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The 2012 Keeneland Concours d’Elegance

by • July 22, 2012 • UncategorizedComments (0)3359

On the third weekend of July, the annual Keeneland Concours d’Elegance was held at the beautiful Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky. Hundreds of classic automobiles and thousands of people gathered over the weekend at the Keeneland Race Course for the annual Concours d’Elegance. The event showcased over several hundred rare and classic vehicles for the ninth annual car show besides celebrating the history, engineering and artistry of vehicles, the event was a fundraiser for Kentucky Children’s Hospital.

Automobiles, motorcycles and other unique types of vehicles will be judged for their historical accuracy, presentation and cleanliness.

This year Packard is the featured make for this year’s concours, an automobile that has always been synonymous with American flair, style, design and luxury.

David J. Smith has owned some spectacular classic cars over the years, but the one he drove to this years Concours outshined them all. An elegant 1935 Packard 1202 convertible sedan, once owned, by the late actor Andy Griffith.

“Andy bought the car in 1988 from Don Miller, the former president of Penske Racing South, and spent almost $600,000 having it completely restored,” Smith said. “The car is really something, absolutely better than new.” In 2004, Griffith donated the Packard to the Kruse Museum in Indiana, where Smith eventually bought it.

It has been said that Ohioan James Ward Packard bought a Winton automobile back about 1898. Finding it unsatisfactory, he wrote company owner Alexander Winton, suggesting some improvements. An annoyed Winton wrote back, telling Packard that if he thought he could build a better car, he should go ahead and do it.

Thus was born the Packard Car Co., which went on to produce some of the most stylish, powerful and luxurious cars ever built. Packard’s simple advertising slogan was, “Ask the Man Who Owns One.” Packard went out of production in 1958. But the cars remain a temptation that’s hard for collectors to resist.

In addition to the Concours vehicles, the Car Club Paddock has become an importaint element of our Concours as each club proudly displays their cars for spectators to enjoy. Last year’s Paddock boasted over 14 different car clubs.

Tom Jones, co-chairman of the Keeneland Concours, promises that this year’s show will offer plenty of pleasing cars. “I’m absolutely floored by the level of automobiles these guys keep putting together,” Jones said. “You’d have go to the biggest shows in the country, Pebble Beach or Amelia Island, to see world-class cars like these.”

Among the most powerful cars this year will be a McLaren MP4-12C and a Ferrari 599 GTO, the 599 GTO is their fastest road car ever built by Ferrari, able to lap the Fiorano test circuit in 1 minute 24 seconds, one second faster than the Enzo Ferrari. The Ferrari 599 GTO won its class. There also will be a 1930 Stutz Lancefield supercharged coupe, the only one ever built; a 1933 Packard Cabriolet; a one-off 1936 Delahaye; a 1932 Stutz Bearcat; and a 1946 Cisitalia GT, like the one displayed in New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

The most unusual local entry might be the 1932 Ford coupe in which Clay Miller of Nicholasville, along with his son and grandson, completed the 2011 World Race from New York to Paris.

Finally, there will be a display of microcars, tiny vehicles built to satisfy the need for cheap transportation after World War II. Some had three wheels, and many had less than 30 horsepower. Winning in the micro-car class for his 1958 Heinkel Kabine was Bjorn Golberg.

“They had a place in automotive history. When you look at how difficult it was to buy fuel in Europe in the late 50s…these cars get about 90 miles per gallon. So, they’re just really unusual. This one in particular because it was made by the Heinkel Aircraft Company, and you can see a lot of the aircraft technology in keeping the vehicle very light. It only weighs a little over 600 pounds,” said Golberg.

Winning best of show was a 1930 Stutz Lancefield Coupe, while the judges choice award went to a 1936 Delehaye.

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