04/03/2012 The Desert Classic Concours, February 2012
Participants and attendees at the 5th annual Desert Classic Concours once again enjoyed the idyllic late February weather of California’s Coachella Valley. Two hours east of Los Angeles, the valley is the longtime winter destination of Hollywood stars and car aficionados seeking warm sunshine and an escape.
The Desert Classic Concours weekend kicked off on Saturday morning in Rancho Mirage, with a driving tour for concours entrants and enthusiasts. The 75-mile route headed out of town, winding along Box Canyon Road, before concluding for lunch at Cuistot Restaurant of Palm Desert. Chef Bernard, a serious vintage racecar collector himself, provided another outstanding meal for the tour.
On Sunday, the concours was held at the Westin Resort in Rancho Mirage, and featured exceptional automobiles from all eras: 356 Porsches were joined by 275 Ferraris, a Lamborghini Islero, XK Jaguars, Citroens, Alfas, and SL Mercedes-Benzes.
Early cars such as the Barney Oldfield 1906 Benz racer and the 1910 Mercedes were on display. A 1928 Aston Martin T-Type Bertelli Short-Chassis Sports, an Austin 7 special, and a 1936 Delahaye 135 Competition convertible by Figoni et Falaschi rounded out the pre-War sports cars. Not all the sights were on the ground, though, as the Tiger Squadron, flying Nanchang CJ-6A trainers, made several low passes in close formation.
Notable post-War cars included a 1963 Ferrari 400 Superamerica originally purchased by Nelson Rockefeller and a 1987 Rolls-Royce Camargue with a convertible folding hard-top.
Best in Show was awarded to the Ferrari 400 Superamerica; while at the opposite end of the Ferrari spectrum, the Peoples’ Choice award went to a Testa Rossa ‘bitsa’ in unfinished aluminium.