F Features

Howard Cohen at Cobble Beach

Cobble Beach Concours 2019

This annual event, only seven years old, has grown much faster than anyone anticipated and draws in some very special vehicles every year. Held at the scenic Cobble Beach Golf Course on the shore of Georgian Bay, just north of Owen Sound, this show has become a high point on the show calendar in Canada. There is support from various manufacturers and this year included Porsche and General Motors. Hagerty Insurance is a big supporter and provides a ‘Ride & Drive’ where you can drive an older vehicle from the 1950s or 1960s.
The weekend started on Friday when many of the car owners arrived to get settled in and unload their cars. The many sponsors and vendors set up their booths and signs. The Concours staff and many volunteers helped with everything from credentials to parking cars.
The events started early Saturday morning with a 100 Kilometer tour around the Bruce Peninsula. Led by the organizer’s bright yellow Porsche, dozens of vintage cars of all types headed off for a drive in the country, stopping at historic sites along the way. While these cars were touring there was another group gathering for ‘Cars & Coffee’ on the grounds.
Sunday was the main event, the Concours. The cars actually started arriving on the greens Saturday evening and many were covered for the night, looking like mechanical sleeping beauties. Before dawn, way before dawn, more cars started rolling in. They were driven from their various overnight parking spots and trailers to the show field, lights gleaming, exhausts breaking the morning calm, drivers anxious to display the cars and share their passions. The morning was not quite perfect as rain started just after dawn and kept the cars and show field wet for about an hour. The passions were not dampened as many kept setting up their cars. When the rain stopped, the drying towels came out and the cars glowed.
Every year, there are some very special cars that come to the Concours. This year there were three Corvair prototypes. Originally shown in 1962, these cars have been hidden away at the General Motors Heritage Center in Michigan. These cars arrived early Sunday morning, were unloaded from their trailer and driven to the show field, yes, they drove. Looking very futuristic, these Corvairs were the hit of the show from my standpoint. To top it off, they were presented with a special award, the Ingenuity Award, for their design and mechanical features, as the Corvair Monza SS coupe drove across the podium.
Another feature were three Motorama styled cars from a private collection. The ‘Rolling Sculpture Award’, presented by the ‘National Association of Automobile Clubs of Canada’, was given to the 1953 Oldsmobile Fiesta convertible, sister car to the 1953 Buick Skylark convertible and the 1953 Cadillac Eldorado convertible.
Another popular special class of cars were ‘Microcars’. These tiny cars were popular in the 1950s and 1960s as people looked for small cars that had excellent gas mileage and former military companies tried to get into the car market. The cars had such names as Hudson, Goggomobile, Heinkel, Rolux, Isetta, Messerschmitt and Vespa. These cars were among the most popular of the Concours as people were amazed at their style and diminutive size.
The ‘Horseless Carriage’ category showed the early cars of the 1900s. Laden with polished brass, no accessories and few windows, they stood tall and proud as they told the story of the early days of the car, led by a 1904 Oldsmobile Model T (yes, before the Ford).
There were many other outstanding cars such as the 1954 Siata 200CS coupe, 1964 Pininfarina Fiat 1500 Cabriolet, 1965 Jaguar E-Type coupe, 1933 Hupmobile, 1937 Morgan, 1960 Corvette, 1965 Shelby Mustang GT350, 1957 Thunderbird, a full custom 1942 Packard and several vintage Japanese motorcycles.
The best of the best was a 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolet, class winner, ‘People’s Choice’ and the most prestigious ‘Best of Show’. This rolling work of art captured the eyes and hearts of almost every person at the Concours as the balloting was overwhelmingly in its favour.
Now that the 2019 Concours is over, the show organizers are already working on the 2020 show, scheduled for September 20th. Make sure you mark your calendar and attend this one-of-a-kind Concours d’Elegance. It is a weekend to look forward to.

Howard Cohen

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