3 October 2010

Santa Fe Concorso off to a great start

The Santa Fe Concorso is a premier automotive gathering of exotic and rare cars organized by Santa Fe-based car aficionados. Following in the footsteps of such well known shows as Amelia Island, the Quail and Pebble Beach, organizers are working to create a major car event in the Southwest. Based on the inaugural event on September 24-26, they’re off to a great start. Hagerty’s own Adam Martin was there and filed this report.

After a day of travel for many of the guests, the Santa Fe Concorso organization set aside a private welcome reception on September 24 for the entrants, judges and VIPs. The La Mesita Equestrian property played host to the reception while also being the location for the Sunday Concorso.

The welcome provided a feast for both our taste buds and our eyes with local southwestern cuisine and a small sampling of entrant cars. A huge hit was David Duthu’s 1925 Bugatti Type 35A Grand Prix car parked next to a Bugatti Veyron. Later in the evening the wine- and testosterone-charged reception lent itself to a random “gentleman start your engines!” moment. From the Veyron to a Bonneville salt flat race car, freshly burnt racing fuel was enjoyed by all.

Distinguished honorees Sir Stirling Moss and Al Unser contributed to the excitement. We were treated to storytelling and an inquisitive dose of Q&A from the motoring crowd. The biggest chuckle from the crowd came from each driver’s lack of interest to compete in the other’s racing ventures.

The slight nip in the air on Saturday morning quickly dissipated as soon as the road touring participants fired up their engines for a 100-mile rally through the Jemez mountain range. The county roads in Santa Fe are of such high-quality you could swear they just finished paving them the day before! The rising temperatures offered an ideal climate for open motoring; those trapped inside a cabin were left to peek outside of their windows at the cavernous canyon roads we carved through as we climbed on our way past 9,000 ft to the Caldera summit.

The Valles Caldera National Preserve is a dormant volcano crater formed more than 1 million years ago. It was also the site of our final turn-around. The 12-mile-wide crater is an amazing natural habitat for elk herds and wild turkeys. This particular range of the Valles Caldera has a variety of hiking and equestrian trails; needless to say, it was a wonderful turn-around location for the participants to stretch their legs, peer through some binoculars and admire Mother Nature’s creations. It also allowed for some good storytelling and carburetor-tuning tips for high altitude motoring.

With stories told, new navigators and a few new drivers in place, we headed down Highway 4 back to Santa Fe for an afternoon on our own. This was an outstanding amount of freedom for the out-of-towners who had never been to Santa Fe.

Sunday arrived with a glowing sunrise over the high desert of Santa Fe. The rock faces were lit up with deep tones of orange and yellow hues. The most noticeable surprise about the Santa Fe Concorso was the accessibility the owners had to the show field at La Mesita. We are all too accustomed to pristine golf courses with access limited to prevent too much traffic on the lawn. The La Mesita Equestrian Center, however, is used to another kind of horsepower and they welcomed the entrants to the show field as early as Friday. For the owners and mechanics who take great pride in perfection, this early arrival and placement gave them a weekend to dust, wax, and of course pluck the blades of grass from their tires.

With a far more relaxed morning to the Concorso, many of the participants enjoyed the shuttle ride from the host hotel to the show field. It was a welcome change to already have your car staged and ready for the day – a fact commented on by many of the owners.

For an inaugural event, the car selection committee gathered some amazing thoroughbreds, from a three-wheeled Morgans to a LeMans-winning race cars, all the way up to a new Rolls-Royce Ghost flanked by a 1925 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost. Best of Show went to Ralph Lauren’s 1955 Jaguar XKD Long Nose.

In addition to an amazing selection of automobiles, the Concorso gathered an all-star team of judges, including Britain’s most famous driver Sir Stirling Moss and the first lady of U.S. motor racing, Denise McCluggage. Our very own McKeel Hagerty also led a team of judges through the field of sports cars.

For an inaugural event, the committee behind the Santa Fe Concorso chose an outstanding venue that could accommodate their superbly selected show vehicles. The nearby Hilton Hotel was extremely comfortable and the show field was accessible for both entrants and spectators. The show is a pleasant departure from the strict rules of a golf course show field. The elegance of the equestrian center couldn’t be more perfectly suited to showcase some the world’s best automobiles.

2010 Santa Fe Concorso Winners

Best of Show
1955 JAGUAR XKD
Ralph Lauren, New York, NY

European Pre-War
1938 DELAHAYE TYPE 145 V12 COUPÉ
Merle & Peter Mullin, Los Angeles, CA

American Pre-War
1932 STUTZ DV-32 CABRIOLET
Bruce & Kathie McBroom, Santa Fe, NM

Post War
1958 CADILLAC ELDORADO BROUGHAM
Jim Hailey & George A Pelletier, Santa Fe, NM

Specialty & Race Cars Class 1
1951 FERRARI 212 BARCHETTA
Sherman Wolf, Amherst, NH

Tom Mittler Trophy
1925 MORGAN GRAND PRIX
Bob Pattison & Jules Fitsimmons, Mesilla, NM

Sports & GT 1930-1954
1937 SS JAGUAR 100
John Hewitt Murphy, Santa Fe, NM

Sports & GT 1955-1959
1955 MERCEDES-BENZ 300 SL COUPÉ
Dick Rotto, Santa Fe, NM

Sports & GT 1960-1964
1964 PORSCHE 356SC CABRIOLET
David & Mary Beth Kenny, Santa Fe, NM

Sports & GT 1965-1974
1967 JAGUAR XK-E
Dan Pendergraft, Los Ranchos, NM

Specialty & Race Cars Class 2
1955 JAGUAR XKD
Ralph Lauren, New York, NY

President's Trophy
1925 BUGATTI TYPE 35A GRAND PRIX
David Duthu, Seabrook, TX

Al Unser Award
1936 HUDSON DELUXE 8 BUSINESS COUPÉ
Bud Heblree & Doyle Seymour, Albuquerque, NM

Denise McCluggage Award
1951 FERRARI 212 BARCHETTA
Sherman Wolf, Amherst, NH

Phil Hill Award
1951 FERRARI 212 BARCHETTA
Sherman Wolf, Amherst, NH

Sir Sterling Moss Award
1955 MERCEDES-BENZ 300 SL COUPÉ
Dick Rotto, Santa Fe, NM

0 Reader Comments

Join the Discussion