By Raymond Rolak
PLYMOUTH, MI-- After more than 30 years of celebrating automobiles, design and fashions at Meadow Brook Hall on the campus of Oakland University, the Concours d’Elegance of America relocated to The Inn at St John’s in Plymouth, Michigan. The 2011 Concours, now on the grounds of the former Detroit Archdiocese seminary has a location that offers more space and support buildings.
The Inn at St John’s has 197 acres of rolling grounds for showcasing the world-class automobiles that traditionally grace the Concours. The convenient hotel at the Inn at St. John’s provides meeting rooms, banquet halls and an adjacent golf facility. This was perfect for the outreach seminars for the classic auto enthusiasts.
One of the visual and hands on displays was the offerings of American Speed Company. The new concept manufactures and fabricates an all-steel 1933 Ford style roadster. The whole design is made special with a folding roof and power side windows which makes it a four season’s car. “So many classic cars are for show only. These are for driving, sort of a living history,” said General Manager, Kevin McLoughlin. “We can put in the engine of your choice if you want real power,” he added.
Mark Trostle, president of American Speed Company was proud displaying the purple “Speed 33” in front of the Concours. “This was a custom build with lots of extras, so from start to finish, it goes at about $150,000. It has a custom leather interior, curved windows and stainless window stanchions,” said the former conversion specialist. “The real plus to the convertible is the top that stows under a hard tonneau.”
Cardinal Adam Maida (retired) was a welcoming ambassador as he mingled among the many guests Saturday. “We commissioned some old photos of the ground breaking and the initial building of St. Johns. Cardinal Mooney had great vision in the start of this development.”
The traditional features of the Concours such as the auto art show and RM Classic Auction of vintage motor cars was continued. A special feature of this years show was the collection of Indy-500 Pace Cars and antique racing cars on display. At the auction, prices ranged from $23,000 for a Model-A Ford to $57,500 for a Ford Fairlane Sunliner Convertible to $135,000 for a 1930 yellow 16-cylinder Cadillac.
Another highlight is the auto inspired art show. One of the spectacular disciplines was displayed by Tony Sikorski of Pittsburg, PA. His art-deco themed mixture of wood and stainless steel highlighted his showcase. “My high school teacher obtained a scholarship for me in graphic arts at the then new ‘Ivy School of Art’ in Pittsburg. My father instilled a passion for the automobile and that was my start,” said Sikorski. He and his wife Carol were recently featured as the cover story in an issue of Automotive Fine Art magazine.
Photo artist Jim Haefner had some spectacular posters including a shadowed B&W rare Scarab designed by William Stout. Jay Koka was commissioned to do the official poster for the 2011 Concours d’Elegance at St. John’s.
EDITORS NOTE: Raymond Rolak is a well traveled baseball historian and sports broadcaster.