Mindy Lucas

Hilton Head Island's Motoring Festival -- so much more than just elegant cars

The Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival and Concours d?Elegance is in Savannah, Oct. 23-25, and Hilton Head Island Oct. 30-Nov. 1.
The Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival and Concours d?Elegance is in Savannah, Oct. 23-25, and Hilton Head Island Oct. 30-Nov. 1. Submitted photo

Drivers may be doing a double take as they spot some sportier-than-usual cars on the road over the next few days.

That's because the Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival and Concours d'Elegance -- now in its 14th year -- kicks off this weekend in Savannah, then moves to Hilton Head Island the following weekend.

Touted as one of the largest and fastest-growing automotive and motor enthusiast events in the country, the festival is also one of the more emulated gatherings of its kind.

"It's kind of nice to see that we're setting a tone here," Lindsey Harrell, vice president of operations for the motoring festival, said.

As Harrell explained, most events like the Hilton Head festival offer only a "Concours d'Elegance," or a gathering of elegant or refined cars, usually for the purpose of competing.

In addition to the Concours on Sunday, Hilton Head's event offers a Car Club Showcase on Saturday, as well as a range of other exhibits and events in between.

"We are definitely changing what the typical Concours is doing," she said.

Case in point: Aviation enthusiasts will have something to look forward to at the festival as well.

An all new "Aero Expo" featuring vintage and wartime aircraft will showcase the best in aviation history. Each airplane in the expo will be paired with a "Concours-quality" car from the same era, an unusual pairing visitors aren't likely to see at similar events.

Also back by popular demand after several years' absence is the car auction.

The auction will feature 120 "investment grade" vehicles from American classics to European sports cars. Auctions America will serve as the official auction house for the bidding, which will take place at The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa.

And motorcycle enthusiasts can look forward to a special exhibit featuring antique motorcycles that have competed in The Cannonball, the world famous cross-country race.

Finally, for those who may not be fanatical about their cars or motorcycles, the festival's Motoring Midway is bound to entertain.

"Motoring Midway gave us a forum to do something a little more quirky," Harrell said. "So we're able to offer something you wouldn't normally see at a motoring event."

The midway will feature a number of displays, including the event's popular "Life" exhibit. Started more than five years ago, themes for the "Life" exhibit have included "Life on a Highway," "Life on the Farm," and "Life in the Military."

This year's theme of "Life in the Suburbs" will feature a variety of service vehicles -- such as milk wagons and food trucks -- and automobiles typical of a 1950s and 1960s suburban neighborhood.

"I think (visitors) will enjoy everything, but this is one that is a lot of fun," Harrell said. "These are collections that you wouldn't necessarily see anywhere else."

IF YOU GO

The 14th Annual Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival and Concours d'Elegance kicks off with the Savannah Speed Classic, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and runs through Sunday, at The Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort & Spa and The Grand Prize of America Road Course.

The speed classic features series races, enduros, test drives, an off-road experience and pit access.

Day passes are $20 for Friday, $30 for Saturday, $20 for Sunday and $35 for the car club corral (space is limited).

The fun continues 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 31-Nov. 1 at the Port Royal Golf Club on Hilton Head Island.

Complimentary parking and shuttle service will be available on both days of the event at the Coastal Discovery Museum, 70 Honey Horn Drive.

General admission for the Car Club Showcase and festival exhibits on Oct. 31 costs $45. That includes access to shuttle service from the Port Royal Golf Club to the Aero Expo at Hilton Head Island Airport. Parking for the aviation event will not be available at the airport.

General admission to the Concours d'Elegance and festival exhibits on Nov. 1 costs $50. Multi-day passes to all events are available.Tickets for all events can be purchased at the gate or online.

For more information and a complete schedule, visit www.hhiconcours.com.

Follow reporter Mindy Lucas at twitter.com/MindyatIPBG.

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