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2022 Cobble Beach Concours d'Elegance
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The entire world would agree; the past 30 months have been extremely difficult times. As the pandemic continued, public gatherings were canceled around the globe. Classic car owners and dreamers waited patiently for the Concours, Exhibitions and Historic Races to return, but it was the charities that these events support that really suffered. The Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance is relatively young on the circuit, celebrating only its 8th year, but returned in 2022 with a spectacular showing of over 120 classic and contemporary vehicles brought by the owners from Canada and the US. With the help of over 145 volunteers and spectator attendance in excess of 10,000, over $135,000 was raised for the Sunnybrook Foundation and the Owen Sound Regional Hospital Foundation.

Regarded as Canada’s most prestigious automotive event, this Concours is well on its way to competing with some other past and present North American greats; Amelia Island, Meadowbrook, The Quail, EyesOn Design and quite possibly the coveted Pebble Beach. Held at the picturesque Cobble Beach Golf Links on the western shore of Georgian Bay in Ontario, this showcase featured 19 automotive classes, ranging from Horseless Carriage Pre-1916, through to Vintage Pickup Trucks and Supercars 1990-present.

All vehicles at this years show were in impeccable condition from roof to rubber, even with an early morning rain shower that moved across the bay. Presenting sponsor Porsche had no less than 20 polished new examples displayed around the property, while collectors Elaine and Tony Lang were honoured with their own tent and showed 8 cars from their 50-plus vehicle collection, including a rare pocket-door Kaiser Darrin and Shelby GT500KR Convertible. Three classes were dedicated to the Corvette, spanning from two prime examples of the 1957 model to a freshly built, 1 of 35 Callaway-tuned 2022 mid-engined beast. In addition, the GM Heritage Center was gracious enough to display two of their prized Corvette concepts; the 1968 Astro II, and the 1973 Aerovette.

Concours events like this have traditionally focused on cars, but many exhibitions in the past decade have added a classic motorcycle class, and some like Cobble Beach are acknowledging the growing trend to restore Vintage Pickup Trucks. The Italian Motorcycles Pre-1990 Class was won by a completely original 1974 Ducati 750 Super Sport; a factory-built, street legal replica of the 1972 Imola 200 racer. Class 15 for Vintage Pickups Pre-1975 included two meticulously restored M-100’s that Ford branded under the Mercury nameplate for the Canadian market only.

While special recognition and class wins are desired by all entrants, the top four awards are the pinnacle; People’s Choice, Outstanding Pre-War, Outstanding Post-War, and of course, Best of Show. A ‘better than new’ 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder 1500 owned by Kai Riebetz was the People’s favourite. This fully restored example has been in the family for two generations and is believed to be the only Canadian road-licensed 550 Spyder. The Outstanding Pre-War trophy went to a 12-cylinder 1932 Lincoln KB Coupe with Judkins coachwork, owned by Bill Wybenga. Rare for the model year, this Lincoln was optioned with a rumble seat, golf club storage and spoked wheels. In 1957, Cadillac offered the Eldorado Brougham without any options. That was because it already came with every option available at the time, including air conditioning, power memory seats, auto-dimming headlights, power trunk, air-ride suspension with auto levelling, rear seat heaters, stainless steel roof, and industry-first all-transistor radio. The glove box even had a ladies compact, cigarette case and lighter, magnetized drinking cups and perfume atomizer. It’s estimated that only 20-25 remain, and Vernon Smith transported his Laurentian Green example to the Concours from Newfoundland, and was duly rewarded with the Most Outstanding Post-War honours.

The 2022 Cobble Beach Concours Best of Show was bestowed upon a spectacular 1928 Isotta Fraschini 8A, built in high-performance Super Spinto (SS) trim, owned by Peter Boyle that was originally shown at the 1928 New York Auto Show. This Italian chassis is outfit with a single rumble seat, ostrich interior, and rare boattail cabriolet body coachbuilt in the US by LeBaron. Powered by the most powerful mass-produced inline 8-cylinder engine of it’s time with 160 hp, the original owner, aviation pioneer Harry Williams was known for his love of speed. The Wedell-Williams Aviation Museum in Patterson, Louisiana notes a story about this Isotta Fraschini; Harry Williams was stopped for speeding in a small Louisiana town and was taken to the courthouse to pay the $10 fine. The millionaire businessman gave them $20 and said “I’ll be back through town later, so please don’t bother me”. This black and black cherry beauty has now deservedly won over a dozen Best of Show trophies throughout North America.

Although the Cobble Beach Concours is still relatively young, and forced to cancel festivities for the past two years, it presented very professional and well organized. I’m confident it has all of the potential to continue growing and drawing more collectors from farther regions. Next year we plan on attending the Friday Participant Tour and Saturday’s Cars, Planes & Coffee event as well.

Report by Rob Clements and images by Rob Clements and Bryn Gladding for Ultimatecarpage.com