La Jolla Concours d’Elegance 2018

Knotty Nawadhinsukh Words by Knotty Nawadhinsukh
Breathtaking view overlooking the Pacific Ocean during Aston Martin's Art Deco Party

Following the Palm Beach Cavallino Classic and the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance down in Florida, the next major U.S. car gathering for this year moved across over to the West Coast for the 14th edition of the La Jolla Concours d’Elegance during the 6th to the 8th of April.

Dapper Rolls-Royces
A pair of Spirit of Ecstasy came alive on the first night

The stylish town by the Pacific Coast offered its own Southern California brand of what is considered as an elegant and luxurious motoring event, beginning with a welcoming cocktail party at Covo La Jolla featuring Rolls-Royces.

New Porsche showroom welcomed guests for breakfast
A Gullwing gets ready for grand touring

But what really kicked off the show for the weekend was the Porsche San Diego Tour d’Elegance with over 200 guests and onlookers. Here a selected number were invited to drive either their latest or classic machines along the designated routes and sample the charm of San Diego’s many stops. The tour commenced at breakfast time, naturally at the lead sponsor’s latest San Diego showroom, before all the cars followed each other in unison for the first stop at Chuck Spielman’s Only Yesterday Museum. A very successful real estate developer, the native New Yorker somehow chose San Diego as the place to house his personal eclectic collection that ranged from Pre- and Post-War American classics, Indy racers to modern European high performance cars.

Porsche 356 leads the modern ones
Some of Only Yesterday Museum's tidy Corvette collection

The tour continued from one museum to another, this time to the Vietnam War Tribute Museum, before heading toward to see the Calumet Collection over at San Marcos, a yet another museum this time full of vintage Rolls-Royces (that included HRH Queen Elizabeth’s Phantom 5 Landaulet and Phantom 6), Bentleys and Cadillacs. The final destination of this year’s San Diego Tour d’Elegance took place at the La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club where lunch was served right on the Club’s private beach in true California fashion.

En route toward La Jolla Beach & Tennis Club
Sumptuous lunch right on the sand

The second day of the La Jolla Concours continued into the late afternoon and evening with the Art Deco Party at the Cove. Hosted this time by Aston Martin, guests were welcomed at the entrance by the British marque’s DB5 Vantage Volante and the latest DB11 Volante. The reception got livelier as the evening went on as the Mardi Gras-style atmosphere included stilt walkers, a wide selection of food that was served by the city’s best 20 local restaurants and plenty of open bars that would even make James Bond consider going beyond his usual Vodka Martinis!

Stilt performers towered over the Aston Martin
Extravagant decor made it tough to leave the party early

Such a soirée the night before would have made it slightly difficult for just about anyone (including for the organiser as the same area of the Cove had to be vacated) the following Sunday for the Concours d’Elegance itself. This was because it would nearly be an all-day affair in order to take in the presentation of hundreds of the fine classic cars, motorcycles and even the Sopwith bi-plane flybys—with the setting of the scenic Pacific Ocean as the backdrop.

Very clean selection of BMW motorcycles were on display
"Negative, Ghost Rider, the pattern is full."

All the volunteering judges must have had to work very hard throughout much of the day, going through over 135 vehicles vying for prizes in their respective classes, including a special showcase of the  Lincoln which was this year’s Featured Marque and retro Toyotas, Hondas, Mazdas and the likes in the Japanese Collectibles display.

"Lincoln Parked" (Get it?)
Too many distractions for the judges—everything from the view to these British car entries

In the end it was the exquisite 1939 Bugatti Type 57SC Aravis Cabriolet (Top Main Photo) that was voted as the Best of Show for this year. Part of the Mullin Automotive Museum collection, this Art Deco-style two-toned Bugatti with Chassis Number 57768 is Gangloff-bodied and once belonged to French racing driver, Maurice Trintingent. In the overall Pre-War class, the award went to a 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Convertible Coupe whereas for Post-War cars, it was Charles T. Wegner’s Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spyder s/n 1203GT that took the prize—the very same award-winning Ferrari that we at GRAND TOURING already saw at the Palm Beach Cavallino Classic earlier this year!

Chuck Wegner's Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spyder came to San Diego and was awarded as Most Outstanding Post-War Car
Imposing 1929 Lincoln Aero Phaeton Dual Cowl Phaeton was the concours' Best of Marque

Among the rarities that stood out for us after looking at the results were the other Bugatti, a 1936 Type 57 Suisse-Graber Cabriolet, Dave & Susan Buchanan’s 1949 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS Cabriolet that was awarded as The Best among Italian Sports Cars, a diminutive Riley Brooklands Speed that is already ninety years young that also took part in the Tour d’Elegance and deservedly got The Spirit of Motoring Award and Allen Grant’s 1963 Lola GT MK6 Coupe—a racer that  was the basis for the development of the Ford GT40—which topped the list among the Race Cars entrants.

