October 2010

October 2010: OUR TOWN - 9th Annual Consours d'Elegance - Bringing Art and Elegance to Honey Horn on Hilton Head Island

Author: Rosemary Kimball

Did you know that the first Concours d’Elegance was held in 1923 in Paris? The event was a joint affair between the haute couture houses of Paris and the French custom coach builders. Imagine the beauty of the field, the curves, the contours, the polish, the silver, the shoulders and the sparkle of the cars and the ladies!

You could compare the Concours to a beauty pageant held in a manicured garden—a prestigious event that brings glamour, excitement and nostalgia to every member of a family.

A Concours field is filled with cars you have only seen in books or in the movies with names such as Delahaye, Duesenberg, Pierce-Arrow, Mercer, Rolls Royce—“Silver Ghost,” “ Silver Cloud,” and my favorite, the “Silver Wraith.” Such majesty and mystery those names exude; they make the titles for present day cars seem rather dull, don’t they?

Natalie Prey, wife of vintage car collector, Malcolm Prey, wrote a book entitled Malcolm’s French Mistress. In her opening paragraph she explains:

“Malcolm’s mistress was born in France in 1936, has four wheels, a fabulous body, and sweeping fender skirts that flirt with the road. Her flawless ivory skin shines like satin. Deep blue brush strokes contoured over covered wheels give the illusion of sensuality in motion. This timeless beauty captured Malcolm’s heart when she was a star at the 1939 World’s Fair in New York.”

So how do we bring back the glamour and ambiance of that first “Concours d’Elegance” to our island? We start with the beautiful sprawling grounds of the Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn, graced by majestic live oaks, for our venue. It’s quite magical to watch the Concours team transform Honey Horn into a field of dreams and beauty.

Twelve board of directors, a staff of three, over 350 volunteers, close to 40 sponsors, and over 400 exhibitors work together to bring this weekend of four glorious events in one destination!

To add originality to the scene, awards are presented by volunteers dressed in vintage-inspired outfits that they own, made or discovered in thrift stores or in the closet of local diva, Joanna Yarbrough Exhibitors are encouraged to dress in the, era of their cars.

Fashion awards are given to the best dressed gentleman, lady and couple. The awards are original paintings of Lowcountry scenes created by local artists Candace Lovely, Doris Shay and Joyce Nagel.

Automobile awards handed out on Sunday are lovely crystal pieces, the “Best in Class” award and the “Palmetto Award”.

The most coveted awards that add substantial value to the winning automobile are “Best of Show” and “People’s Choice”.

The “Best in Show” award is a Lalique crystal eagle head radiator cap, mounted on a pedestal of big leaf maple burl, created by local woodturner John Diamond.

The people’s choice award was created by local artist David Musial. The award is a sculpture of a young boy in overalls sitting on an orange crate, steering wheel in hand, his foot on the gas pedal, imagining his first drive in a very fast car.

So come out and feel the excitement of the 9th annual Concours d’Elegance, the foundation of the Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival, Sunday, November 7! See over 150 historic automobiles, meet the proud owners and watch the 40 judges examine each car, ensuring that every minute detail is original.

This is an event you will never forget!

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