The seventh Concours in the Hills filled the Fountain Hills, Arizona, park with a cornucopia of automobiles and tens of thousands of people and raised an estimated $250,000 for the Phoenix Children’s Hospital. Organizers said this event has seen unprecedented and consecutive growth each year.
Scuderia Southwest, which puts on this and the monthly Scottsdale Motorsports Gathering, touted as “the best cars and coffee in the country,” proudly shared year over year results, reporting 1,052 vehicles, an estimated 30,000 spectators and a nearly $100,000 jump in fundraising.
The setting for the event is very pretty. Considering the Phoenix area is smack dab in the middle of a desert, Fountain Park is like an oasis, surrounded by mountains, the groups of cars are positioned around the large man-made lake, with the fountain itself shooting a jet of water, at 7,000 gallons per minute and reaching up to 560 feet above the surface. During normal days the fountain is on for 15 minutes every hour. For this event it was on the entire time.
The cars themselves were pretty fabulous. Clearly a collection of automobiles belonging to so many ‘snowbirds’ who burgeon the population of Scottsdale during the winter months. The event is not a formal concours like Pebble Beach or Amelia Island, there is beautiful iron, without the pretension. It felt like almost every type of high-performance, sports, classic, race, muscle, hot-rods both import and domestic was represented.
Tesla even had its own area and category. This seemed unusual after walking through the history of the combustion engine. Other cars were highly modified. There really is little to do to a Tesla. Overhearing a conversation between a spectator and an owner: “So have you done any modifications?” Owner answers, “well, I had the dashboard vinyl wrapped….”
The Concours in the Hills has seen great success because of the support it reccieves from the leading car clubs of Arizona representing Ferrari, Lamborghini, Porsche, McLaren, Maserati, Jaguar, Corvette, Viper, Ford GT, Lotus, Audi, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Alfa Romeo, DeTomaso, DeLorean, Mustang, Cadillac and many others.
Overall, a really terrific event.
Best of Show (tie) – Tom Malloy – 1956 Watson-DeBisschop Dirt Champ Car & 1962 Lesovsky Indy Roadster
Best Domestic – Al Meehan – 1971 Plymouth Hemi Cuda Best Import – Terry Larson – 1935 Jaguar SS90 prototype Best Club Display – Citroen
As you would expect, the event draws a lot of Ford Mustangs, Shelbys and otherwise (this past week including a nifty and rare Roush P51).
But you can never be quite sure what to expect, and while the numbers may not be huge — after all, the weekly Car Show on Eastern takes place at the same time just a few miles away — the variety of vehicles on display in the Shelby lot can be downright delightful.
And it’s not just the cars in the lot that are worth seeing. This past weekend, it was well worth your time to take a stroll along West Teco Avenue to see the vehicles parked just outside the lot.
Carlisle Events’ Winter AutoFest arrives in Lakeland, Florida, for three days of car festivities at the Sun n’ Fun Expo Campus from February 21-23. Known for its something-for-everyone offerings, the AutoFest features special displays, celebrity guests and, of course, plenty of vendors, swap meet and a flea market with collectibles, merchandise, home goods, automobilia and the sundry parts and pieces needed for DIY restoration projects.
There’s also a two-day collector car auction
February 21-22 featuring more than 400 vehicles for sale, including an
all-Corvette themed hour February 22. In addition, there is a car corral with
vehicles for sale by owner.
Returning features include the 42nd annual NCRS Winter Regional Corvette Meet, the free cruise-in, Corvette and Mustang displays, and vendors. New this year is a major Mopar presence with all sorts of Chrysler, Dodge, Plymouth and other Mopar brands displayed, as well as seminars, vendors and swap meets.
Two other special displays will feature
race-prepped cars, including the rare appearance of a Ferrari FXX-K hybrid
racer, and a 50th anniversary gathering of 1970 model year cars and
The Greenwich Concours d’Elegance has announced
its 8 featured classes for its 25th anniversary event May 29-31 at
Roger Sherman Baldwin Park, overlooking the Greenwich, Connecticut, harbor on
Long Island Sound.
The classes are: Shelby vs. GM; 100 Years of Duesenberg; 70 Years of Allard; Right Coast Rods; Lancia; Vintage Off-Road; 25 Years of Greenwich Concours – a display of vehicles from the first event; and Four or More Cylinders, a motorcycle class.
