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Marin Sonoma Concours d’Elegance

by • May 23, 2012 • UncategorizedComments (0)4379

Heading to the Marin Civic Center this past weekend you might have felt you were stepping back in time, chrome and candy-colored paint glistened in the sun as car aficionados decked out in their finest Sunday best perused a selection of world-class automobiles, motorcycles and boats.

“These are some of the most exquisite automobiles in the world, rarely seen outside museums,” event chairman John Nirenstein said. “We’re very fortunate to have them here.”

More than 100 antique, classic and cutting-edge automobiles from around the world were on display May 20 at the Marin County Civic Center fairgrounds for the fourth annual Marin-Sonoma Concours d’Elegance.

The yearly event is a fundraiser for local nonprofits. This year’s proceeds went to Hospice by the Bay and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Marin and southern Sonoma counties. “This is about more than just cars,” Nirenstein said. “It’s about charity, it’s about community and it’s about hospitality.”

A garden party theme lent an extra touch of class to the car show. “We want this to be the Kentucky Derby of Marin,” Nirenstein said. There was a costume contest, with awards given for best hat, best-dressed couple and best period costume.

While the classic French coaches and Italian design class were the centerpiece of the event, 100 years of automotive heritage and innovation was represented, from a 1912 Fiat model 55 Town Car to a 2012 Lamborghini Aventador LP 700-4.

Also on display were three classes of vintage British motorcycles, World War II military vehicles from the collection of San Rafael’s Joe Garbarino Jr. and classic wooden boats that bobbed on the Civic Center lagoon.

Volunteer docents led small groups on walking tours highlighting some of the more unusual or noteworthy automobiles on display. “These are the type of cars ‘the great Gatsby’ would have driven, “Meneghin said of the fine French coaches from builders such as Delahaye, Rolls-Royce and Bentley. Meneghin made special note of a 1954 Corvette convertible, which he called “the quintessential American sports car.”

Awards were given out in 20 classes, including two best-of-show awards.

Novato resident Paul Zell’s 1952 Vincent Black Shadow, with its custom torpedo-shaped sidecar, won the award in the British motorcycle class.

Originally exhibited at the 1939 New York World’s Fair, a 1939 Delahaye-type 165 Cabriolet that was one of only six 12-cylinder Type 165s produced won the best in show Concours d’Elegance award. The car is owned by Peter and Merle Mullin of the Mullin Auto Museum in Oxnard, Calif.

A 1947 Cisitalia 202 Cabriolet, once owned by Eva Peron and her husband, Argentinian President Juan Peron, won the best in show Concours de Sport award. The Cisitalia is part of the Academy of Art automotive design collection in San Francisco.

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