There’s something inherently and wonderfully surreal about an automotive concours event. At its heart, it’s just a car show, but the most common venue is a beautifully manicured golf course. This is not a place where automobiles are normally seen. And the automobiles in question are far from ordinary as well; the best, most spectacular and most esoteric of classics are chosen, cars that are as much works of art as they are vehicles. In many cases, these cars are so beautifully restored that it’s a wonder they’re even allowed outdoors, let alone off of pavement. It’s a spectacle like no other.

Now in its 37th year, the Concours d’Elegance of America brought 300 cars to Plymouth, MI, for a world-class event on a hot summer afternoon. This annual event has gone through a number of name changes over the years; the last time I was here it was called the Meadowbrook Concours. The event has only gotten better over the years. A panel of 65 judges, including FCA Head of Design Ralph Gillies, retired Ford VP of design Jack Telnack, and automotive-media luminaries Jean Jennings, Frank Markus and Donald Perterson, selected winners.

This year’s Best of Show (European) was a 1937 Bugatti Type 57SC Atalante Coupe. The car, owned by the Patterson Collection of Louisville, KY, was fresh off of a Best of Show victory at the Keeneland Concours d’Elegance in Kentucky. Best of Show (American) went to a 1929 Duesenberg Model J owned by Charles Letts, Jr., of Bloomfield Hills, MI.

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Why it matters

37th 2015 Concours D'elegance of the Americas Exterior AutoShow
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37th 2015 Concours D'elegance of the Americas Exterior AutoShow
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37th 2015 Concours D'elegance of the Americas Exterior AutoShow
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Special collections at this year’s concours included a display of the cars of 1955, early Japanese sports cars, hearses and a “1980s Dream Cars” class. A trio of Bizzarrini prototypes, a replica of the Dymaxion car on loan from Nashville’s Lane Motor Museum, and a unique classic Bentley modified for wheelchair access were also displayed. Brembo sponsored a display of modern supercars, while Lingenfelter Performance Engineering hosted the class of drag racing cars. Prior to the event, a display of concours classics on the streets of nearby Northville was open to the public.

Proceeds from the Concours d’Elegance of America benefit JDRF, the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, and Forgotten Harvest.

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