The event will continue its tradition of featuring
back-to-back concours but will introduce a new Concours de Sport on Saturday
that celebrates race cars and sports cars with an emphasis on speed and
performance, according to a concours news release. On Sunday, the traditional
Concours d’Elegance will spotlight both domestic and international vehicles,
emphasizing the best of design and craftsmanship.
The Greenwich Concours was acquired by the Hagerty collector car insurance and valuation company last fall from the Wennerstrom family, which founded the event.
“The Concours de Sport is an exciting addition to an already first-rate show,” said McKeel Hagerty, chief executive of Hagerty and chairman of the Greenwich Concours. “Fans can expect a fantastic best-of-the-best field for the traditional Sunday Concours d’Elegance but Saturday will bring a whole different vibe, centered around fun, fast cars.”
Peter Brock, one of the most-influential American race-car designers and team owners, will be celebrated with the 2020 Lifetime Design Achievement Award from EyesOn Design, which will present award to Brock June 9 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
“Brock was chosen by a group of top automotive designers for his outstanding career in vehicle design,” EyesOn Design said in a news release. “Besides his successful racing team, Brock Racing Enterprises (BRE), he is perhaps most known for his work on the XP-87 Corvette Stingray Racer and the Shelby Daytona Coupe.”
The award is unique in that the selection is made
by the previous winners of the award, which include automotive designers from
around the world.
The 2020 EyesOn Design commemorative poster was created by artist and designer Michael Goettnert. The official unveiling will be February 20 at 9:30 a.m. at the EyesOn Design office inside the Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology in Grosse Point Park, Michigan.
The 33rd annual EyesOn Design
Automotive Design Exhibition takes place June 21 at the Edsel and Eleanor Ford
House in Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan.
The International Drive History Conference, the first event of its kind known to have taken place in North America, is scheduled for April 23-25 to bring together scholars, practitioners, hobbyists, students and others, who are interested in the history and preservation of motor vehicle heritage.
The conference, hosted by the Historic Vehicle Association at its headquarters in Allentown, Pennsylvania, is designed for exchanging ideas about the preservation of motor vehicle heritage.
Bill Warner, chairman and founder of the Amelia Island
Concours d’Elegance, will speak at the conference about his latest book, Cuba’s
Car Culture. Warner will be joined by Barnfind
Hunter host Tom Cotter in explaining how the country’s automotive culture has evolved
since the Cuban Revolution of 1959.
The 7th annual Concours in the Hills,
the popular and diverse car show in Fountain Hills, Arizona, takes place
Saturday, February 8, with nearly 1,000 collector cars expected to group around
the famous fountain, one of the tallest in the world.
The show is known for its wide-ranging entries, from
pre-war classics and ’50s cruisers to 21st Century exotics from such
brands as Ferrari, Lamborghini and McLaren.
Concours in the Hills is the largest show of its type in Arizona, according to organizers Scuderia Southwest, and it brings in cars from surrounding states as well as the local area. Fountain Hills is situated just east of Scottsdale on the edge of the Tonto National Forest.
Admission is free for spectators. For more information, visit the event website.
More Concours and events
The 56th Annual Darryl Starbird Car Show takes place February 14-16 at River Spirit Expo Square in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and is billed as the largest indoor car show in the country, plus outdoor cool car corral, celebrity appearances, live music and motorcycle stunts. For more information, visit the event website.
More than £70 million worth of classic cars from some of the world’s most prestigious marques will be gathered under one roof at this year’s London Classic Car Show on February 20-23. Now in its sixth year, the event will showcase about 500 classic cars at its new home of Olympia London, with many cars available for purchases. For more information, visit the event website.
Two new events have been added to Beaulieu’s popular Simply range of car shows with Simply British Classics on September 20 and Simply BMW on July 19 joining the packed 2020 line-up at Beaulieu Abbey that includes the new Simply Electric, plus Simply Audi, Simply Aston Martin, Simply Jaguar, Simply Land Rover, Simply Ford, Simply Japanese, Simply VW, Simply Mercedes, Simply Porsche and Simply Smart. For more information, visit the event website.
Do you have a totally unexceptional vehicle? Now’s your chance to show it off as the Festival of the Unexceptional hosted by Hagerty UK opens for applications February 14 for its July 25 show at Grimsthorpe Castle, Lincolnshire, UK. Show cars will be chosen on the basis of their being quite ordinary and mundane. For more information, visit the event website.
