Sweet rides: Concours d'Elegance rolls out some automotive jewels

November 4, 2007 

  • Best of show: Robert and Susan Doyle, 1959 Corvette Best of show, domestic: Ken and Diana Gottlieb, 1963 Impala Best of show, Italian: Steve Cantera, 1973 Ferrari GTC4 Chairman's award: Barth and Gail Satuloff, 1955 Cadillac Eldorado People's choice: Barry Witbeck, 1962 Impala Children's choice: Joseph Scruggs, 1965 Mustang

From the auction of antique vehicles to the parade of muscle cars, automobile enthusiasts said they were pleased with the activities at the sixth Concours d'Elegance car show on Hilton Head Island on Saturday.

The Honey Horn event has become the third largest stop in the country for the Concours touring car show.

Bob Rada, a board member for the organization on Hilton Head, said the dry November weather in the Lowcountry makes it a prime location.

"In the six years we've been doing the event here, we haven't once been rained out," he said.

Bluffton resident William Bodon, who had his antique car on display, agreed the Lowcountry climate allows for pleasant cruising.

"I never put the top up on my convertible," he said.

Bodon, who owns a 1950 Willys Jeepster that underwent 22 months of professional restoration, said the Concours event is a way for local car lovers to show off the cars they don't drive around every day.

"During the week, these cars are just sitting in garages," he said. "We won't see this big a gathering again until the Bluffton Christmas parade."

Bodon, a member of the Carolina Dreamers Car Club, said the thrill of owning an antique car is the nostalgia they arouse.

"A high school friend owned one, so this car really re-captures my youth," he said of his Jeepster.

For other antique car aficionados, like David Hall of Clinton, N.C., antique cars are an extension of professional life -- and a way to keep history alive.

Hall, who teaches a funeral service class at a North Carolina technical school, had 1960s and 70s-era ambulances and hearses on display through the Professional Car Society.

Hall said his cars -- especially the combination hearse/ambulance complete with attachable lights and hidden sirens -- are of historical significance since undertakers ran the first ambulance services in the country. "They had the only cars long enough to lie down in," he said, noting that funeral home directors, with only limited first-aid training, ran ambulance services from the 1920s through the 1970s.

Other enthusiasts bought their pieces of history to the all-day Concours auction, where more than 100 cars, including a 1912 Peerless that sold for $650,000, were offered.

Lindsey Brown, a Concours organizer, said about 12,000 people are expected to attend events at the Concours by the time the four-day festival ends this afternoon. Board member Rada said proceeds from the event will support the Coastal Discovery Museum, the Hilton Head Island Boys & Girls Club and youth programs of the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra.

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