Story & Photos by Wolfgang (Sonny) Lott, Moto/ology Contributor
When I got up early Sunday morning (Sept. 18) it was raining. Pouring, actually!
“Well, this sucks” I thought to myself. Now, photography in the rain is wonderful (image-wise) but miserable (comfort-wise). Guess I tend to prioritize comfort.
I got ready (throwing rain gear and boots in the car) and started out (but not before briefly questioning my sanity).
From Wasaga Beach to Thornbury, the downpour continued. A little further on, it eased and stopped, but remained overcast (Yay! Softer light, dramatic skies). The day promised to be comfortably warm.
The 8th Annual 2022 Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance was on again after a 2 year COVID-induced absence. The 2019 Concours was the first to be sponsored by Porsche Canada and this would be the second.
The Concours is actually a Friday-to-Sunday weekend affair. On Friday a Participant’s Tour is held (from the Cobble Beach Resort to the Bruce Power facility and back). Participating cars receive a ribbon and a dusty under carriage will not be penalized on Sunday’s Concours. Also, if there’s a tie, the car participating in the tour gets the nod. It would be impressive seeing these wonderful cars drive through Owen Sound and county roads. Many of the locals make a point of watching the procession from the curbside and this is encouraged.
On Saturday, “Cars, Planes and Coffee” is held at the Wiarton Keppel International Airport. Only cars at least 25 years old may participate.
Upon entering the show, I saw a line of new and colourful Porsches on display near the show entrance, and took note of one of the first categories on display. This was Class 6 – Classic Porsche Pre-1983, the star was the 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder 1500. The model is famous for being one Porsche’s early race cars and its speed and agility made it an automotive legend. This car was fully restored over 5 years and has been in the owner’s family for 2 generations. It is thought to be the only street registered 550 in Canada. It is listed in the Porsche 550 Registry, has a Porsche COA and has a valid FIA historic technical passport. Owned by Kai Riebetz of Black Point, Nova Scotia, this 550 took the 1st in Class award and was also awarded The People’s Choice Award.
Meanwhile, in the River District of Owen Sound is the Hagerty-sponsored “Concours d’Lemons – the tongue-in-cheek parallel Concours celebrating the oddball, mundane and truly awful of the automotive world”. This is always fun.
As part of the concours weekend, two seminars are also given, both at the Roxy Theatre in Owen Sound. The first, “Porsche Exclusive Manufaktur: You Dream It, We Build It” was presented by Porsche Canada. This was followed by, “So You Think You Know Paint”, by John Ballard (who is very well known in the Corvette world).
On Sunday, Hagerty holds the Classic Car Ride and Drive. Porsche’s Driver Experience begins, and the 8th Annual Concours d’Elegance commences.
Artist tents were set up on the 18th Fairway as well (along with the cars) and featured renowned automotive artists such as Jay Koka, Gordon Walker, Don Kilby and Sacha Taylor.
There was lots to do over the full weekend! Sadly, I could only attend the Sunday, but what a day it was!
Proceeds from the concours go to benefit the Sunnybrook Hospital Foundation and the Owen Sound Regional Hospital Foundation.
Having arrived at the Resort I saw no evidence of rainfall. Some locals told me there was slight sprinkling in the early morning.
On entering the grounds, I quickly looked through the program to see what may be of particular interest…but everything was.
In Class 18 – Evolution of the Mid-Engine Corvette, I viewed the very pretty 1968 Chevrolet Astro II (owned by GM in Sterling Heights, MI.). This was a 43.7-inch-high prototype for a possible mid-engined Corvette. It has a welded steel backbone frame, a rear-mounted radiator, a Mark IV V8 engine driving the rear wheels and a 2-speed transaxle. The aft body section raises upwards, behind the passenger compartment (for access to the engine and storage area).
In Class 9 – American Production Post-War Pre 1974, there were 3 that fascinated me. An absolutely stunning green 1957 Cadillac Eldorado Brougham, in hardtop form with Medium Green interior, this car retailed for over $13,000 and reportedly, GM lost $10,000 for each car it sold. No options were available, it was the peak of automotive technology and development. It is owned by Vernon Smith of Swift Current, NL. This Brougham took 1st in Class, The Outstanding Post-War Award and the National Association of Automobile Clubs of Canada Hobbyist of the Year Award.
The 1949 Cadillac Series 75 Woody Limo “MGM Studios” is gorgeous…and massive. MGM Studios ordered six of these cars between 1947 and 1949, from a Beverly Hills, CA, dealer. Each car was then sent to the famous Bohman & Schwartz Company for customized and contoured wood panelling. It took 3rd in this Class.
In Class 5 – European Sports Car Pre-1975, there were two standouts for me. A gorgeous blue 1958 AC Aceca, owned by Brad Marsland of Waterloo, ON, was gorgeous. AC only constructed 151 examples and it is based on the open 2-seater AC Ace, but the obvious difference was the hatchback. The Ace of course is the car Carrol Shelby used, and transformed into, the Cobra. This Aceca won 3rd in its Class.
Other notable Ford products on display included a wonderful red 1956 Thunderbird complete with a “continental kit” and porthole hardtop. Also nearby was a wonderful early “slab-sided” AC Cobra.
The next Class I was drawn to was Class 14 – Vintage Race Cars Pre 1993. Two cars there fascinated me. First, the stunning 1966 Ford GT40 in Sydney Taylor racing livery (basically white with green stripe). The car is owned by William Halkiw of Toronto, ON. It was raced by Dennis Hulme and Ken Miles. The second car in this Class that drew me in was the 1984 Porsche 911SC Rothmans. This Rothmans series car raced in road rallies in Japan in the 1980s and 1990s. It competed in a European road rally three years ago and was recently imported to Canada. It is owned by Adrian Plante of London, ON, and was awarded 3rd in Class.
