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My First Time Attending Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance

My First Time Attending Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance

By Julie Saeger Nierenberg

 

A brief rain shower does not dampen the spirit of the day, and at last the protective coverings are removed from each car. Owners lovingly polish the gleaming chrome and pinstriped bodies. Paint colours have been restored carefully to preserve the original appearance of each automobile. And how unique those colours are! Is that green or gray? Or is it a little of both, with a hint of cream mixed in? My artist’s eye takes note, and I wonder if I could reproduce such a color on my palette.

As the day progresses, and judging begins, I look at each class of car with a novice’s appreciation for style and detail, for the design evolution from earliest models, through pre- and post-war periods, and into the more recent auto eras. I linger at each car, taking in every angle, noting the creative ways one mounts these various beasts, whether as a driver or as a rear or rumble seat passenger. This one has a special door and compartment for golf clubs. That one has a rear door for passengers to access their seats. Another has a steering wheel which rotates outward with the driver’s door. Such interesting novelties!

Then comes my own process of discernment: Which are my favourites? Overwhelmed by abundance, I defer any such choices until later in the day when the awards process begins. Only then do my top picks come to me with clarity. My “first place” goes to the one-of-a-kind, prototype 1962 Corvair Monza SS coupe, a design that was never produced, alas. What sexy, smooth lines! She’s a clear winner for me. And secondly, I choose the 1903 Columbus Electric, winner of the Tom Thomson Art Gallery Timeless Design Award. She’s so cute, petite and forward-thinking in design. Which were your favourites?

Columbus Electric Cobble Beach Concours 2019 11141903 Columbus Electric

After enjoying four days in the Owen Sound area, I would certainly be remiss if I did not mention the fabulous sites one may enjoy here in addition to the Cobble Beach Resort Community. There are several noteworthy hiking areas and waterfalls. We visited Inglis Falls, an easily accessible stroll, and Indian Falls, a far steeper and more challenging hike of 1k each way, yet well worth the energy expenditure. In Owen Sound, the Tom Thomson Art Gallery was a delightful stop. And there are many culinary pleasures to sample in the Owen Sound area, diners and cafés with their own classic flavours.

On Saturday, many of the Concours cars went on parade in a Participants’ Tour through several neighboring boroughs. Bystanders lined the sides of the route to enjoy the delightful array of classic autos. The Tour stopped at the Grey Roots Museum & Archives, where we enjoyed its historic village, and then continued on through the Grey Bruce area. A Cars & Coffee event also took place at Cobble Beach on Saturday, allowing anyone with vintage, collectible or exotic vehicles, 25 years and older, to display their car.

I was impressed to learn the Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance benefits two noteworthy charities, The Sunnybrook Foundation (Toronto) and the Owen Sound Hospital Foundation. To date, over $440,000 has been raised for the two charities, and proceeds from the 2019 event may take that total to $500,000.

Though I’m certainly not an experienced judge of classic cars, I appreciate this competition and celebration of historically significant autos as quite amazing, expertly orchestrated and well-conceived. I hope to return next year to enjoy this unique opportunity to sample an impressive cross-section of automotive history. Will I see you there?

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