What is a concours d’elegance?

concours d'elegance display of cars

  • A formal display of antique and classic cars grouped by style or make that undergo precise judging to determine the best in class.
  • Extraordinary collectible cars presented in an exceptionally social setting.
  • An auto show conducted for the purpose of raising funds for charity through ticket sales, social events and driving tours.
  • An elegant car show where the cars are invited by a selection committee to most accurately represent a style, theme, marque or special display.
  • A gathering of up to 200 or more accurately restored or original condition cars, usually held at a nicely landscaped or spectacular location such as a park, golf course or estate.

Here’s what Wikipedia says:

A Concours d’Elegance (from French meaning a competition of elegance, lit. “concourse of elegance”, referring to the gathering of prestigious cars) dates back to 17th Century French aristocracy, who paraded horse-drawn carriages in the parks of Paris during Summer weekends and holidays. Over time, carriages became horseless and the gatherings became a competition among automobile owners to be judged on the appearance of their automobiles.

From the Edison Concours d’Elegance:

 Concours d’Elegance (properly pronounced kon-koor del-i-gahns) events began over 100 years ago in the parks of Paris, the Riviera and other elegant towns of Europe. The rich and famous of European society gathered to socialize and celebrate, as unique forms of art, the latest automobiles as well as the latest of women’s fashion and design.

These gatherings were called Concours d’Elegance, which term conjures up romantic visions of beautiful women in haute couture in a park like setting surrounded by sparkling automobiles. The early Concours were leisurely social affairs, where lighthearted competitors were rewarded with rosettes. However, man being the perpetual competitor, these events became more defined as time went on.Trained judges examine each vehicle thoroughly and in its entirety. They rate each and every component. Only those vehicles that are perfect examples are judged as Concours quality, and are considered eligible for a class trophy.

Dr. Cy Conrad, Chief Judge, La Jolla Concours d’Elegance:

According to Webster, “Concours” comes from the French, and means “a crowd or confluence of things; also a park promenade.” The term conjures up romantic visions of beautiful women in haute couture in a park-like setting surrounded by sparkling coaches, glistening groomed horses, gorgeous flowers, champagne, fine art and sculpture, and later, by the finest automotive art.

Man, being the perpetual competitor, has generally sought to triumph. Civilized chivalry, combined with grandeur, became the prevailing spirit of the Concours d’Elegance. Originating in the late 17th century, the early Concours was a leisurely social affair where light-hearted competitions among coaches and fashions were rewarded with rosettes, wine and champagne. As coaches and carriages segued into automobiles in the late 19th century, the competitions became more defined. By the mid 1920s, no society season on the French Riviera was complete without a variety of organized Concours events.

As the romance of the Roaring 20s and the refined elegance of the 30s gave way to the perils of world war, we find the demise of the Concours as it gave way to the bare survival of nations. Once the free world was able to right itself and move beyond subsistence, it was the troika of visionaries Jules Huemann, Reverend Paul Woudenberg and Loren Tryon who in 1950 created what was to become the grandfather of all post-war Concours—Pebble Beach.

From the Kuwait Concours d’Elegance:

“كونكورز دي اليجانس” للسيارات الفارهة هي حدث عالمي تتنافس فيها السيارات الكلاسيكية من حيث جمال االتصميم والاناقة.بداية المسابقة كانت في فرنسا فترة العشرينات من القرن الماضي، فبعد ان اصبحت باريس العاشقة للفن عاصمة العالم للثقافة،اصبح الناس مفتونون ببذخ عالم السيارات وخصوصا الدوائر الاجتماعية الراقية في المجتمع الباريسي والذين انجذبوا الى السيارات الانيقة واحدث صرعات التكنولوجيا.