The long days of summer, with their inevitable vacation road trips, need not always lead to the mountains or the beach. For those whose passion is automobiles, events of endless variety present equally powerful attractions.
Spanning a broad range that includes formal concours d’elegance in country club settings as well as impromptu parking-lot cruise nights, there are gatherings to satisfy most enthusiasts.
By this point in the season, a few significant shows have already ended, but the calendar of major car, truck and motorcycle gatherings extends well into fall. The diversity is staggering: Loosely defined celebrations like the Woodward Dream Cruise in the Detroit area project the feel of a holiday parade, right down to the spectator-lined streets and tailgating.
Other events offer fans the chance to wander through acres of historic racecars. Admission prices are sometimes gasp-inducing and other times free.
The most tightly structured sort of event, a concours d’elegance, organizes vehicles into classes evaluated by judges for their authenticity, significance and condition. Here, spectators can appreciate the design and sculptural grace rendered as industrial art and cultural touchstones, all restored and often accompanied by captivating back stories.
Typically, extra attention will be directed toward featured marques, chosen to highlight an anniversary of the brand’s founding or perhaps a significant racetrack victory. In many cases, the proceeds of a concours go to charity.
Many of the events listed here are multiday affairs, with driving tours, concerts, public shows and classic-car auctions held over several days. Check the websites for schedules and attractions.
Forest Grove Concours d’Elegance
Sunday: Pacific University, Forest Grove, Ore.
Admission: $25 adults, $20 seniors, $10 ages 13-17, and children 12 and under are free.
A mainstay of classic-car activities in the Pacific Northwest, this concours in a campus setting will host more than 50 judged and exhibition classes this year, with a special emphasis on the 70th anniversary of Chevrolet’s Corvette and a century of the MG brand. Highlights include a concert on the Friday preceding the concours. forestgroveconcours.org
Aug. 11-13: Nürburgring, Nürburg, Germany
Admission: (euros, for adults) 35, or about $38, Friday; 69 Saturday; and 45 Sunday. Children 16 and under are free.
This famed racetrack in the Eifel mountains provides an ideal setting for the 50th anniversary of continental Europe’s premier historic racing event. Some 600 racecars, including open-wheel and sports cars dating from 1935 to 1990, fill the grids for demonstration drives and 11 races each day, and the paddock area is open to the public. oldtimergrandprix.com/en/
Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
Aug. 20: Pebble Beach Golf Links, Pebble Beach, Calif.
Admission: $475 adults ($575 starting Aug. 1). Children 11 and under are free.
A fortuitous combination of timing and location make the events surrounding this concours into a must-do pilgrimage for well-heeled enthusiasts. Aside from what is certainly one of the world’s most prestigious showcases of automotive taste and excellence — this year highlighting classic-era Mercedes-Benz cars and 75 years of Porsche — the adjacent weeks include auctions, the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion and a number of specialist gatherings. pebblebeachconcours.net
Historic Festival 41
Sept. 1-4: Lime Rock Park, Lakeville, Conn.
Admission: $145 for the full festival and $40 for Sunday concours. Children 12 and under are free.
Lime Rock’s Labor Day weekend events, including vintage racing, open with the Historic Festival Parade through scenic northwest Connecticut towns. On Sunday, the track is taken over by a judged concours with an emphasis on racecars and the Gathering of the Marques, anticipated to draw 600 vehicles. limerock.com/events/historic-festival-41/
The New York City Concours
Sept. 9: 72nd Street, New York City (between Madison and Fifth Avenues).
Staging an outdoor exhibition of precious classics in Manhattan is an ambitious undertaking, so the organizers of this concours wisely limited the entries to 30 cars and a dozen motorcycles on view from noon to 4 p.m. along a block of 72nd Street closed for the occasion. Not only is the display open to the public, so is the voting for the best of show winner.
Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance
Sept. 10: Radnor Hunt Club, Malvern, Pa.
Admission: $80 adults, $40 ages 13 to 17, and children 12 and under are free.