It all started in 1949 near the Circle Diner in Oakland, California, when Al and Mary Slonaker were driving by and saw a bunch of hot-rodders hanging around. The Slonakers stopped to ask the hot-rodders if they would show their cars at the Oakland Exposition building.
They did and the show was so popular that the next year they named it the Grand National Roadster Show because, as AutoWeek put it, “ “hot rod” was about the same back then as “hooligan punk” is considered now.
The hot-rod phenomenon began in the 1940s when soldiers returned from World War II with ambitions to begin their post-war lives. The vets still had memories of working on fighter planes and jeeps, so hot rodding old cars became a hobby, an outlet for their vast mechanical knowledge.
The war was over. There was prosperity and a youth culture in which ducktail hairdos, pork-chop side burns and V-neck T shirts were as important as the fantasy cars that were being built and driven and raced.
Thanks to Al and Mary Slonaker, the Grand National Roadster Show, now in its 71st year, serves as a platform for the creativity and passionate if hard work that these talented automotive enthusiasts possess. The event is the world’s longest continually running indoor car show and lately has been produced at the Fairplex in Pomona, California, appropriately located adjacent to the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum dedicated to the sport of hot rodding.
From January 24-26, over 490 world-class roadsters, hot rods, muscle cars and customs were showcased in 8 exhibit halls in front of more than 50,000 spectators.
Since I got my start in drag racing photography, shooting for Hot Rod Magazine and Car Craft in the mid-‘70s (“Age is a state of mind,” said father Al Koby), I was particularly excited and nostalgic to enter building #9, “Drag Racing Then and Now.” Showcased there were drag cars from the early days to the present from Lions, OCIR, Irwindale and Pomona with Dragsters, Funny Cars, Pro Stocks, Fuel Altered, Pro Mods, Super Gas, Wheel Stander’s and the 1977 NHRA Championship winning Top Fuel dragster of Shirley Muldowney (the first women to nab the NHRA professional crown).
To be eligible for America’s Most Beautiful Roadster, a car must have a removable top, no roll-up windows, a removable windshield, and be based on a 1936 or earlier body style and, of course, have to move under their own power.
Last year, when I entered building 4, I said it was like entering a museum. This year, as I entered the same building, I thought that the creators and builders of these incredible works of art must have “sold their souls” as budgets do not seem a consideration. The judges scrutinize the machinery for body fit and finish, paint, engine, interior, chassis/undercarriage and overall design and flow.
This year there were 10 contenders for the prestigious AMBR Award, all vying to have their name inscribed on the 9 1/2- foot perpetual trophy and to pocket the $12,500 prize. S
Among the competitors for the AMBR Award included a stunning 1932 Ford Highboy Roadster by Gary Mower, a striking 1915 Model T built by Walter Sigsbey, Gary DeVine’s 1932 Ford Roadstter Pickup with an oirginal Deuce grille, and a 1932 Ford Roadster by the late Ken Katshio from Japan finished in “Boyd Red.” A number of friends had made sure Katshio’s roadster was completed and made it to Pomona.
Winning AMBR honors for the best “open” hot rod in the country was Monte Belsham, from Canada, for his black and orange and red-flamed 1932 Ford Roadster ’32 Kugel Muroc No. 4 powered by an LS1 with Hillborn injection and a 41.60-E transmission.
The Al Slonaker Memorial Award, that also had a matching $12,500 prize, went to Ron and Vicki Emsberger for their attractive Ferrari-red 1936 Willys Model 77 housing a 498cid Arias V6 Hemi mated to a Tremel TKO 5-Speed.
John Buck, producer of the show, said, “Monte Belsham’s ‘32 Ford Roadster and Ron and Vicki Emsberger’s ‘36 Willys fit the bill as some of the all-time greats in their respective classes.”
And, as a tribute to Nicole Meguiar, late daughter of long-time car-care products manufacturer and enthusiast Barry Meguiar, the annual pinstripe’s auction raised $50,000 for Teen Challenge, Nicole’s charity.
Overcast skies did little to deter lots of American muscle, including GT40 and Cobra movie cars, along with race cars and sports cars, from having a presence on the parking structure at the Petersen Automotive Museum, named for the famous publishing magnate. A panel discussion gave attendees first-hand stories of Carroll Shelby and Ken Miles and lauded the movie, Ford v. Ferrari, which is up for a Best Picture Academy Award.
