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2004 Concorso d'Italia
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|    2004   |  

Introduction
The Meadow Brook Concours d’Elegance has become one of the world’s most exciting classic car shows, and in its 26th year, it was extended to a full week of events. La Bellissima Festa at Cauley Ferrari, a Fashion Show Luncheon at Meadow Brook Hall, an Automotive Art Exhibition at the Walter P Chrysler Museum, and a RM Classic Car Auction at the Shotwell-Gustafson Pavilion all preceded the weekend festivities on the manicured golf course of Meadow Brook Hall.

The 3rd Annual Concorso d’Italia also joined the Meadow Brook celebration weekend, showcasing the magnificent automobiles and designers from Italy. Our Ultimatecarpage.com staff was in attendance and we’re excited to present the following report and slideshows from the Meadow Brook Concours d’Elegance and Concorso d’Italia.

Concorso d'Italia
Click here to open the slideshowThis annual event moved from its previous location at the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House to Meadow Brook Hall on the grounds of Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. Italian auto engineers and designers have influenced every modern car manufacturer in at least one aspect. Designers like Pininfarina, Bertone, Ghia, and Zagato were well represented at this year’s event along with a special presentation of Bizzarrini engineered models. More than 100 entries were divided into classes dependant on specifics such as engine location and configuration. Notable winners included a Siata Daina 1400 GS, an Alfa Romeo Giulietta SS, a Lamborghini 400 2+2, and a Farago designed Pontiac CF428. A spectacular Ferrari 250 California Spyder won the Great Escape award, while a stunning Costanga bodied Isotta Fraschini won for Most Elegant. The d'Italia Best in Show was presented to Bill Parfet and his vibrant yellow 275 GTB/4.

Bizzarrini
Giotta Bizzarrini left his mark on Italian design with the development of the Ferrari 250 GT, ISO Rivolta, and ISO Grifo, before going solo and presenting the Bizzarrini 5300 GT Spyder Prototype to the automotive world in 1966. Concorso d’Italia was honoured to host a special class of 12 Bizzarrini designs, including the Lamborghini powered P538 Spyder and the American Motors AMX/3.

Meadow Brook Concours d'Elegance
Click here to open the slideshowThe dismal weather of last years event thankfully did not repeat as the sun beat down on thousands of auto enthusiasts on the magnificent grounds of Meadow Brook Hall. The range of vintage cars on display was as wide as ever with particular attention paid to the Rolls–Royce Centennial and the Golden Age of Automobiles (1927-1942). The colour of choice seemed to be black this year as one after another midnight painted classic crossed in front of the stage to accept an award, with the occasional mix of Packard green or Renault blue.

As usual, the Concours offered a number of rare and extraordinary examples of design and engineering excellence. Royal style flowed freely from the curvaceous lines of a Vanvooren bodied Bugatti 57C specially commissioned by the French Government as a wedding gift to the Shah of Persia in 1939. The Murphy bodied Doble Phaeton displayed engineering indifference with a complex steam powered convertible coupe, while at the opposite end of the spectrum was a muscular Chevrolet 427 powered Corvette Stingray. The judges had a difficult time, as always, in selecting the recipient of the Founder’s Award for Best in Show. The mumblings around the field were leaning towards the Shah’s Bugatti, however a familiar Mercedes crossed the stage to conclude the trophy presentations. The immaculate Erdmann et Rossi bodied 1930 Mercedes Benz SS Sports Roadster owned by Arturo Keller of Tlacopac, Michigan also won Best of Show at Pebble Beach in 2001. The details on this vintage roadster were meticulously restored with incredible attention paid to the wire wheels and hundreds of louvers in the engine cover.

Conclusion
This years Concours was frequently regarded as the best Meadow Brook gathering to date by the prestigious judges. The caliber of automotive excellence that appears at Meadow Brook each year is quickly gaining on the continuously beautiful results from Pebble Beach.

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Report and images by Rob Clements.