegance show was held in Arizona for the very first time. On Sunday, January 12th, 2014, about 2,000 people gathered at the Arizona Biltmore Resort in Phoenix for this inaugural event. The resort, which opened in 1929, is known for its unique architecture and luxurious accommodations and has hosted every U.S. President since Herbert Hoover.

Not only was this the first Concours to be held in Arizona, it was also my first time at a show like this.

When I arrived at the Biltmore, I found 75 vehicles placed carefully around the resort’s immaculately kept grounds. With a high temperature of 69 degrees and clear skies, it was the perfect day for a car show.

So here’s how it works: the cars were organized into 14 different classes. A panel of judges walked around and inspected the cars, subtracting points for any imperfections or flaws. When it’s all over, the best car from each class gets a ribbon and then the judges announce the best of show.

I saw many rare and exotic automobiles including a very rare Toyota 2000GT, a Bugatti Type 57c Galibier, and I ran across the Hudson Italia for the second time. I also took the time to check out the Pagani Huayra supercar, which did not disappoint. The Best of Show award went to an outstanding 1925 Hispano-Suiza H6B Cabriolet de Ville owned by Donald Nichols of Lompoc, CA.

Besides the awards, the Arizona Concours d’Elegance also raised $24,000 for the Make A Wish Foundation, which I felt was an excellent cause. I had a wonderful time at the show and cannot wait for next year’s event!