The coming of September usually marks the beginning of the end for the warm summer months and ushers in those chilly fall mornings. It does not however mean the end of classic motoring as one of the best events of the year falls routinely on the second week of the month, the annual Radnor Hunt […]
The coming of September usually marks the beginning of the end for the warm summer months and ushers in those chilly fall mornings. It does not however mean the end of classic motoring as one of the best events of the year falls routinely on the second week of the month, the annual Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance. Set against the elegant tiered lawns of the Radnor Hunt Club in Wayne, Pennsylvania the Radnor Hunt Concours celebrates its 21st year in existence, having been first organized by local classic car enthusiasts in 1997. Over the years the Concours has developed itself into one of the premier east coast automotive events and routinely attracts one of the best show fields in the country.
As far as concours venues are concerned it does not get much better than the Radnor Hunt Club. Set on 100 acres of rolling Chester County fields, the stables, pastures and club house are as picture perfect of a backdrop as you could ask for. With horses roaming in the background and the yearly display of equine driven carriages, it’s easy to be transported to a distant past. Make sure you do not get too distracted by the beautiful scenery however, as there is a massive amount of spectacular vehicles to see during this event!
Junior Judge, Jordan, inspecting the selection of Auburn automobiles with a discerning eye. The Radnor Hunt Concours continues to do an impressive job of fostering a love for all things classic car in a younger crowd. It’s very important to teach the younger generations of enthusiasts about the vital role of the older generations of classic cars so that they can truly understand the contribution these elegant vehicles of the past have endowed on their modern counterparts.
This year we displayed our 1991 Ferrari F40 in the Concours under the closed sports car category. While we didn’t take any best in show trophies home with us, we did score a second place in the junior judges category (behind the Type 55 Bugatti further down on this page) which is ok with us as those junior judges are guaranteed to be next generation car guys and girls one day!
The junior judges surveying our crowd pleasing Ferrari F40.
The senior judges had nothing but positive things to say about the F40 as they went over the car. It’s always a nice complement to hear from experienced judging staff that a car of ours is one of the best they have ever seen.
Along with the standard smattering of typical concours classes, the show this years included featured classes from Auburn, Cord and Duesenberg cars and in stark contrast, the Racing Cars of Roger Penske. The timeless shape of the boattail filled the view in front of the club house, numerous models, colors and engine specifications being represented, all with a timeless elegance. This particular 1937 Cord 812SC Phaeton was a crowd favorite with its particularly interesting coloring and striking “supercharged” badges gleaming proudly in the sun.
Representing the Duesenberg constitute of the A,C,D trio was this immaculately finished 1931 Duesenberg J Derham Tourster. A staple of the Durham body company, the tourster took a unique approach to the traditional phaeton and has remained as striking now as ever.
Speaking of Derham bodied cars, this particular 1930 Ford Model AA Pickup was once property of the Derham Body Company, located in Rosemont, Pennsylvania, only a stones throw away from both this concours as well as LBI Limited’s Philadelphia headquarters. This truck was a very interesting reminder of the long gone industrial and manufacturing nature of Philadelphia and the surrounding area. Originally opening their doors in 1887 to body horse drawn carriages they would go on to produce numerous elegant bodies for various vehicles before closing their doors shortly after World War II.
This 1988 Penske PC17 Indy car was one example of the handful of cars representing the class of Penske Race Cars present at this years Concours. This particular car was powered by a 2.65-litre turbocharged V8 and was part of a front row sweep of the 1988 Indianapolis 500.
On of our absolute favorite cars on the show field this year was a 1932 Bugatti Type 55 Roadster. Exquisitely restored and finished in striking colors, this car was a mechanical masterpiece and to have had the opportunity to hear its straight 8 supercharged engine fire up as it crossed the stage to collect its award was truly awesome.
Glancing over the engine bay, it becomes immediately clear that there has never been a car manufacturer that was better at the presentation of their mechanicals then Bugatti. Every little piece seems to fit and fall into place with the careful attention that only a true artisan could muster. Many people have built beautiful engines over time but no one has ever put together the whole package the way Ettore did. When the engine could be separated from the car and displayed next to it as a piece of mechanical artistry then you know the original creator was onto something when assembling the package.