Event host and museum board member Bruce Meyer commented, “Le Mans is the most important motor race in the world – it’s the only one that matters. It’s the Super Bowl, World Cup, Olympic Games of motorsport. That movie is so important. Even people who have no interest in motorsport, when they got done with (Ford v. Ferrari), they sure realized how important Le Mans was, and is today.”
The esteemed panel included Go Like Hell author and Wall Street Journal columnist, A.J. Baime, who’s book influenced the movie; Peter Brock, the renowned racer-car designer who designed the Shelby Daytona Coupe and ran Shelby’s racing school; Allen Grant, Team Shelby race driver; Peter Miles, former competition boss for Toyota Offroad, consultant on the film and the son of Ken Miles; Charlie Agapiou, crew chief for Ken Miles; Aaron Shelby, grandson of Carroll and board member of the Shelby Foundation; and Speedvision pioneer Lenny Shabes, a close friend of Shelby’s.
The panel agreed that a few of the characterizations were victim of Hollywood embellishment. Phil Remington, who notably fabricated for Shelby and Gurney’s All American Racers, was a lot of the technical mastermind behind the Le Mans-winning cars, and was not given as much credit as he should. Peter Brock alluded, “I don’t think there would have been any championships for America without Phil Remington.”
Further, of Ford Racing boss Leo Beebe, the panelists felt he was vilified more than the person and motorsports leader that he was. During that part of the question and answer, Petersen historian and curator, Leslie Kendall, displayed a poster of Beebe, Henry Ford II and FIAT boss Giovanni Agnelli, conversing at Le Mans. Bruce Meyer held the poster with NAME for all to see. Apparently though, it was said that Shelby had said he would never forgive the Ford racing boss for what he did to Ken Miles, insisting on the side-by-side finish of the GT40s which actually gave the win to Bruce McLaren and Chris Amon, who had started the race further down the grid and thus covered slightly more distance in the 24 hours.
An awkward and funny moment came as Allen Grant spoke of a dinner years ago with Shelby and driver Bob Bondurant, with the two debating over who had been married the most times.
Shabes chimed in with a Shelby anecdote from a long ago conversation, “I married a couple girls ‘cause I loved them, I married a couple girls ‘cause I had fun with them, I married a couple of girls to keep them in the country, and that’s when I lose track!”
Superformance, which built many of the Cobras in the feature film, had a number of those cars on display. There was literally a sea of Mustangs, Shelbys of all kinds, and very interesting period racing cars, including a “longtail” Porsche 906.
Add to the cars, a number of notable automotive and Hollywood celebrities mingled anomalously in the, “sea of people,” as Bruce Meyer described it.
The panel discussion was followed by an autograph session. Meyer himself was so impressed with the huge turnout that he interrupted his own opening remarks to take a picture of the gathered crowd.
FCA Heritage, the in-house car collection of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, will send several of its vehicles and a photography exhibition to the 38th Automotoretro Motor Show, taking place January 30-February 2 in the Lingotto Fiere exhibition halls in Turin, Italy.
FCA Heritage will be among 1,200 exhibitors at the event, which launches the 2020 classic car calendar in Europe.
Included in the Fiat Chrysler display will be a 1910 A.L.F.A. 24 HP, the first vehicle manufactured by the then-new Societa Anonima Lombarda Fabbrica Automobili; a 1928 Alfa Romeo 6C 1500 Super Sport that won the 2019 Mille Miglia vintage event; a 1980 Fiat Panda 30, being showcased with a 2020 Fiat Panda Trussardi as part of the Panda’s 40th anniversary; and a 2020 Alfa Romeo Giulia.
Also on display will be the new line of “Heritage Parts” being produced for the restoration of vintage FCA vehicles.
For more information on the Automotoretro show, which includes the 11th annual Automotoracing event, visit the show website.
through innovation” is the theme for the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance as
it celebrates its Silver Anniversary in March, and four towering motorsport and
auto-industry visionaries and innovations have been chosen to represent the
Each of the four will be
honored during the 25th annual edition of the Florida concours with
judged classes and displays.
“In each instance, a culture has been created within these organizations that accept only the very best,” Bill Warner, founder and chairman of the Amelia concours, said in a news release. “The result is people who see themselves as members of an elite corps and work consistently to that high standard.”
