The world of automotive Concours d’Elegance is a wildly and widely variable one. Wikipedia translates the French term as a “competition of elegance” (although “contest of elegance” is probably a more literal translation). Search most mainstream automotive media, and more than likely they’ll fixate on the elite, hoity-toity, 1-percenter world of ultra-rare automotive classics with dollar values that run into 6, 7 or even 8 figures that gather in central California’s Pebble Beach or in northeast Florida’s Amelia island, where flawless trailer queens are the norm and even spectator admission prices run into the benjamins.
Then you have the pauper’s grassroots populist lowdown alternative, the Concours d’LeMons, which, in their words, celebrates the Oddball, Mundane and truly Awful of the automotive world. In between these two extremes is the just-right, Goldilocks-and-Baby Bear Huntington Beach Concours d’Elegance. As their History Highlights page reminds us,
…its premise was not the usual Concours event that favors the elite marques of the automotive world. The Steering Committee, led by Founder, Bart P. McGrath, envisioned an event that would truly feature and favor all automotive makes whether Ferrari or Ford, MG or General Motors. The Committee understood that prince and pauper alike, all car guys have lavished time, effort and expense on their automobile or motorcycle of choice, and all entries are deserving of recognition. Moreover, whether a car guy, motorcyclist or cyclist; everyone has an appreciation for the broad spectrum of entries at the event. The Committee felt that a Ferrari owner would enjoy seeing the Fords and Street Rods. Likewise, a Muscle Car man would equally enjoy Mercedes or Maserati. Over the years, the Committee’s vision has been proven out time and time again…and…Comments from the entrants also validate the Event as they very much enjoy seeing the wide variety of manufacturers and builders represented.
For the uninitiated, Huntington Beach is located along the Southern California coast in Orange County, 35 miles south of Los Angeles, 90 miles north of San Diego and just northwest of Newport Beach. Huntington Beach’s naturally-occurring swells and waves make for excellent surfing, earning it the nickname of Surf City – which, in turn, inspired the 1960s number one hit song “Surf City” by Jan and Dean. The city is also mentioned in the Beach Boys song “Surfin’ Safari” and in “Surfer Joe” by the Surfaris.
Among the city’s main landmarks is its 350-acre Central Park located at 7111 Talbert Avenue, the venue for the Huntington Beach Concours d’Elegance.
The Concours’ sponsors include a number of local motorcycle and high-end car dealers, one of the Detroit 3 carmakers and a triumvirate from Toyota: Lexus, the Toyota brand proper and Toyota Financial Services. The 2013 iteration of the Huntington Concours featured a salute to Toyota and Lexus automobiles, with the latter’s LFA occupying a place of honor. The following year saw the immaculate, all-original 1994 Garnet Pearl Lexus SC 400 shown above win the Best of All Japanese Cars award. And what about the upcoming 2016 show? We hear that a fuel cell-powered Toyota Mirai and a quartet of Lexus vehicles will be present. Unsubstantiated rumors suggest that one of them might be the Caviar-colored LC 500 recently spotted at Lexus USA headquarters in Torrance, California and shown below.
The Concours will offer trophies for specific Toyota and Lexus classes. These are Class 28A for Lexus Sports Cars (IS, SC, LFA), Class 28B for Lexus Sedans (All Years), Class 28C for Toyota Trucks (Land Cruiser, etc.), Class 28D for Toyota Sports Cars (Supra, Celica, MR2, etc.) and Class 28E for Pre-1990 Vintage Toyotas. There is also a catchall Class 28 for Japanese Classics (excluding mini-trucks). Entry fees are $35 if paid in advance or $45 day of event.
A prelude of sorts to the Concours is the Saturday 4 June 2016 Rod & Custom Show, but, for Lexus and Toyota enthusiasts, the main event is the 31st Annual Concours & Classics, to be held on Sunday 5 June 2016, from 9 AM to 4 PM. Spectator Admission is only $10 to benefit the Huntington Beach Public Library’s Children’s Cultural Resource Center. The library is located at Talbert and Goldenwest adjacent to the Central Park show venue.