Classy cars always need interesting mascots adorning their radiators and there were plenty in attendance this year.
This amazing 1923 Buick 23-6-54 Sports Roadster has managed to not only escape restoration but still retains its original side curtains! This may seem trivial but just ask anyone who has attempted to install these flimsy devices on a car how fast they wanted to throw them in the trash and you will begin to understand.
Radnor does an excellent job of having classes of interest to just about any car lover out there. This year they had a great selection of American classics and Muscle Cars ranging from GTO’s, Boss 302’s to Studebakers.
One of the most interesting entrants was this 1969 Plymouth Barracuda Coupe with the psychedelic “Mod Top” option. Only 937 cars were outfitted with this wild and wacky option in 1969 making it a rare sight! Love it or hate it, you would be hard pressed to find a more era appropriate factory option on a car!
Outside the actual show itself, the Motorsports Park area never fails to impress with a highly diversified selection of cars, conveniently divided up into their respective marques home country for easier viewing pleasure. Here is some of the more interesting highlights from the Italian section:
Green over tan Ferrari 550, stunning colors on a stunning car. This color combo really does look good on just about any vehicle.
A rare and quirky Iso Rivolta “lele”. This odd, bertone styled, 2+2 was powered by a chevy V8 and filled the gap between the Grifo and the Fidia.
There are so many Alfa’s out there in red so it is always refreshing to see a GTV in an odd and wonderfully 70’s color like this.
The motorcycle field at Radnor may actually be the most impressive part of the annual show. Attendees are regularly treated to getting up close and personal with some of the rarest two wheeled machinery in the world. This years bike classes included Century Cycles, Inter-War Elegance and Post-War European Sporting Motorcycles. With 38 bikes on display this year, the day could easily have been spent solely looking over the rarified motorcycles perched elegantly on the tiered lawns. BMW motorcycles had a huge presence at the show this year with some motorcycles that many people may be lucky to ever seen in their life times. Representing the Interwar elegance period was not one but two 1929 BMW R57s, one with a comprehensive restoration and the other completely and utterly original with age old dust still caked over deep black paint. While it was fantastic to see both bikes together, they say they can only be original once and not only are prewar BMW motorcycles some of the most iconic prewar motorcycles, they also happen to wear patina better then any other motorcycle out there.
Seeing these two bikes next to each other was a rare treat. The 1946 HRD Vincent in front is one of just 19 machines made that year and is in remarkable original condition. The bike behind it is a very interesting machine and probably somewhat of an acquired taste for most!
This 1951 Vincent Black Shadow Series C, affectionally known as “The Basement Bike”, was rescued from the basement of a hoarder approximately 3 years ago. The bike had been sitting for close to 40 years covered by piles of random things accumulated throughout life. Due to its rarity and extreme popularity, this bike will most likely undergo a costly restoration at some point in its life but for now, it stands as a fascinating look at the toll time can take on a once proud and beautiful piece of metal machinery. We personally love this kind of display and commend the owner for showing the bike in as-found condition. We do not approve of the poor treatment of machines to this point but once the damage is done already, we think it important that people see the natural degradation that can happen to the vehicles they love some much, in order to help them appreciate them even further.
Best in show for the motorcycle category went to a truly interesting machine that many on the lawn probably had never laid eyes on before. This 1970 Munch 4 1200TTS utilizes a 1177cc four-cylinder NSU OHV engine from an automobile and at weighs in at a portly 656 pounds. A combination of wild looks and a wild color made this a crowd favorite and an exquisitely done restoration was enough to win the judges over as well, sending this big bike home with some trophies.
Just like every year in the past, the 2017 Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance did not fail to produce some truly fine machinery. From Bugattis to BMWs there was a little bit of everything to satisfy all automotive passions. If you still have not made to this event we highly recommend that you place it on your calendar for next year. If you live to far out of town to make a day trip, consider staying the weekend. The Concours offers many more events to compliment the actual show, plus there is plenty of historic sightseeing in Philadelphia, not to mention your favorite Next Generation Car Guys that you could come and visit!
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