View Full Version : St Michaels Concours 2010 edition

10-12-2010, 07:25 AM
The 2010 St Michaels Concours d'Elegance was a great show. IMHO, it's the finest concours on the east coast. There are only 50 prewar cars on the field, situated right on the water. So you have Pebble Beach quality cars with out the crowds or the cost. If you live anywhere in between NY and Virginia, this is a worthwhile trip. The area is beautiful, the weather can be fantastic.


Well, since I got to bed Saturday night at 1 am and woke up at 4:30am, I was a bit tired. The wife forced me to attend a very fun wedding on Saturday. I would have preferred spending the whole weekend but that was not to be.

I got to St Michaels around 6:30 and the field started to load starting at 7. It was a bit drizzly but not raining. This didn't scare any of the cars from the field. There were some tarps out. This was my first invitation to judge at St Michaels and I was very excited to be a part of the show. The judges meeting was held at the Inn at Perry Cabin at 8 am. That is one first class place. Very nice food and very expensive rooms. http://www.perrycabin.com/web/omic/inn_at_perry_cabin.jsp?gclid=COmk_7vXsqQCFZpN5Qod7 WH-0g

We had some great judges on the field. Look up some of these names, Ken Gross, Dr Paul Sable and Dave kinney to name a few. Some Pebble Beach veterans as well as Amelia Island and every other major concours in the US. I hope to get to judge at both those events some day.

I had the American Open Class 1924 to 1932. Our cars included

1931 Cadillac, 8, 355A, Conv. Coupe, Fleetwood Charles B. Gillet, Baltimore, Maryland (this was our class winner)
For 1931, the Cadillac was longer and lower than the 1930 model. Both Fisher and Fleetwood bodies were offered, with Fleetwood being the premium offering. In 1931 Cadillac purchased the Fleetwood coachbuilder in Fleetwood, Pennsylvania and relocated the company to Detroit. Production of all Fleetwood bodied Cadillacs reached 5,733 vehicles in 1931. This Convertible Coupe sat on a 134” wheelbase and produced 135 h.p. from its V8 engine.

It was obvious when talking to the owner that this was a cherished car that sees the pavement when the opportunity arises.

I love the art deco flourishes as seen in the dash and interior.

10-12-2010, 07:32 AM
1929 Duesenberg J-147, Convertible, Murphy

The “J” Series was produced from 1929 through 1937. The total production of J Series was 481. The original owner was H. Leslie Atlas of CBS. Murphy only built 60 of the body styles during J production. This car was restored in 2009 by Al Prueitt & Sons. It was shown at the Amelia Island Concours.

This Duesenberg had an amazing history. Beginning life with LeBaron Sweep Panel Phaeton coachwork, this particular short wheelbase example (chassis no. 2168, engine no. J-147) was purchased new on July 9th 1929 by H. Leslie Atlass. A battery maker turnedradio pioneer whose WBBM-AM station had become affiliated to CBS in 1928, he and his brother Ralph received a $265,000 windfall the following year when the broadcasting giant purchased a 67\% stake in their company. Retained as WBBM general manager but relocated to premises within the magnificent Wrigley Building, H. Leslie Atlass celebrated his new found status in Chicago society by acquiring the Model J - a position he would consolidate in 1933 when he was named Vice-President of CBS’s Central Section. Perhaps inevitably Atlass came to the attention of fellow Duesenberg owner, Philip Knight Wrigley (son of William Wrigley Junior founder of both the family’s chewing gum empire and the Wrigley Building). Born in 1894, the two were further united by a love of jazz. WBBM was the first station in the USA to adopt a jazz format and had featured Jimmie Wade’s Moulin Rouge Orchestra as part of its opening-day broadcast (it went onto play more African-American jazz during the 1920s than any other Chicago station). Possibly enamoured of the more commodious four- / five-seater accommodation offered by his friend’s LeBaron Sweep Panel Phaeton bodywork, PK Wrigley convinced Atlass to swap it for the Murphy Convertible Coupe coachwork (body no. 821) that his own Duesenberg wore (chassis no. 2177, engine no. J-121). Believed to have taken place in 1930, this must have been one of the earliest Model J body switches ever performed (though, quite why the two men did not just swap ignition keys remains a mystery).