“Be cautious when you get near them”—Shelby Cobras are notorious for their brute power and lethal handling
Debonair Bugatti Type 57 Suisse-Graber Cabriolet

In retrospect, the La Jolla Concours d’Elegance may appear to be a relatively a young event, with a healthy dose of social functions thrown in as much as the number of cars that entered—and for us, we are all for it. With the value of classic cars going on the up and up annually together with the greater effort and budget poured into them, there could be a lot of pride at stake for the owners during a concours event which could have turned the atmosphere more serious, more competitive and may unintentionally isolated itself away from those who went to one just to enjoy and soak it in. It would be more refreshing to be at more car shows that would not put off those who prefer to be there more for the nice, relaxed stroll for the weekend with friends, families and significant others with a glass of bubbly and delicious food in-hand. After all, the tagline at the La Jolla Concours d’Elegance read, “World Class Cars, World Class Experience”. Indeed.

“A Family Affair”—enjoying and appreciating classic cars by everyone like it should be at La Jolla
"“My mom said I should spend less time with cars”—maybe she has a point…

All Photos by Angelique Vanko and Kate Auda, Courtesy of

The Cove looked the part as a venue
1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Convertible Coupe received the Most Outstanding Pre-War trophy

La Jolla Concours d’Elegance 2018 Results

Best in Show

Peter Mullin, Mullin Automotive Museum – 1939 Bugatti Type 57SC Aravis Cabriolet

Most Outstanding Pre-War

Aaron and Valerie Weiss – 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Convertible Coupe

Most Outstanding Post-War

Charles Wegner – 1959 Ferrari 250 LWB California Spyder

Marc Camille Lemieux Memorial Award

Mark Leonard – 1929 Moto Guzzi Sport 14L Tubular Duplex Cradle

La Jolla Historical Society Preservation Award

Bill Neff – 1968 Triumph TR250

FIVA/HVA Award for Best Preserved Vehicle

David Aspinall – 1923 Buick 23-4-39 Roadster

The Spirit of Motoring Award 

Michael Potiker – 1928 Riley Brooklands Speed

Cute 1928 Riley Brooklands Speed

Aubrey Taylor Award of Excellence for Best Upholstery

Malloy Foundation Inc. – 1955 Mercedes Benz 300SL Gullwing Coupe

Mayor’s Award

Calumet Collection – 1966 Lincoln Continental 4-Door Convertible

People’s Choice Award

Karen and Stuart Tanz – 1956 Lincoln MKII 2 Door Coupe

LJCDE American Icon Award

Jason L. Fisher – 1966 Shelby Mustang GT350H

Best Preserved of Marque Award

Russ Karlen – 1926 Lincoln Dual Cowl Phaeton

Phillip Wichard Memorial Trophy

Blackhawk Collection – 1947 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith Convertible by Inskip

Chairman’s Award

Peter Mullin, Mullin Automotive Museum – 1939 Bugatti Type 57SC Aravis Cabriolet

Honorary Chief Judges’ Choice Award

Rich Scharf – 1970 Datsun 240Z Sport Coupe

Chief Judge Award

Petersen Automotive Museum – 1929 Ruxton Model C Roadster

LPL Summit Best of Marque

Stan Lucas – 1929 Lincoln Aero Phaeton Dual Cowl Phaeton

The Mazda Cosmo 110S got the Best in Class among the Japanese retros

1A – American Classics (1925-1948)

  1. William Lyon 1930 Duesenberg J Murphy Disappearing Top Torpedo Convertible Coupe
  2. Larry and Susan Nannini 1933 Chrysler Imperial LeBaron C.C. Sedan
  3. Gary Marchetti1931 Packard 826 4 Door Sedan

1B – American Classics Open & Closed (1936-1948)

  1. Lloyd Cranford 1941 Packard Custom 180 Darrin Victoria
  2. John and Leslie Milliken 1939 Buick Roadmaster Convertible Sedan
  3. Crevier Classic Cars 1947 Chrysler Town and Country 4 Door Woody

2A – Lincoln Open (1917-1967)

  1. Academy of Art University 1940 Lincoln-Zephyr Continental Convertible
  2. Passport Transport 1942 Lincoln Continental Cabriolet
  3. Richard Greenfield 1966 Lincoln Continental Convertible

2B – Lincoln Closed (1917-1969)

  1. Ron and Sandy Hansen 1926 Lincoln LeBaron 4D Sedan
  2. Calumet Collection 1941 Lincoln Custom Limousine
  3. Calumet Collection 1937 Lincoln Model K 2-Window Berline by Judkins

3 – European Classics (1925-1948)