Back in the sportscar class, the stunning red 1960 Alfa Romeo Giulietta Sprint Speciale, owned by Wicker Francis of Malvern, PA, was the second standout. 1,366 were produced and it was designed by Scaglione and built by Bertone. It was the factory’s attempt at an aerodynamic shape and although not successful in European racing efforts it did have a unique 1.3 litre engine designed to extract performance. This car was awarded 1st in Class.
Also, in the American Production Post-War Pre 1974 class, the red 1961 Chrysler 300G Convertible was another standout. Owned by Elaine and Tony Lang of Hannover, ON., it is readily identifiable with its striking tail fins and canted headlights. Only 338 were produced in 1961. The Kiefhaefer racing team used 300’s in the NASCAR circuit successfully in 1955 and 1956 (making the 300 Series quite famous). With its 413 cubic inch V8 it produced 375hp and a 0 to 60 time of 8.4 seconds, while weighing in at 4,260 pounds. This car won the National Association of Automobile Clubs in Canada Rolling Sculpture Award.
In Class 11 – Rad Rides of the 80’s, there was a very nice 1981 DeLorean DMC-12 and a pretty 1985 Renault 5 Turbo 2 on display. The absolute star of this class however, was the Guards Red 1988 Porsche 911 Turbo Slantnose. It took away the 1st in Class award and is owned by William Halkiw of Toronto, ON. Fewer than 1,000 were made globally, with 160 coming to North America. This is a highly original example, including the paint, the Champagne leather interior and the drivetrain. It shows just over 45,000 miles and is supported by its Porsche COA (Certificate of Authenticity). The options list includes an electric sliding sunroof, limited slip differential and the 930S Slant Nose Package. In one of the photos I took of this 930, I stand at its rear and it appears to stare down at a group of arch rivals (Ferraris) in front of it.
Then, I noticed (in Class 13 – 75 Years of Ferrari) a gorgeous 1964 Ferrari 330 America in grey. The 330 is the successor to the 250GTE (the 250’s being the most beautiful Ferraris ever – well, my favourites, anyway). Only 50 330’s were ever built and all were sent to America. It has the 4-litre Tipo 209 V12 engine. It’s owned by Hugh Welsford of Burlington, ON. This 330 took away the 1st in Class award.
In Class 15 – Vintage Pickups Pre 1975, a couple caught my eye. The 1953 Mercury M100 (owned by Rob Douglas of Toronto, ON) was perfect. In dark green, it is equipped with a flat-head V8 engine and the first-year Merc-O-Matic transmission. It won 2nd in this Class. The second was the 1929 Ford CAA Brantford Grain Truck. It came from Ford of Canada with a ring and pinion differential, cable operated brakes, and wood spoke wheels. The cab and cargo body were supplied by Canada Carriage and Body Company in Brantford (hence the name). Very popular in its day, particularly in the Prairies (for use in the harvest of wheat crops). Hard use and eventual failure of the wood-framed cab make these trucks very rare. It took 2nd in this Class.
In Class 16 – Italian Motorcycles Pre 1990, I viewed some motorcycles that I just loved. In the 1970’s, I was pre-occupied with my Japanese motorcycles: a ’72 Kawasaki 750 H2 Triple and a ’77 Kawasaki KZ1000. I devoured all the publications of the day and loved the Italian designs (both old and new) and here they were on display.
First, there was the 1956 Moto Guzzi Falcone Sport in its red paint owned by James Francis of Malvern, PA. It took 3rd in Class.
Then, two bikes I lusted after in my youth. The first being, the 1978 MV Augusta 750 Sport America owned by Rick Fuhry of Pewaukee, WI. Red and grey with a race fairing. A very original example with only 592 miles, it has all its documentation from the original sale and all its service records. It sports a 789cc engine producing 75hp with a redline of 8,500rpm. It has 4 cylinders, dual overhead cams and heavily finned castings with a set of cam timing gears in the centre of the engine. This hand-built exotic retailed for $6,500 back in the day (The Honda CB750 was $2,190). It took 2nd in this Class.
The second object of my teen-aged-desire; the 1974 Ducati 750 Super Sport, also owned by Rick Fuhry. White with a green frame and a half-fairing. This Ducati was as close a replica to the Imola-200-winning-racer of 1972 that could be built and also be street legal. Only about 401 of these bikes were built. Many were raced and modified, but few are as original as this one. The 4-stroke, 90-degree twin, produces 70hp @ 9,000rpm. Nothing else looks like this Ducati, with its bevel drives to the overhead cams on each cylinder. Even more exotic than the MV Augusta nearby, this Super Sport took 1st in Class 16.
I noticed there were four impressive-looking boats displayed in Class 17, Classic Boats. Knowing little about boats, I still appreciated their wood construction beauty, particularly the two made by Port Carling Boat Works Ltd.: a 1934 17 ft. Seabird “Avesta II”, and a 1936 23 ft. cigar boat “Just Peachy”.
A 1955 27 ft. Shepherd Commuter 130 Runabout “Nomad” and a 1964 17.5 ft. Greavette Sunflash rounded out the marine display. All 4 wooden boats were looking rich, warm and elegant, there on the green overlooking the bay.
For a complete list of all the winners just navigate to: cobblebeachconcours.com
These are the highlights of the show, for me. The beauty of the Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance is that there are so many beautiful, wonderful and interesting vehicles to see…set in a picturesque location in the Golf Course Resort community just north of Owen Sound.
The 2023 Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance is scheduled for September 15, 16 & 17. Mark it in your calendar. See you there!