The four visionaries
include this year’s concours honoree, “The Captain” Roger
Penske, the race driver turned owner of the Team Penske racing team with a
remarkable record of wins that include 18 Indianapolis 500 victories.
Penske’s many successes as a driver, team owner and business leader will be highlighted, including a display of five Team Penske cars that won Indy.
Visionary honors also will be bestowed on the Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrow cars that dominated grand prix racing from 1937 to 1939, transcending the political chaos of Germany that would plunge the world into war. A new generation of Silver Arrows won the 1952 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 1954 and 1955 Formula 1 World Championships and the 1955 World Sports Car Championship.
management shaped a new code of race car development and team organization that
still echoes in the 21st Century,” according to the Amelia
concours news release.
A signature class of
Silver Arrows of Mercedes-Benz will be featured at the concours.
A Cars of Harley Earl class will feature key examples from the legendary design chief for General Motors, best-known today for leading the development of the iconic tailfins of the 1950s.
“Eight decades ago, General Motors’ Art & Colour Section was the auto industry’s first attempt to invest the business of creating and selling automobiles with aesthetics as a marketable commodity,” the concours notes. “GM chief Alfred Sloan put Harley Earl in charge, and Earl changed the car business forever.”
The 50th anniversary of the first of 19 overall victories by Porsche in the world’s most important and prestigious sports car race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, is the fourth piece of the visionary classes. The class marks the development and successes of such cars as the groundbreaking Porsche 917 that dominated Le Mans until the rules for endurance racing were rewritten for 1972.
After that, the mighty
Porsche 917s made their mark in North America’s unlimited Can-Am Championship,
partnered with Team Penske and with turbocharging that produced massive
Other featured classes for the Amelia Island Concours, with events starting March 5 in the run up to the main concours on March 8, include the centenary of the birth of Italian coachbuilder Sergio Scaglietti, whose famed designs include the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO; the Rolling Bones class focusing on the origins of American hot rodding; mid-engine Chevrolet Corvette concepts; Motorcycles of Complexity; and the “That’s Cute” class of stylish minicars.
Winning Amelia, an hour-long TV program showcasing the 2019
Amelia concours, including clips from previous events, premieres January 28 at
9 pm EST with a replay at midnight on NBCSN, the NBC Sports Network. For more
information, check local cable listings.
More Florida concours news
The 100th anniversary of Duesenberg
will be featured as Marque of the Year for the 14th annual Boca Raton Concours d’Elegance, with events held February 7-9 in Boca
The concours is the world’s largest such event
owned by charity, in this case, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County,
for which it has raised more than $10 million since its founding.
The 7th annual Concours in the Hills, the
popular and diverse car show in Fountain Hills, Arizona, takes place on Saturday,
February 8, with nearly 1,000 collector cars expected to group around the famous
fountain, one of the tallest in the world.
The show is known for its wide-ranging entries, from
pre-war classics and ’50s cruisers to 21st Century exotics from such
brands as Ferrari, Lamborghini and McLaren.
Concours in the Hills is the largest show of its type
in Arizona, according to organizers Scuderia Southwest, and it brings in cars from
surrounding states as well as the local area.
Fountain Hills is situated just east of Scottsdale on the edge of the
Tonto National Forest.
The dramatic opening of the show takes place at 10 am with a group of famous race drivers who live in the Phoenix area – including two-time Indy 500 winner Arie Luyendyk, Daytona 24 Hour winner Didier Theys, F1 driver Derek Daly, Indycar drivers Paul Tracy and Lyn St. James, and Mirage driver and team owner Harley Cluxton – announcing “Gentlemen, and Ladies, Start Your Engines,” at which time all the cars fire up and rev their motors in a ground-shaking demonstration.
Admission is free for spectators. For more information, visit the event website.
The 84th annual convention of the Antique Automobile
Club of America will be held February 6-8 at the Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown
Hotel in Philadelphia.
Events include a
trade show, seminars, receptions and dinners, awards banquet, a tour of
Philadelphia, youth programs and pinewood derby racing.