  1. Peter Mullin, Mullin Automotive Museum 1939 Bugatti Type 57SC Aravis Cabriolet
  2. Liliane Quon McCain 1936 Bugatti Type 57 Suisse-Graber Cabriolet

4 – Rolls-Royce & Bentley (1919-1966)

  1. Aaron and Valerie Weiss 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Convertible Coupe
  2. Dan Berg 1926 Rolls-Royce Park Ward 20 HP Coupe Convertible
  3. Blackhawk Collection 1947 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith Convertible by Inskip

5A – Ferrari 365 GTB/4 (1968-1973 Daytona)

  1. Dr. Jay Fallon 1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Berlinetta
  2. Paul Colony 1971 Ferrari 365 GTB Daytona Coupe
  3. Geoffrey Swortwood 1971 Ferrari 365 GTB4 (“Daytona”)Coupe

5B – FerrariAll Others (1949-1990)

  1. Charles Wegner 1959 Ferrari 250 LWB California Spyder
  2. Steve Kouracos 1973 Ferrari Dino 246 GT European Coupe
  3. Dr. Vance Shapley 1966 Ferrari 275 GTS Convertible
The three Daytonas were surrounded by a pair of Boxers

6 – Japanese

  1. Mike and Barbara Malamut, Malamut Auto Museum 1967 Mazda Cosmo 110S
  2. Mike and Barbara Malamut, Malamut Auto Museum 1964 Mazda R360 Coupe
  3. Scott King and Sandy Edelstein 1965 Honda S600 Roadster

7A – American Sports & Muscle: Camaro (1967-1973)

  1. Jim Mikkelson 1969 Chevrolet Camaro RS/SS Convertible
  2. Brian and Elizabeth Birkeland 1967 Chevrolet Camaro Convertible
  3. Jeff and Kim Phillips 1969 Chevy Camaro Z28

7B – American Sports & Muscle All Others (1953-1975)

  1. Harry LeKites 1967 Chevy Corvette Coupe
  2. Michael Coit 1957 Corvette Fuel Injected Convertible
  3. Delco Hagan 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle SS Convertible
Early Post-War Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS Cabriolet was voted the Best Italian Sports Car

8 – Italian Sports Cars (1918-1975)

  1. David and Susan Buchanan 1949 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS Cabriolet
  2. Dr. Perry Mansfield 1969 Lamborghini Islero S Coupe
  3. Susan Langley 1973 Alfa Romeo Jr. Zagato 1600 Coupe

9A – British Sports Cars MG through MGTF (1929-1955)

  1. Douglas Pelton 1946 MG TC
  2. Bob and Donna Hanselman 1938 MG VA Drop Head Coupe
  3. Schuyler Hoffman 1932 MG J2 Roadster

9B – British Sports Cars All Others (1948-1975)

  1. Tom Krefetz 1961 Jaguar XKE Roadster
  2. Marco de la Barrera 1962 Jaguar Mark II Sedan
  3. Colin Seid and Richard Annis 1948 Jaguar MK IV Drop Head Coupe
Pristine 190SLs line-up

10A – Mercedes-Benz 190SL (1955-1963)

  1. Aaron and Valerie Weiss 1957 Mercedes-Benz 190SL
  2. Bruce Iannelli 1963 Mercedes-Benz 190SL Convertible
  3. Glenn and Norma Chapin 1959 Mercedes-Benz 190SL Convertible

10B – Porsche 356 (1950-1965)

  1. Robert deRose 1964 Porsche SC 356
  2. Wayne and Nancy Baker 1965 Porsche 356C Reutter Coupe
  3. Ben and Joanne Wainscott 1965 Porsche 356 SC Sunroof Coupe

10C – All Others (19948-1980)

  1. L. Philip Lufty 1960 Mercedes-Benz 220SE Sunroof Coupe
  2. Anthony C. Barabas 1979 Porsche 930 Turbo Coupe
  3. Bill Ceno 1973 Porsche Carrera RS Coupe
Lola GT Mk6 was the percursor to the GT40 when Eric Broadley was involved in the initial development with Ford's Le Mans campaign

11 – Race Cars (1929-1979)

  1. Allen Grant 1963 Lola GT Mk6 Coupe
  2. Rory Ward 1977 Mickey Thompson Challenger IV Class 1 Unlimited
  3. Raffi Najjarian 1952 Siata 208 CS Spider Corsa Bertone Open

12A – Pre-War Motorcycles

  1. Mark Leonard 1929 Moto Guzzi Sport 14L Tubular Duplex Cradle
  2. Mark Leonard 1927 BMW R42 Tubular Twin Cradle

12B – Post-War Motorcycles

  1. Tim Stafford 1966 BMW R60/2 Motorcycle
  2. Mark Francois 1974 BMW R90S Motorcycle
  3. Cynthia Doolin 1972 Honda CL 450 Scrambler