If you thought the American day of Greenwich Concours was as good as it gets, you were only partially right. Because Saturday’s American car day was just the appetizer for the main event, Sunday’s Concours Europa, or Concours International as it has come to be known. While Saturday saw some very impressive cars and a strong visitor turnout, with a 1919 Locomobile Model 48 taking the top prize, it was only a preview of what Concours Europa would offer. And as Sunday rolled around, crowds from all over Westeros and the Iron Islands descended upon Greenwich’s Roger Sherman Baldwin Park to take in what has become the sole top tier automotive joust of New England.
And a tremendously fun day it turned out to be, with tolerable temperatures and barely a hint of clouds in the sky. Not only did Concours Europa lure the best cars out of the region’s collections out into the open, it also offered a solid mix of common classics with some obscure microcars thrown in for good measure. Which is just the way we like it. Sunday’s Bonhams auction also brought out strong crowds and some spirited bidding, with some interesting stuff going under the hammer. Auctioneer Rupert Banner was in top form as usual with a collection of vintage pedal cars bringing some impressive coin from the room and the telephones as Wayne Carini looked on, standing next to a green Tatra T87 in the auction tent. Let’s see what else turned out for this year’s Concours Europa.
This wonderful Aston Martin V8 Zagato from 1988, owned by Tom and Farelle Papadopoulos, was perhaps my favorite car in the field at Greenwich Concours 2013, and also one of the best surprises of the day. One of just a handful of examples in the US, this stunning RHD coupe was not the loudest car, visually, to appear at Greenwich this year, but in my eyes it was one of the most interesting.
Zagato enjoyed a busy decade in the 1980s despite most major manufacturers by now relying on their in-house design consultancies, having purchased them years ago. But I don’t suspect that anyone will seriously argue that Zagato’s design cues really shone through the distinctly 1980s design language of their cars. The usual Zagato styling cues are certainly there, though in a boxy 80s design like this one actually has to look for them. First is the bumperless truncated fascia with a longish overhang. Then there is the hint of a double bubble roof. A high shoulderline and a low wraparound windshield are there too. But Zagato’s influence isn’t exactly visible from a mile away with the Aston Martin V8. And when it comes to this particular design, the shape of the V8 Zagato doesn’t scream Aston Martin either, perhaps having more in common with the similar looking Alfa Romeo SZ.
A sharp Maserati Bora owned by Richard Klein and Walter Eisenstark, this was a great car to see at Greenwich. At times I wish most of the field was made up of not-particularly-famous supercars from the 1970s, and every few years that’s exactly how Greenwich Sunday turns out. I was kind of surprised that there wasn’t a Merak in the field, to serve as a comparison parked next to the Bora.
This was a spectacular Lancia Flaminia 2.8 3C Convertible from 1967. This example is owned by Donald S. Schwartzkopf, and was in excellent condition throughout. Lancias were fairly well represented at Greenwich this year, with no less than three cars on the field.
Best in Show for Concours International (or Europa, as it used to be called a few years ago) went to this amazing 1947 Ferrari 159S Spyder Corsa owned by James Glickenhaus. Yes, that James Glickenhaus. And yes, that 159S Spyder Corsa, also known as the oldest Ferrari still in existence. Glickenhaus bought this car in 2004 for upwards of $777,000, and has since had it restored. This is the second car made by Ferrari, with the first crashed example with serial number 001C lacking its original engine and containing many Ford parts.
This wonderful Alfa Romeo GT 1300 Junior Coupe was brought to the show by Richard Reina. This car was originally sold in Frankfurt by a dealer called Ernst Hanke, to none other than a CIA officer working there at the time. He sold it after about a year, and a little while later the car made its way to the US. The current owner purchased it just a few months ago from it’s second owner, and has since driven it in the New England 1000. Richard also owns a BMW Isetta that has last appeared at Greenwich Concours in 2009.
This lovely Simca 1000 from 1969 was one the most unexpected cars to come to Greenwich concours this year. Owned by Joseph DeGasperis, this car was in excellent shape inside and out, and is one of about ten of these in the US, if even that many. But this Simca was by no means the most surprising car to appear at Greenwich this year, as that honor went to the Trabant below.
That’s right, this is a 1960 Trabant P50, the first of its marque to appear at Greenwich. These were made from 1957 till 1962, and were equipped with a 2-cylinder two-stroke engine. I expected it to sound like a Japanese motorcycle, but this example was actually very quiet, much quieter than a ZAZ 968 in fact. And unbeknownst to most historians, it was the East German automotive industry that invented the smiley face, apparently. The “performance” of these early Trabants was quite limited, but later models could easily do highway speeds. I have a strong suspicion that this car was not trailered to Greenwich, so the owner gets bonus points for driving it on the interstate. In addition to all the bonus points for taking a Trabant to Greenwich Concours, of course.
A sharp 1974 BMW 3.0 CSL Coupe owned by Neal Heffron. These have been gaining in value over the past several years, and have really been embraced by serious car collectors. There’s also the factor of collectors buying the car they wanted as a kid, and in the mid-1970s this was as good as it got when it came to foreign sports cars. Well, aside from the Italians anyway. And the Italians didn’t come with a paint scheme like this, that’s for sure.
Here’s a 1971 Citroen SM, which just received a repaint in the original color. Of note here is a recently restored vintage roof rack, which is not something you see everyday on a Citroen SM. Assuming you see a Citroen SM every day.
