Hemmings Concours d’EleganceSeptember 15th — 17th
Hemmings Motor News is bringing the 11th Annual Concours d’Elegance to Lake George for the first time!
This three-day extravaganza will take place from September 15 to 17 and bring Festival Commons in the Charles R. Wood Park alive with stunning vehicles.
In keeping with the Concours’ tradition, the six featured marques will celebrate a notable anniversary, icons of American and European motoring, and a classification of automobile that is often taken for granted until needed.
The first of these six special classes will highlight the 50th anniversary of the introduction of the Chevrolet Camaro and Pontiac Firebird. Of the F-body siblings, the Camaro was the first to be announced on September 12, 1966, while the Firebird appeared at dealerships on February 23, 1967.
1969 Chevy Camaro SS396. Photo by Matthew Litwin, Hemmings Motor News.
During the infancy of what quickly became known as the pony car market, both models were designed as direct competitors against the wildly successful Ford Mustang, as well as Plymouth’s Barracuda, both in street trim and, just as importantly, within the sports car racing series, notably Trans-Am (though Pontiac’s effort in the SCCA series was initially rather limited). Their unit-body design was wildly diverse, permitting the installation of a boulevard-smooth suspension with a straight-six engine all the way up to a raging big-block engine and competition-tuned suspension. The class will showcase the first two generations of the famed F-body brethren from 1967 – 1981.
1968 Pontiac Firebird 400. Photo by Matthew Litwin, Hemmings Motor News.
Having honored a series of personal luxury cars in recent years, Hemmings will again do so by celebrating Buick’s Riviera. Although “Riviera” had been used by the Flint automaker since the 1949 release of the two-door hardtop Roadmaster, the name hit mainstream America as a stand-alone model in 1963 when it was affixed to a 1961 concept car dubbed the La Salle II. Passed over by – in succession – Cadillac, Chevrolet and Pontiac, the concept was pushed into production almost unaltered by Buick’s Bill Mitchell and Ned Nickles, who added both the high-torque Wildcat “nailhead” engine and tuned suspension; a performance-oriented option appeared a year later. While Ford’s Thunderbird may have launched the personal luxury car trend, it was Buick’s Riviera that immediately set the market segment ablaze. Altogether, Hemmings will compile a class of Rivieras from 1963 through 1973, which includes the polarizing yet no-less-stylish “boattail” body style.
1964 Buick Riviera. Photo by Jeff Koch, Hemmings Motor News.
Studebaker and it’s fair, to some degree, tend to be associated with the South Bend automaker with its line of economy cars from the mid-Fifties to the last one that rolled off the line (in Canada) in 1966; however, there was far more to the independent marque. Studebakers were originally designed for the upscale market, spearheaded, for instance, by the President line that has since become recognized as Full Classics by the CCCA (technically the 1928-’33 examples). Their family of automobiles included sports cars, performance cars and an array of coupes and sedans aimed at the middle class, not forgetting their line of trucks that catered to the working men and women who built America. It’s a heritage that’s not lost on us at Hemmings, and therefore we’re celebrating the Studebaker lineage in a class unto their own.
1964 Studebaker Hawk GT. Photo by Matthew Litwin, Hemmings Motor News.
In the October 2012 issue of Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car magazine, fellow senior editor Mark J. McCourt wrote, “It can be argued that, alongside Porsche and Ferrari, MG is the most popular sports car brand of all time. After all, The M.G. Car Company built sports cars from well before its formal registration on July 29, 1930, through its demise in 1980 — even returning for a spell in the 1990s-2000s — and those cars sold at such reasonable prices to enthusiasts around the world, that they are still very much loved many decades on.” He could not have expressed the love affair with the British automaker any better, and we felt it was time to celebrate America’s adopted sports car through 1980.
1936 MG SA. Photo by Jim Donnelly, Hemmings Motor News.
On April 25, 1929, Ford introduced their Model A station wagons, featuring, as an intricate construction material, maple and birch bodies built by the Briggs Body Company, the Murray Corporation and Baker-Raulang. Although the use of the once-living material had been a significant part of the auto industry since its evolutionary leap from horse-drawn carriages, the new Ford wagon – with its four-door styling, three rows of seats and a tailgate – was, in hindsight, a monumental step beyond the plain high-roof hacks that preceded it. The “woodie” wagon was born. In the ensuing years, the popularity of the woodie began to soar, with coachbuilt examples — at the time, trending to the luxury end of the automotive market — available based on GM, Chrysler, Packard, Willys, Hupmobile, Graham, Hudson, Studebaker and American Bantam chassis.
1947 Plymouth Station Wagon. Photo by Richard Lentinello, Hemmings Motor News.
Several manufactures eventually stepped out of the sales race both before and after World War II, particularly as the woodie wagon took on a life all its own in both styling and comfort. Aside from the sales-dominant Ford and Chrysler, Buick, Chevrolet, Oldsmobile and Pontiac, as well as Plymouth, Packard, and others, continued to produce what have become icons of American motoring. The last of the real wooden-bodied wagons rolled from Buick’s 1953 assembly line, and is fondly remembered by many and coveted by collectors. We’re honoring the true woodie station wagons in 2017.
Celebrating professional vehicles may seem out of the ordinary, but we’re paying homage to them in 2017. Consider this: Rarely are they appreciated until they are needed. Limousines, flower cars, hearses and ambulances have all been a necessity and – for the most part – were all coachbuilt cars until recently. As such, we’re honoring this array of vehicles from the dawn of the market segment through 1980 that have served our needs in times of joy, sadness and peril, with relentless reliability.
1972 Chevrolet Ambulance. Photo by Jim Donnelly, Hemmings Motor News.
Presented by Gullwing Motor Cars, the Hemmings Motor News Concours d’Elegance is also proud to welcome supporting sponsors Covercraft Industries, Thermo-Tec, and MPT Industries.
The six featured marques will be accompanied by the traditional classes, headlined by Full Classics (as recognized by the Classic Car Club of America), along with American Pre- and Postwar cars, American Muscle cars, European cars, Vintage Trucks and Preservation Cars. We are already accepting vehicles for consideration for each of the 2017 Concours classes. To submit a vehicle, please send full contact information, photos and a brief write-up about it to Hemmings Motor News Concours, Attn: Matthew Litwin, 222 Main Street, Bennington, Vermont, 05201, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about the 11th Annual Hemmings Motor News Concours d’Elegance presented by Gullwing Motor Cars, including tickets and accommodations, visit Hemmings.com/concours. For more information about Lake George, including activities and attractions, visit www.lakegeorgechamber.com.
For sponsorship opportunities, please email Jeff Yager at email@example.com, or call 802-447-9679. Vendor space is also available by emailing Trisha Grande at firstname.lastname@example.org.