The Nations most Relaxing Elegance
Words & Photos by Ezekiel C. Wheeler
Amelia Island, Villa d’Este and Pebble Beach are synonymous amongst car collectors as premier automobile events. Hosting everything from multi-million dollar auctions, rare vehicle gatherings and an assembly of who’s-who from around the world.
The Dana Point Concours d’Elegance, celebrating its 30th year, has also made it’s mark on the car collecting world, but not because the price of admission is palatable and not because they draw the same high quality cars to display as any concours in the world. Dana Point shines in the age-old Southern California tradition to kick back and enjoy the show. “Bring the kids, the dog, grandma and even the in-laws; this show was meant to incorporate everyone.” exclaimed Dana Point Concours d’Elegance President Jeff Spellens.
This year’s weekend festivities kicked-off with a Beach Cruisers event in the heart of Dana Point. Where everyone was invited to enjoy a day out amongst every type of dream machine. Hot Rods, Customs, Classics and Exotics filled town streets to the brim. In addition to the cars there were activates like, live surfboard carvers, musicians and even a play zone for the kids. No one was left out of this event.
Jeff continued to tell us about Dana Point’s attraction to collectors. “The reason we have such an impressive showcase is because this show is becoming a ‘Bucket-list’ for car enthusiasts. Everyone is here because they want to be here.” Who could blame them? Brilliant sunny cool ocean breeze weather paired with the stunning golf course of the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort; make this one of the most desirable car show locations.
You don’t have to sit back and gauge just how passionate Mr. Spellens is when it comes to talking about an event that has had his attention for many years as a spectator and only three years ago started working as a volunteer in the marketing department. Bare in mind the entire Dana Point Concours is produced and executed by volunteers. It is clear why Jeff became President; his infectious enthusiasm to keep the show growing and inspirational leaves a lasting impression with everyone he interacts with, me included.
Growing such an event includes a possible cruise for exhibiting vehicles next year and potentially even more premier vehicles for all to enjoy. This year included several new features like the Automotive Icon Award, an awards stage for winning class vehicles to take their bow before packed grandstands and a magnificent fly-over by several historical aircraft including a P-51 Mustang.
Dedicating this year’s main attraction as Legends of Le Mans certainly shows just how inspiring Dana Point can be. Seems rather appropriate since only the week before Le Mans celebrated it’s 80th running. Since getting a group photo of all the Le Mans winners and racers would be a historic and logistical nightmare, Dana Point would have to somehow make due with what arrived. Take for example Bruce Meyers’ (one of the worlds notable collectors and preservationists) brought along a few prized possessions to share with attendants. A 1979 Porsche 935 K3, which won first overall at the ’79 Le Mans; a 1960 Briggs Cunningham Corvette that placed eighth overall and first in class; and finally in honor of the recent passing of Carroll Shelby–Bruce brought the first ever production Shelby Cobra. Bruce took home the Automotive Icon Award signifying his contribution to the hobby and also for his never ending passion to keep these beautiful machines in our hearts and on the road.
Adding to the impressive Le Mans showcase were over 200 cars on display, everything from a historic Bentley racecar to a field of classic micro-cars. Dana Point took the initiative to set the field with well-kept examples for each competing class; Porsches, Ferraris, Jaguars, Mercedes, and several American classes included. This even applies to the rapidly growing motorcycle showcase. Exhibiting more than 50 of the finest bikes on the planet.
Having attended a few concours shows in my life I can say that the pressure was off when attending Dana Point. I felt like I could be my normal self like I am at local parking lot meets. No wonder why some of their volunteers have been involved since day one and have been coming back for 30 years. Dana Point is a slice of heaven for Southern California car geeks and is simply the most relaxing concours on the planet. No suit, no tie, no pomp and circumstance; just eager enthusiasm for the vehicles that inspire our dreams.
Bruce Meyer next to his 1979 Porsche 935 K3
Michael Hammer’s 1924 Bentley 8 Liter “Hawkeye Special”
Le Mans Porsche Penske Prototype Racecar
Le Mans Porsche Penske Prototype Racecar
Style meets machine with this owner of a Jag XK120
Porsche 917 Le Mans Racecar
Peter Mullin’s Voisin Aerodyne BEST IN SHOW
1959 Scaglietti Corvette Italia a Petersen Automotive Museum Collection
Le Mans Jaguar XKE Racecar
St. Regis Monarch Beach grounds