3 August 2010

Forest Grove Concours shines in Portland

The tree-shaded grounds of Pacific University, 20 miles west of Portland, sheltered 303 antique, classic and sports cars for the 38th annual Forest Grove Concours d’Elegance on July 18, 2010. Once again the weather cooperated; the third weekend in July is historically one of the best weather-wise in western Oregon.

This year’s Best of Show cars were divided into four categories. Jim Friswold and Roger Orton’s 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K roadster – in a correct, if alarming, metallic plum color – took the prize for best Pre-War Classic. Best Pre-War non-classic was a tan 1938 Buick Special convertible coupe owned by Walter and Gail Palubiski. Post-War winners were an arrow-straight, maroon 1953 Hudson Hornet convertible belonging to J. McKinley and Ken Cook and an olive metallic 1964 Jaguar E-Type coupe owned by Mark and Julie Ganter.

There also was a return appearance by a former winner. Chief Judge Tom Armstrong’s Black 1936 Cord Phaeton, Best of Show in 1977, graced the program cover and returned to Forest Grove for the first time in 33 years.

An impressive mix of heavy metal classics was also on display, including enormous 1930s Packards, Lincolns, Cadillacs, Imperials and Cords. But mainstream metal wasn’t forgotten; the concours featured some lovely Tri-five Chevys and Fords (did they really sell that many continental kits?); modern sports cars, like Corvettes, Jaguars, Morgans, Triumphs and MGs; and ’60s muscle cars, customs and hot rods.

But it’s the one-offs that make a show really worthwhile. Forest Grove had several: a huge 1907 Peugeot 40 hp Labourdette Double Phaeton, one of two and sold new in Brazil; a 1954 Bond three-wheeled Minicar, which has an engine that turns with the front wheel; a bizarre 1959 La Dawri Conquest roadster that looked like a Corvette parked under a heat lamp; and an enormous 1919 Stanley steamer.

There was also a 1958 Edsel retractable (Ford didn’t make one, but they should have), an original 1909 Pope-Hartford speedster, in the same family for four generations, and the truly terrifying 1908 French Grand Prix-winning Mercedes racer. It set a flying half-mile record at Brooklands racetrack in England that year at 103.6 mph and sounded like a low-level pass by a B-17.

Produced by the Forest Grove Rotary, the concours has raised more than $1 million for local projects over the years. The 2011 event will take place on the third weekend in July, and as always, we expect fantastic weather.

Click here for complete concours results.

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