You just know that this deal had to have been accomplished or lubricated by alcohol in some manner. What I loved about this car was the lavish attention to detail. In the interior shots, notice the lever at the driver's side floorboards. Its a lever to open up to straight exhaust. Utilized when you needed that extra horsepower to blow away the v16 Caddy next to you.



10-12-2010, 07:36 AM
This was the first car that loaded on to the field at St Michaels. It wasn't a big classic like the duesy and some of the big boys. However, it was a very unique, one off car with really interesting lines. I really dug the twin trunk doors.

1931 Franklin, Series 153 Deluxe, Custom Concept Sedan, Walker

This one-off air-cooled six cylinder Franklin has coachwork by the Walker Body Company and was created for exhibit at the 1931 New York Automobile Salon. The design was very futuristic for its time and one of the first “Concept” automobiles to explore the evolution of automotive design. The cost new was $8,750. This Franklin was in the Bill Harrah Collection where it was restored in the original Art Deco colors. This special Franklin has been shown at Pebble Beach, and was judged “Most Elegant Closed Car” at Greenwich. It was also presented with an Artist Design award at Radnor Hunt.

10-12-2010, 07:40 AM
The craftsmenship and ingenuity was just exploding in the transition from the horseless carriage to the automobile. Engineering was just off the hook. What really got me on this vein was the 1914 Locomobile that I first judged at Radnor back in 2006. Here is the description out of the judges sheet:

1914 Locomobile Berline Limousine,

This Locomobile is a one-off automobile with French coachwork by Kellner and is the only surviving example of this model. It stands nearly eight feet tall. The original owner was from a prominent family in Illinois. The T-head six-cylinder engine delivered 63 horsepower from its 504 cubic inch displacement…quite a feat for its time. Among its many custom features
are Tiffany lamps and French upholstery. Its many Best in Show and People’s Choice awards include: Amelia Island, Hilton Head, Greenwich, and Pebble Beach.

What I found particularly compelling, besides the fact that it was an 8 foot tall parlour on wheels, has a 504 cubic inch motor, the car has air suspension! Who knew that such technology was available back in the day. That's what got me thinking about producing a car show that puts these vehicles in perspective technically, socially and economically. There is not much new in automotive technology today. So much comes from the technological developments from the turn of the century onward.

10-12-2010, 08:56 AM
Thanks for the fine report.

I can only hope to put something that good together after the Avila Beach Concours, Oct 21-24. Sort of a micro Pebble Beach South.

I will be strolling through on the Sunday, but without the inside track or experience of being a judge. So I will take shots and notes, and see where it takes me. It should be an interesting exercise.

10-12-2010, 09:30 AM
Indeed, interesting cars, I had only seen the Duesenberg before, when it was sold by RM in their Monterrey auction in 2008. It was painted light green at that time , so before the restauration.

10-12-2010, 11:06 AM
Thanks for the fine report.

I can only hope to put something that good together after the Avila Beach Concours, Oct 21-24. Sort of a micro Pebble Beach South.

I will be strolling through on the Sunday, but without the inside track or experience of being a judge. So I will take shots and notes, and see where it takes me. It should be an interesting exercise.

I like getting to events like that right around 7am. I always get premium parking. (I tell the security folks, if they are set up already, that I need access to my car for equipment changes) You usually get to walk around, see and smell the cars, meet the owners and generally get to know the folks that are there, running the show. It gets you face time plus the opportunity to shoot the cars without crowds. Hopefully the show will have a handout of all the cars and a brief history that allows you some information plus background to follow up questions to the owners.

have fun and good luck