Pierce-Arrow and several categories of Lincoln Continental models, along with Laverda motorcycles, will be showcased on the club grounds in the verdant countryside near Philadelphia. The three-day gathering includes a barbecue and road rally, and Sunday’s activities feature a parade of horse-drawn coaches and a separate MotorSport Park area where visitors can display their own vehicles of special interest. radnorconcours.org
Sept. 10: Goodwood Motor Circuit, West Sussex, England
Admission: Adults 75 pounds, or about $96, Friday; £96 Sunday (Saturday sold out); half price for ages 13-21; and children 12 and under are free.
Topping the bucket list of enthusiasts around the world is the uniquely British historic festival that celebrates the motorsport era of 1948 to 1966 and is conducted in a period theme. (Please dress accordingly.) This year’s program is a tribute to Carroll Shelby and also celebrates 75 years of Lotus, but it looks forward as well with a race of pre-1966 Porsche 911 models running entirely on synthetic fuel. goodwood.com/motorsport/goodwood-revival
Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance
Sept. 17: Kemble, Ontario
Admission: (Canadian dollars) $69 adults and $45 ages 13-17. Children 12 and under are free.
Taking place somewhat north of most collector events, the well-established Cobble Beach concours benefits from the scenic golf resort surroundings of Georgian Bay, about a three-hour drive from Toronto. For 2023, the event will highlight 75 years of Porsche and 120 years of Buick. There are lighter moments as well: A Concours d’Lemons will be held on Saturday. cobblebeachconcours.com
Detroit Concours d’Elegance
Sept. 23: Detroit Institute of Arts
Admission: $45 adults, and children 15 and under are free.
Detroit’s concours, now under the management of Hagerty, the classic-car insurer and automotive entertainment brand, returns to its urban setting adjacent to the Motor City’s famed Woodward Avenue. A field of 150 vehicles will compete in 18 classes designated with themes like ’57 Heaven, Mopar Magic and Radwood Detroit. True to its Detroit roots, the concours has Ed Welburn, the former General Motors design chief, returning as chief judge. detroitconcours.com
Audrain Newport Concours d’Elegance
Oct. 1: Breakers mansion, Newport, R.I.
Admission: $175 adults, and children 12 and under are free.
The Breakers, a Gilded Age mansion of the Vanderbilt family, provides a historic backdrop for the young Audrain event. Noteworthy categories include three of 30 Under 30 classes for younger owners showing cars from 1950 to 1999 as well as a class devoted to Chrysler’s Forward Look era. audrainconcours.com
A.A.C.A. National Fall Meet
Oct. 3-6: Hershey Park (adjacent parking lot), Hershey, Pa.
There’s almost certainly something to please any enthusiast at the fall meet of the Antique Automobile Club of America. A much-loved season finale for collectors and restorers since 1955, it’s a mind-boggling sprawl of a swap meet with side attractions like a car corral where mainly postwar vehicles are offered for sale. The final day features an everyone-welcome show ranging from Brass Era models to modern classics. hershey.aaca.com/eastern-division-fall-meet/
Chattanooga Motorcar Festival
Oct. 15: The Westin Chattanooga
Admission: $65 adults, and children 12 and under are free.
The fourth edition of Chattanooga’s concours weekend will occupy closed-off streets of the city’s West Village section, where displays will showcase Ferrari GTs, a Roaring ’20s class of Stutz and Mercer cars, and examples from Porsche’s Luftgekühlt era. Road cars and competition vehicles will demonstrate their mettle on the Pace Grand Prix Course in the days ahead of the concours. chattanoogamotorcar.com
Hilton Head Concours d’Elegance
Nov. 5: Port Royal Golf Club, Hilton Head Island, S.C.
Admission: $85 adults, and students with valid IDs are free.
A long weekend in the South Carolina Lowcountry culminates in the Sunday concours where some 200 vehicles — with special attention paid to Classic Cars of Indiana and the 100-year history of BMW motorcycles — await judging on the fairways of the Port Royal Golf Club. The days preceding the concours include the Grand Motoring Film Festival and the Aero Expo. hhiconcours.com
The Concours at Wynn
Nov. 11: Wynn Golf Club, Las Vegas
A week before the city’s much-anticipated Formula 1 race, a very different sort of automotive activity will dominate the Las Vegas Strip: the Tour d’Elegance drive of winners and other entries from Saturday’s concours. The concours, with an expected 250 entries, will feature classes for hypercars and electric vehicles, as well as a judged category for classics. lasvegasconcours.com