Now here’s a nice Ponton cabrio, a 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300B owned by James and Janet Jones. Not a common classic Merc, around these parts anyway, and still a very affordable classic. Don’ expect to pay saloon prices for one of these, but they’re easy enough to find if you’re in the market for a Ponton.
This was without a doubt one of the most hoonworthy cars of the entire event, a 1979 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith II sedan. And not just because it’s a brown Rolls based on the Shadow. With a brown roof. Over light brown leather. Okay, so it’s really a combo of all of those three things, combined with the fact that these are now quite affordable cars, and can be found in just about any price range. These are now fully depreciated, and before they get their act together and start going up we should try to enjoy them.
This was a sharp-looking Maserati Sebring Coupe from 1965. This example is owned by Blake Stevenson, a noted Maserati collector who brings one of his cars to Greenwich just about every year.
The Neri & Bonacini Studio GT Due Litri Coupe was perhaps one of the more obscure cars to appear at this year’s Greenwich Concours d’Elegance, with just two prototypes made. Neri & Bonacini are arguably famous for producing rebodied versions of Ferraris including the Breadvan, but this effort, one of their last, is perhaps less known. The Studio GT was this coachbuilder’s attempt to create the perfect sports car, though just two prototypes were made before Neri and Bonacini went their separate ways. Owned by John Mastoianni and kept in unrestored condition, this example last appeared at Greenwich in 2009.
One of just three Lancias to appear this year, this was perhaps my favorite. This 1960 Lancia Appia coupe is painted in a wonderful shade of red, and was in great condition inside and out. This example is owned by Richard Klein and Water Eisenstark, who had at least one more car in the field this year.
It wouldn’t be Greenwich Concours without an appearance by one of these, a Lamborghini Countach from 1983. This example is owned by Robert Daddino.
It’s always a treat to see one of these beasts, a Bentley R-Type Continental Coupe. There are usually one or two of these at Greenwich every year, and this one was in spectacular condition.
I always like seeing 1980s Porsches at Greenwich, if for nothing else than to see a well kept example of a car up close, when it’s not zooming past you on the interstate. This immaculate 928 S4 from 1988 is owned by David and Henry Gioiella.
This wonderful Ferrari 275 GTB wore one of the best paint colors that I have seen on this model. Red is great and everything, but it really takes a rare color to show this popular lassic in a new light.
This was perhaps my favorite Ferrari at Greenwich Europa 2013, a stunning 1983 512BBi. I think this is the perfect color for these, as it suits the lines of the car nicely, and contrasts wel with the yellow fog lights.
Another Italian supercar in an understated color was this Dino Targa from 1974. This was a good year for Italian supercars in non-red colors.
No, this isn’t Herr Roy downsizing to something a little more city-friendly. This BMW Isetta 300 Polizei was very charming though completely unimposing as far as police cars go. Even the siren was neither loud nor scary. And how did this thing ever pull over (or catch up to) perps? The only way you’d know it was following you would be a blue beacon in your rearview mirror and a siren with a nice, soothing melody. Oh Germany. In just a few years these were traded in for 911 Targas that bombed up and down zee autobahn at triple digit speeds.
A nice example of a 456M GT, this was one of the newer Ferraris at Greenwich this year. It’s always nice to see one of these in concours condition, as these are rapidly drifting into used car territory, with plenty of abused example with deferred maintenance. I wonder why the owner bothered with a front license plate at all here. Once again, not a common color on a not so common Ferrari. This example was brought to Greenwich by Julius Cohn.
Bonhams’ Rupert Banner worked the room at the afternoon’s auction. High sales included $875,000 for a Pebble Beach-winning 1930 Bugatti Type 43, $825,0000 for a DB6 Vantage Volante cabrio (one of 29 built), and a Pierce-Arrow that went for $243,100. Other interesting sales included a 1968 BMW 2000 Coupe that was at one point owned by Ellen Burstyn and now looked like this, a Bentley Eight saloon that went for the price of a good DSLR, as well as a garage find Aero 50/BMW Special Roadster that’s sure to be a challenging project. The trio of RRs and Bentleys from the 80s was a sight to behold, and their selling prices were very much in four digit territory, which led to discussions as what anyone would want to do with them.
Perhaps the most unusual car in the sale was a wonderful green 1947 Tatra T87, which went unsold, with the initial presale estimates ranging from $150K to $180K. Upstate New York Citroen specialist Dave Burnham took part in its recent restoration (that incidentally also cost $150K) along with Alex Veronac up in Canada. A lot of time and money had seemingly been spent on the Tatra, though some noted that certain details could have been achieved to a higher standard. Even so, this one drew plenty of interest even though it ended up not selling, which is actually something that I had predicted the day before. Even though interest in Tatras is on the rise in North America (relatively speaking) the market for them is pretty thin, even at a venue like Bonhams Greenwich. I would have thought that if anything, it would have sold sight unseen over the phone to a museum or collector out west, but it appears that this is even more of a niche collectible than anyone had predicted. I expect to see it for sale yet again at an upcoming auction.
Wayne Carini looks on as the Bonhams auction continues.
No cars overheated in the afternoon sun, but some dogs certainly did. And by the end of the day everyone was tired but happy.
That’s it for this year’s Greenwich Concours d’Elegance. Check out the complete slideshow below:
[Images: Copyright 2013 Hooniverse/Jay Ramey]