The Keeneland Concours d'Elegance is designated one of the Southeast's top 20 events for the sixth consecutive year by the Southeast USA Tourism Society.  Combining the finest examples of classic and vintage automobiles with the spectacular setting and a pervasive friendliness delivers one the region's signature events for the motoring enthusiast each July.  The atmosphere is peculiar to southern events offering excitement with a definitive laid back pleasant pace.  

Show exhibitors drive up a tree lined lane through the middle of the show field to the trailer parking areas where the vehicles are unloaded and moved to the show field where most get a final wipedown to make sure the presentation is top notch.  A VIP lunch for car owners included decoration from our friends at Trawick & Martin that featured handmade Italian Umbrellas hanging from the ceiling and posters with vintage Italian motor scooters: the table center pieces were from the Trawick & Martin collection of automotive and aviation décor "” a perfect fit for a motoring festival.  Each entrant gets an event program that is a hardbound book with full color pictures and descriptions of the vehicles that is a marvelous piece reflective of the effort the car owners put into bringing the very best examples for display.    The comprehensive program alone is another example of the stellar organization and their appreciation of those that support the event through participation on a variety of levels, the respect for all is a refreshing aspect of that pervasive southern charm.  

Parking for the Cincy Motorsports Journal tow rig offered a view of the general parking area that services the 6500 or so show attendees; having attended every Keeneland Concours as a participant, I had not been exposed to how the public accessed the grounds; the parking is an expansive area with shuttles whisking the guests to the entry gates. No matter whether you are an entrant or spectator each guest is greeted with a smile and a genuine appreciation of their attendance and contribution to the mission of the Kentucky Children's Hospital, the event's beneficiary.

The friendly atmosphere of the Keeneland Concours emanates from the group of volunteers that works throughout the year to attend to every detail of the experience.  The cast of characters that produces the show are dedicated Car Guys and Gals that are long on character, experience and expertise.  Chairman Tom Jones and I got to know each other eliminating a vapor lock issue on his Ferrari 330 GT several decades ago; we had some fun with an MG-B racecar before a job transfer took me to another corner of the country.  Our next meeting occurred in the early part of the current century when we ran across each-other at Pete Corcoran's CARS restoration shop in Cleves; Tom had a Maserati Ghibli in the shop getting finished and I had a Austin Healey disassembled and ready for Pete to turn into an exemplary automobile; Since then we have enjoyed each-others cars and company at shows and races around the region.   Tom and his navigator/co-driver/spouse/co-chair Connie know their way around cars, motorcycles, toolboxes and all the fun equipment that goes with being an enthusiast.  Motoring events are best when conducted by those that know and understand the machinery and the car owner's mindset, the Keeneland Concours d'Elegance is a shining example of that philosophy in action.  

The display at Keeneland is always an eclectic mix of cars, motorcycles and significant watercraft that come together in an entertaining and informative experience.  This year Packard was the featured marque with a special display of Micro-Cars.  The Micro-Car displays featured Isetta, Messerschitt, Velocar and Vespa the best of class was a Henkel owned by Bjorn Golberg of Lexington.  The micro cars add life to the party with their unique shapes, engineering and passionate owners; Jeff Lane from the Lane Motor Museum in Nashville Tn. had several cars on display including the aforementioned Velocar.

The Best of Show was taken by the 1929 Stutz Model M Lancefield Coupe of Richard and Irina Mitchell from Montgomery Texas.  The Mitchell's have been touring the Midwest with several Stutz' this summer picking up Best of Show awards along the way with this stunning example of American ingenuity.  For 1929 this was a "Muscle Car" fitted with a supercharged 352 Cubic Inch Single Overhead Cam V-8 producing 185 horsepower that had benefitted from Stutz's prolific racing program.  The Chassis and drivetrain was constructed in Indianapolis by Harry Stutz; this car is one of five model Ms bodied in England by Lancefield, and the only one left that still has its original supercharged engine.  Rare and exquisite is an apt description of this car, thanks to the Mitchells for bringing it out for us to enjoy.

The 2013 Keeneland Concours d'Elegance will be held July 18-21 with Mustang being the Featured Marque, information on all the events including the Maserati Mingle presented by Maserati of Cincinnati, the Hangar Bash, Tour d'Elegance and Bourbon Tour are all available on the Keeneland Concours website.  Your next Concours d'Elegance opportunity in the region is the Dayton Concours d'Elegance at Carillon Park September 16, 2012, see you there!