HAutos: 2011 Desert Classic Concours d’Elegance

Vintage automobile buffs, motorsports fans, and shopping car collectors all turned out in force last Sunday for the fourth annual Desert Classic Concours d’Elegance, staged at the Mountain Golf Course of the La Quinta Resort & Club, just east of Palm Springs, Calif. The ruggedly beautiful Santa Rosa Mountains served as an ideal backdrop for the concours, which highlighted the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500. The field of more than 150 cars competing in almost 20 different classes was also joined by 75 equally scintillating cars that were auctioned off by EG Auctions. In combination with food tents, live music, and promotional booths from sponsors such as Cadillac, Fiat and Tesla, the automotive treasures on display delighted senses of both sight and sound.

Best of Show went to the 1929 Auburn 8-120 Boattail Speedster owned by Aaron and Valerie Weiss of San Marino, Calif. (pictured above). In addition to taking first prize in its class, Pre-War American, 1926 – 1934, the car also claimed a Best in Show at last year’s Dana Point Concours d’Elegance.

The 1961 Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato owned by Peter Read of Pebble Beach, Calif. was certainly among the most rare and valuable cars on display, and justly earned recognition with the Motor Trend Classic Editor’s Choice Award. Currently celebrating its 50th anniversary, only 20 examples of the Zagato-bodied DB4 GT were ever produced, and the car is regarded by many enthusiasts to be one of the most timeless sports car designs ever penned.

The Most Significant Open Car award went to the 1953 Jaguar C-Type owned by Bill Pope of Scottsdale, Ariz.

Winner of the Post-War Coach Built class was the Petersen Automotive Museum’s 1953 Plymouth Explorer. One of several breathtaking showcars from the 50s that wrapped Italian styling house Ghia’s beautifully curved bodies onto American chassis, the Petersen’s Plymouth has made the rounds lately, with an appearance at last year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and a scheduled date on March 13 at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in Florida.

The Preservation Award went to the 1960 Maserati 3500 GT owned by Frank Mandarano of Palm Desert, Calif.

Though not awarded, the following cars round out my personal selection of notables:

This 1972 Fiat Dino Spyder owned by William Reinert of Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif. is a rare example of the undervalued classic that features a race-bred Ferrari engine and Pininfarina styling.

This 1967 Intermeccanica Italia Spyder offers the design of noted onetime Bertone stylist Franco Scaglione with the American muscle of a Ford 302 cubic inch V-8 engine.

Curiously competing in the Neo Classic class was this 2005 Porsche Carrera GT owned by David Knox of Edinia, Minn.  It is accompanied by a Lamborghini Murcielago.

Additional field shots:

Aston Martins

Vintage ‘Vettes

Porsche 356 models

European Sports Cars

And more…

EG Auctions offered this Porsche, which was formerly owned by San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds.

Attendees marvel at the auction lots lined up for the sale.

Best of Show photo by Craig Edwards.  All other photos by Mike Daly.