Packard, Studebaker take home top honors at Concours d'Elegance
Thousands of visitors to the Forest Grove campus of Pacific University Sunday, July 21, oohed and ahhed over a dazzling display of classic, custom and sporting cars, trucks and motorcycles.
The Forest Grove Concours d'Elegance, an annual tradition since 1973, saw some 344 vehicles entered in 50 judged classes.
The Best in Show award went to a 1934 Packard convertible sedan owned by James and Mary Lou Harri of Walla Walla, Wash. The Harris' convertible also bagged awards for Best Classic Car and Best Classic Packard 1925-1936.
The People's Choice award was given to a 1963 Studebaker Avanti owned by Darrell Brink of Tualatin. The award recipient is chosen by attendees.
Gerald Greenfield, who is honorary chief judge at the famed Hilton Head Island Concours d'Elegance, was the senior judge for the event.
Greenfield is a past Best in Show winner himself in Forest Grove, taking home the award in 1994.
Donald Osborne, a well-known car consultant who makes regular appearances on shows like "Jay Leno's Garage," co-presented alongside Nic Waller, editor of The Insider, the magazine for the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.
"It's amazing," said Osborne, who spent much of the day talking to the men and women who brought their prized vehicles to the shaded campus of Pacific University. "Everyone wants to share a story with me, and I never get tired of listening."
This year's Forest Grove Concours d'Elegance celebrated the British automaker Bentley Motors Ltd., founded 100 years ago; the now-defunct Packard Motor Co., which rolled out one of the world's first cars in 1899; and the Porsche 356, first produced in 1948 and 1949.
Osborne, for one, thought the lineup was inspired.
"To have, as features, cars as diverse as Packard, Porsche 356 and Bentleys is extraordinary," he said.
Osborne said he was particularly impressed with the German racing cars displayed Sunday.
"The 356 is a single model, and yet you had such an incredible variety of examples: perfectly restored cars, cars that were amazing originals, cars that were just discovered — all linked through the spirit of driving," Osborne said.
He was also wowed by the older cars on dispaly.
"The array of pre-war Packards was just incredible, each one more elegant and spectacular than the next, and all the owners talking about how wonderful they are to drive," Osborne said.
Osborne is a big fan of cars that get driven and, as usual, found "the aura of experiential ownership" on full display in Forest Grove. He noted that while post-war Bentleys were often compared to Rolls Royces, there was an important difference.
"The Rolls Royces were chauffeur-driven cars, and the Bentleys were owner-driven cars," Osborne said.
Vehicles came to Forest Grove on Sunday from as far away as Hawaii and Canada.
However, like the People's Choice winner Brink, some of the award recipients only had a few miles to travel.
Roman Gratteri of Hillsboro took home top honors for Best Closed Car with his 1961 Chevrolet Impala.
Judges, meanwhile, awarded the Best Non-Classic Car to Robert and Joe Gurley of Lake Oswego, for their 1939 MG TB-Midget.
Steve Chaney of Vancouver, Wash., snagged first place in the Open Car category with his 1954 Chevrolet Corvette.
In addition to classic and sports cars, more than 70 custom and modified vehicles, curated by Multnomah Hot Rod Council, were on campus. Dennis Lowenthal of Portland was given the Best Modified award for his 1957 Chevrolet 210.
The Forest Grove Concours d'Elegance is sponsored by the Rotary Club of Forest Grove and is the club's biggest annual fundraiser.
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