A massive fan event
entitled “The Road to F9” takes place January 31 in Miami with a rolling party,
featuring music by “global
superstars” and celebrity appearances, as Universal
Pictures releases the all-new trailer for the ninth chapter in the Fast and
Performing their biggest hits will
be Cardi B, Wiz Khalifa & Charlie Puth, Ozuna and Ludacris, with the
multiplatform event hosted by F&F star Tyrese Gibson and Maria Menounos.
Special appearances will be made by “series godfather” Vin Diesel, F9 director Justin Lin and stars Michelle Rodriguez, Jordana Brewster and Nathalie Emmanuel, along with newcomer John Cena.
F9 is scheduled to open nationwide on May 22. For more information, visit the event website.
More than 12,000 people turn out for show that drives ‘the next generation of car lovers’
Formerly known as the Future Classic Car Show, the ClassicCars.com-sponsored event that kicks off Arizona Auction Week 2020 was rebranded this year as the Future Collector Car Show. The change in name and emphasis for the 5th annual show was from the cars to the collectors.
And it obviously worked as a record of more than 12,000 people attended the Sunday afternoon event to see the 150 cars showcased along High Street, an upscale shopping district in north Phoenix.
The show’s mission is to drive the next generation of car lovers and one way to do that was to make more cars eligible for the show and by revising the categories in which cars would be judged and awards would be presented. Also taking part in the show and the judging were such celebrities as Fielding Shredder of Netflix’ Hyperdrive, Formula Drift judge Ryan Lanteigne and Formula Drift competitor Andrew Schulte.
Best of Show honors went to Timothy Eull for his 1993 Mazda RX-7 presented in R1-spec and in Competition Yellow Mica colors. Of 14,000 RX -7s sold in the U.S., only 350 were both R1-spec and wearing that yellow shade.
Eull made his car even more special with personal touches and period-correct modifications. Several of his modifications were done with products from RE Amemiya, a company founded in 1974 by the pioneer in tuning rotary-powered engines, Isami Amemiya in Tomisato Japan.
Eull created a true Mazda masterpiece, including the signature
on the dashboard of RS-7 FD3S project manager Takaharu Kobayakawa.
With a huge smile on his face, Eull said he found the “explosive” nature of the rotary engine quite exciting. Many share his sentiment as we’ve seen an increase in buyer interest in these Mazda sports cars.
As Future Collector Car Show chief judge Andy Reid put it,
“If you are looking to add a car to your collection, you need to buy an FD
While Best of Show remained the top award, while Best Restored, Best Preserved, and Best Modified honors were added to highlight the variety of conditions these enthusiasts prefer for their vehicles.
The Best Preserved award went to a 1988 BMW M3 Evolution 2,
number 330 of only 500 produced and a car recently imported from the UK with
less than 32,000 original miles owned by Brian Abraham. Judges said the car was a perfect example of
why the revised awards focused on the condition of the vehicle and the concept
the owner was trying to achieve.
To highlight the efforts of the younger car owners, Rookie of the Year was introduced for participants 25 and under and was judged by Formula Drift Judge Ryan Lanteigne. Johnny Juarez won for his highly modified wide-body 2014 Subaru WRX. Lanteigne said he was especially impressed that Juarez had done most of the modification himself.
“When choosing the Rookie Of The Year Award, first I looked
for cars with attention to detail both inside and out. Then I spoke to the
owners to find out how much they had done on their own,” guest judge Ryan
Lanteigne said. “When I saw the amount
of work done to Johnny’s Subaru and he told me about the hand-made pieces inside
and out, his level of enthusiasm, creativity and hard work caught my attention.
That hard work and the eye-popping final product were fully deserving of the
Rookie of The Year award.”
With many of the entries fitting the Best Modified category, two guest judges were assigned to comb through the competition. ClassicCars.com-sponsored Formula Drift driver Andrew Schulte partnered with Hyperdrive competitor Fielding Shredder to present the trophy to Nick Hammon and his 1992 Mazda Miata.
Originally Hammon’s track car, the Miata was redone into a
show-quality competitor. Hammon even paid attention to details that most people
cannot see, such as polishing the car’s oil pan.
With so many cars eligible for Best Modified honors, second and third place also were awarded. Second went to Jhae Pfenning and his self-designed “fighter jet” wrap for his 1997 Acura NSX while third was awarded to the Voodoo Ride green wide-body 2009 Nissan GT-R owned by Jose Flores and driven to the show by wife Shiela Flores.
