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Producer/Editor: Kelly Campbell
Keeneland Concours d'Elegance
The elegance is in the details: Ostrich leather, wood frame bodies, chrome wire wheels. original colors, original parts. The finest automobiles you will ever see are showcased each summer at the Keeneland Concours d'Elegance, a four-day event that draws thousands.
A concours d'elegance (French for a "competition of elegance") dazzles spectators with the best in antique and rare automobiles in mint condition, as well as cars deemed to be "future classics." Held on the grounds of Lexington's scenic Keeneland Race Track, the event celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2014. Proceeds from the Keeneland Concours benefit UK HealthCare's Kentucky Children's Hospital.
Cars are entered into the competitions from roughly 20 classes, each of them themed around a certain period in automotive history or by a particular style of car. The classes change each year. (It's not always just cars: Sometimes there will be a class for motorcycles, boats, trucks, or mini-cars.) Exhibitors are encouraged to dress appropriately to match the period of their car.
The event's 600-point judging system—unique among concours events—evaluates cars based on historical accuracy, presentation, and cleanliness. Curt Richards, chief judge of the Concours d'Elegance, shares his thinking with Dave Shuffett as he judges a Packard 900 Shovelnose.
The concours is more than a car show, however. It also includes the Hangar Bash, a cocktail party at the airport; the Car Club Paddock for local car clubs; the Tour d'Elegance, a leisurely drive through the Bluegrass countryside; and an art show. Peter Williams, the unofficial artist-in-residence at Keeneland, explains how he captures a sense of speed and urgency when depicting automotive horsepower.
Many of the cars shown here are simply magnificent. Last year's Best of Show winner was built for royalty. The 1937 Delage D8 120 SS Aerodynamic Coupe—with ostrich leather and chrome wire wheels—was originally ordered for a European prince and is now owned by the Patterson Collection in Louisville.
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