Concours d'Elegance celebrates Model T, collectors at 11th annual show

astice@islandpacket.comNovember 5, 2012 

In this file photo, Milli and Frank Ricciardelli of Monmouth Beach, N.J., are congratulated by judges and festivalgoers after receiving the best of show award for their 1939 Jaguar SS Coupe during the final day of a recent Hilton Head Island Concours d'Elegance & Motoring Festival.

SARAH WELLIVER/STAFF PHOTO

An award for fashion might not be the typical honor bestowed at a car show, but then again, the Concours d'Elegance is not a typical car show.

Dressed in Roaring '20s clothes to match their 1926 Ford Model T, Jim and Becky Aldrich of Raleigh won their car class and an award for their costumes on the last day of the 11th annual Hilton Head Island Concours d'Elegance & Motoring Festival.

For Ford Model T owners, this year's honored auto, the celebration of the iconic car won't end with the festival.

For the next five days, about 30 Model Ts will tour Savannah, Jim Aldrich said. The visit will include a stop at the J.C. Lewis Ford dealership, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.

Aldrich said he's glad the fun continues after the motoring festival, which he has been attending since 2004.

"It gets better every year," he said.

The 10-day island, which kicks off on Hutchinson Island in Savannah before moving to the Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn, draws more than 14,000 people, having grown from a two-day festival when it began.

This year's theme was Americana, with the centerpiece event the Concours d'Elegance celebrating American-made cars in classes that including Imported from Detroit, American Classics and several eras of Ford Model Ts. The Concours had a total of 23 classes on display, including Brass Era, Classic, Sports and Micro Cars.

Festival president Carolyn Vanagel said the Model T allowed organizers to explore American history as part of its theme.

"We look for things that are unusual but also have broad-based appeal," she said. "This event has an attraction not just for the gearhead, but for folks who want learn more about history, including the history of the Model T."

While celebrating the old, Concours also made room for the new, introducing for the first time an Honored Collector Award. The first-ever title went to Frank and Milli Ricciardelli of Monmouth Beach, N.J., for the quality of their vehicles and their commitment to the festival.

The Ricciardellis displayed four rare cars from their collection including a special-bodied one-off 1939 Jaguar SS Coupe.

They also showed off their motor coach and trailer so viewers could see how they take their collection of cars to shows around the country.

"People want to know, 'What is the life of a collector?'" Vanagel said. "The Ricciardellis showed us."

The inaugural award is expected to return next year.

Related content:

Concours d'Elegance continues to rev Hilton Head economy, Oct. 22, 2012

Man vs. wife in annual Concours cocktail contest, Oct. 24, 2012

Former automotive mogul Bob Lutz talks Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival & Concours d'Elegance, Oct. 24, 2012

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