In previous years, only cars produced since 1975 were
eligible for the show, but that changed for 2020 and thus Best Restored honors
went to Theril Lund for his 1970 Plymouth ‘Cuda.
Lund had experienced a life-threatening heart attack that landed him in the hospital for almost a year. His brother had sent him the lead on the unrestored ‘Cuda while he was recovering, and Lund told the judges the process of purchasing and restoring the car could be credited for his recovery.
The restoration was meticulous, down to the purposefully unpainted screw on the VIN plate, just like it came from the factory. Additionally, since the engine wasn’t original and numbers matching when Lund purchased it, he ended up sourcing an engine that was produced in the same month and year as the vehicle itself.
Universal Technical Institute brought back their annual Students Choice award to be chosen and awarded by the Student Council of the current class. This year Krisztina Athanasakis was awarded the handmade trophy for her 2014 Ford Mustang GT.
Another change in the awards was evidenced as Steeda Performance Vehicles presented a Best Ford trophy to David Jocobelli for his 1979 Mustang. Slime also presented an award for Best Trunk to Mike Klennofsky for his 2015 Dodge Charger.
“We’re already planning some additional changes for the show
in the future to enhance its interest to an even wider audience,” said Roger
Falcione, founder and chief executive of ClassicCars.com.
Turns out that the SEMA Show isn’t the only automotive showcase that annually overflows the Las Vegas Convention Center. This past week, the convention center’s North Hall has been the epicenter of the automotive world as automakers, their suppliers and even some newcomers displayed their visions for our drive into the future.
The event was CES, the Consumer Technology Association’s annual gathering formerly known as the Consumer Electronics Show, where you could see the latest in ginormous-screen televisions, Star Trek-style devices designed to enhance your health — and even to streamline visits to your doctor’s office — and view the revolution technology is generating on the farm and in the home. And just as it has for more than a century, the automobile is driving research and development, and cultural change, around the world.
Of course, there’s the issue of who — or what — actually does the driving in the future. While that continues to be sorted out, here are some of the vehicles on display at CES 2020:
Mercedes-Benz Vision AVTR
The showstopper was a Mercedes-Benz concept car inspired by filmmaker James Cameron’s vision as expressed in the movie Avatar and especially in Avatar 2, which is scheduled for release in late 2021. Cameron and several members of his production team joined Mercedes chairman Ola Kallenius and his designers and the Mercedes staff futurologist — yes, there is such a person — in the AVTR unveiling on the eve of the CES opening.
Not only does the car have an organic design complete with bionic flaps that open and close like gills and what might be termed holographic switchgear that reaches out to you, but Mercedes is working on what it calls “organic-cell” batteries that would power the car and then be compostable at the end of their lifecycle.
You can drive and race cars on Sony’s PlayStation, or someday you might graduate to a real car as the electronics company stunned CES with its own full-scale prototype vehicle, the Vision-S. “Sony wants to re-imagine mobility as we know it,” the company said.
Part of the mission, Sony said, was to “thoroughly understand the mechanism of cars — to not only comprehend how they are made and the challenges they present, but also their relevance to society.” Thus Vision-S “represents a fusion of Sony’s technology and creativity.”
After producing some high-performance vehicles, former BMW and Aston Martin designer Henrik Fisker’s latest project is his first mass-market vehicle, the Fisker Ocean, an electric-powered SUV unveiled at CES.
Among the features is the California Mode which, at the touch of a button, lowers the windows — including the one in the tail gate — slides open the small rear quarter-panel windows and opens the sunroof. Ocean also will offer a solar-panel roof.
People (or cargo) moving pods
What do the Rinspeed MetroSnap, the ZF Automated Taxi, the Bosch Shuttle, the Aisin POD? and the Toyota ePalette have in common? They are box-like autonomous vehicles designed to transport people or cargo in what might be termed last-mile scenarios, whether from bus or subway terminals or heliports to downtown offices, stores and hotels, or from truck unloading areas to anything from a manufacturing plant to a restaurant or auto parts supply store. Some were displayed at CES with clear body panels to showcase the technology involved.
Honda Augmented Driving Concept
Honda’s Augmented Driving Concept vehicle looks like an ideal successor to its S2000 roadster. But what it is, is a vehicle designed to provide a “seamless transition” through more than eight driving modes, from manual to semi-autonomous to fully autonomous.
