The 13th annual Concours d’Elegance held at the Glenmoor Country Club at Canton, Ohio, near Akron, will be held on September 14th through 16th, and will spotlight Cadillac as the featured make. The poster for this year’s event depicts a 1936 Cadillac Aerodynamic Coupe parked on the lawn in front of the Club’s luxury 74 room hotel. The poster drips the lost elegance of the era.
But the best part is both the car and the background are still around, and the car will be on display on the lawn of the elegant and luxurious hotel at Glenmore this fall.
There are a handful of automotive concours which rate attention because of the quality of vehicles participating. At the top, of course, is Pebble Beach, held overlooking the ocean on the golf course of the same name. Close on its heels is Meadow Brook, held on the estate of the same name built by the widow of one of the brothers Dodge near Detroit. After that in rank, perhaps comes Amelia Island, at a Ritz-Carleton in Florida.
But in the rank right below that comes Glenmoor.
It is a premier event, by any standard.
The star of the show, the Aerodynamic Coupe, was Cadillac’s first venture into streamlining, a design theme which simultaneously asserted itself in both Europe and the United States in the 1930’s. Though most often associated with the Chrysler “Airflow” models, streamlining was considered by many to be the wave of the future in the mid-1930’s. Pierce Arrow had exhibited one of the earliest and most beautiful streamlined vehicles, the Silver Arrow, at the Chicago World Exposition in 1932, while the other luxury automakers of the time displayed cars which were much more traditional in appearance.
The Chicago Fair was such a huge success that the City of Chicago decided to repeat it for 1933, even though the original plan had been for it to be held only in the summer season of 1932. So, for 1933, Cadillac didn’t intend to be caught out again, and it created the Aerodynamic Coupe to exhibit at the Fair. Designed under the supervision of Harley Earl, director of what was then called the “Art & Colour Section” of General Motors, the Aerodynamic Coupe was less radical than the Silver Arrow or the Airflow cars that Chrysler would soon introduce. For example, it retained distinct front fenders and running boards, both features which were incorporated into the overall body in the Pierce-Arrow Silver Arrow and the Airflows. Nonetheless, the Aerodynamic Coupe was a tasteful exercise in styling, with a remarkable purity of line.
Unlike most other concept exercises of the day, the Aerodynamic Coupe became a production model, sold by Cadillac in both V-16 and straight 8 versions. The production car was almost indistinguishable from the concept car, echoing the lines and proportions of the concept vehicle.
But the Cadillac theme at Glenmoor isn’t limited to the Aerodynamic Coupe. Other Cadillacs on display will include a 1908 model, a 1941 Derham Town landaulet, and a 1930 auto show chassis owned by the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum.
Moreover, the Glenmoor Concours is not all Cadillacs.
There are, in addition, three other special collections on display.
One is early alternative fuel vehicles, which will include a 1911 Raush and Lang electric once owned by Thomas Edison and an early dual power Ford.
Another is cars from 1957. But instead of just the usual ’57 Chevy, Glenmoor’s display of ‘57s will star a Mercury Turnpike Cruiser coupe, a late production model with quad headlights.
And there’s also a display devoted to the ’32 Ford – the Duece.
Also on display: a 1932 Lincoln KB Judkins coupe, a 1921 Hispano-Suiza H6B Torpedo phaeton, a 1916 Packard Twin Six race car, and another 200 cars of pristine quality.
Apart from the Cadillacs, though, the highlight of the display may be the 1932 Auburn 8-100A boattail speedster and the 1932 Packard LeBaron town car. The Auburn is an early version, where the tail has an elongated top. The Packard is a very formal body, open above the driver, enclosed – of course – for the passenger. While the Auburn suggests a certain majestic disdain of dimension by the profligate son in the family, the Packard is the car in which the father who made the fortune would have been driven to his bank.
The setting of the concours is redolent of old money and luxury, as well. The Glenmoor Country Club features, apart from the obligatory golf facilities, a 74 room hotel that is primarily devoted to pampering its guests in ways that would impress even the Packard ’s passenger. Built in the 1930’s in the style of a Scottish Gothic castle – hence the name – Glenmoor’s hotel is the epitome of luxury. If you’re a real sadist, you can tackle the golf course. Jack Nicholson designed it.
But, this is about the cars.
All of the cars will be displayed on the Glenmoor grounds on Sunday, September 16th, which is also the day of judging. Admission is $25 at the gate or $20 in advance, with a family pass available for $60.