“Various sensors in the vehicle continuously read the user’s intention to smoothly shift between these modes, creating an instinctive driving experience,” Honda says.
Among the car’s features are a steering wheel that you tap twice to start the car and that you push forward to accelerate or pull toward you to slow or stop.
Hyundai Uber and Bell helicopter taxis
Bell helicopters unveiled its Nexus 4EX air taxi and Hyundai and UberElevate (the airborne branch of the ride-sharing service) announced plans for a 2023 launch for a fleet of 4-passenger and a pilot commuter helicopters, the Evtol S-A1. Both the Bell and Hyundai flyers are electric powered and have a range of around 60 miles.
Hyundai also will produce special people-mover vehicles to carry passengers from helicopter hubs to offices or other downtown locations.
Chrysler Airflow Vision concept
Fiat Chrysler Automobiles had a significant presence at CES, featuring Jeeps with electric plug-in ports for the new hybrid-electric powertrains that all Jeeps will offer by 2022, with the Fiat Centoventi concept vehicle that celebrates that brand’s 120 anniversary, and with the stunning Airflow Vision, a “sculptural design concept” that not only showcases advanced technologies, but perhaps predicts the next-generation of a Chrysler luxury vehicle.
Audi AI:ME concept
Audi says its Ai-Me show car is a “third living space” alongside the home and workplace, is designed to become “familiar with the desires and needs of its users.” Features include “self-learning” navigation, eye-tracking that lets you read a menu and the car automatically orders your next meal, virtual-reality goggles so you can enjoy the ride regardless of your current environment.
Nissan Ariya concept
The Ariya concept is a zero-emission, all-wheel-drive crossover built on Nissan’s new electric-vehicle platform and promises “technologies and services that promise customers an innovative, future-thinking driving and ownership experience.” The concept showcases Nissan’s new design language built around “a single horizon line” and a front “shield” rather than a traditional grille.
Hyundai Mobis M.Vision S
The M.Vision S is a concept from Hyundai Mobis that showcases an autonomous electric ride-sharing vehicle powered by a hydrogen fuel-cell system.
Toyota says its LQ concept is designed to “build an emotional bond” between car and driver. It has automated driving capabilities and “Yui,” which it calls “a powerful artificial intelligence-powered agent designed to learn from the driver and deliver a personalized mobility experience.”
Southern California-based Karma displayed an SC1 Vision roadster showcasing technology from Panasonic, Amazon AWS, Blackberry QNX, Voxx, Xperi, Apma and Lerdder Tech and EyeRis.
Ford Mustang Mach E
Ford hung one of its Mach E electrified Mustang-badged crossover vehicles on the wall and put another one on the floor for a closer view.
Lamborghini Huracan Evo
Lamborghini presented a Huracan Evo as the first car to incorporate Amazon Alexa voice control for cabin temperature, lighting, seat and other controls.
Segway launched a few years ago with an ingenious and intuitive self-balancing two-wheel “personal transporter.” It since has expanded its vehicle lineup to include scooters and bicycles.
At CES, it showed the S-Pod, a self-balancing two-wheeled seat in an eggshell-like frame, capable of traveling at more than 20 mph with a range of more than 40 miles.
John Deere semi-autonomous tractor and sprayer
As the world population increases and urban areas spread, land available for farming shrinks. How to feed everyone? One solution is provided by technology.
John Deere showed a huge tractor with a 120-foot sprayer attachment. Tractor and sprayer are equipped with 400 sensors to measure any waste or even pollution of nearby streams.
During planting season, the farmer might spend 18 hours a day in the air-conditioned cockpit running the farm via computer and cell phone while enjoying a massage seat, built-in cooler and the fact that the tractor has semi-autonomous steering.
Silicon Valley startup Bertrandt displayed Harri, an autonomous electric vehicle platform designed to accept whatever sort of coachwork someone might design for it. Also displaying such body-ready chassis were Dassault and Bosch.
Silicon Valley startup Tropos Motors showed a pair of its Able line of e-LSVs trucks — low-speed, narrow-track electric vehicles — designed for fleet, first-responder, agricultural and last-mile delivery uses. The vehicles share a common chassis with a variety of bolt-on body options.
Automotive audio equipment producers MTX and AudioControl provided a small taste of the recent SEMA Show as they used a vintage Dodge Power Wagon, a rat rod and a lifted pickup truck to showcase their wares.