7 coolest cars from Audrain's Newport Concours

1934 Alfa Romeo 6C 2300 Soffio de Satana

1911 Fiat Tipo 6

1901 Panhard et Levassor Type B1

1912 Hispano-Suiza T15

1911 Mercedes Phaeton

1912 Hispano-Suiza T15

1916 Pierce-Arrow W38

1920 Cunningham V3

1927 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A S Fleetwood

1929 Bentley Speed 6

1929 Bentley Speed 6

1931 Chrysler Imperial

1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom II

1932 Packard 904 Dietrich

1932 Packard 904 Dietrich

1935 Triumph Southern Cross

1934 Alfa Romeo 6C 2300 Soffio de Satana

1937 Bugatti Type 57 Stelvio

1939 Bugatti Type 57 Stelvio

1947 Cadillac Series 61 coupe

1939 Bugatti Type 57 Stelvio

1948 Jaguar Mark IV

1953 Allard Palm Beach Roadster

1948 Pontiac Silver Streak

1953 Chevrolet Corvette

1953 Chevrolet Corvette

1954 Maserati A6 GCS Spyder

1954 Maserati A6 GCS Spyder

1955 Ford Thunderbird

1956 Austin-Healey 100 Le Mans

1956 Maserati A6 2000 Zagato

1957 Dual-Ghia D500

1956 Maserati A6 2000 Zagato

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SC

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SC

1958 Lancia Aurelia B24S

1963 Aston Martin DB4 Series V Vantage

1965 Shelby Cobra 289

1966 Datsun 1600

1970 Jaguar XKE OTS

1980 Mercedes-Benz 300D

1975 BMW 2002

1986 BMW 535i

1933 REO Royale Custom

1986 BMW 535i

Chevrolet Corvette

Jaguar XKE

1927 Isotta-Fraschini Tipo 8A S Fleetwood

Pontiac Station Wagon

1955 Ford Thunderbird

It’s not easy to launch a brand new concours event and make it look like it has been going on for a decade or two, but that’s exactly what Audrain’s Newport Concours d’Elegance did earlier this month. Not only that, but it launched half a week’s worth of events that included a John Legend concert, the unveiling of Zagato-bodied Aston Martin twofer, a tour d’elegance, seminars at Audrain’s Automobile Museum and even a wine tasting,  while Newport’s collection of old money industrialist, Gatsby-era mansions served as the backdrop, with the oceanside Vanderbilt family mansion called The Breakers serving as the venue for the concours event itself.

The field of cars on display on Sunday was as exclusive and cozy as the peninsula of Newport itself: there were only about a hundred cars on the field all carefully chosen by the organizers, who included Jay Leno and Donald Osborne. Leno himself was closely involved with the launch of the event during all days of the Motor Week, as this mini-Monterey Car Week has been christened, and chatted with guests on the PA system all through the Sunday concours event.

“Our expectations for this debut event were high, but the reception exceeded them in almost every way,” said Concours Chairman Donald Osborne. “The cars, the people, the stories and the setting all came together to become the living expression of the event’s theme, ‘History, Luxury, Sport’- the essence of Newport. We are thrilled with the outcome.”

The mix of cars was eclectic — there seemed to be a little bit of everything, from a 1912 Hispano-Suiza to a 1986 BMW 535i — but the prominent Bugatti class was one of the major crowd pleasers. In fact, there was no shortage of crowd pleasers during the whole week, with even longtime concours-goers were wide-eyed at the scale and organization of the event.

 

1927 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A S Fleetwood

The Best of Show award went to Joseph & Margie Cassini’s 1927 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A S Fleetwood, pictured above.

“Shown at the 1926 New York Auto Salon, the Tipo 8A S Roadster was commissioned by film star, Rudolph Valentino, and adds this Audrain’s Best of Show trophy to its extensive collection which includes two Best of Class trophies from the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance,” the concours organizers said. “A fitting finish to the show considering the car’s second owner was prominent and pioneering Rhode Island collector, George Waterman.”

Here are six more cars that caught our eye during the Sunday event, to give you a sense for the eclectic nature of the field.

 

1934 Alfa Romeo 6C 2300 Soffio de Satana

1934 Alfa Romeo 6C 2300 Soffio de Satana

This 1934 Alfa Romeo 6C 2300 Soffio de Satana has an interesting story: the owner who commissioned the car from Carrozzeria Touring (this is back when people commissioned cars, rather than showed up and leased a crossover) was a poet named Gabriele d’Annunzio, who actually helped design it and gave it the name Soffio de Satana, which translates to Devil’s Breath. But this isn’t that car. This is the third of three built and it was commissioned by Baron Mariano Pagliaro. Out of the three, this is the only one that survived, and it actually has some racing history: it won the Turismo class in the 1934 Targa Abruzzo, before it was even delivered to its owner, who kept it into the 1970s. Powered by a a twin overhead camshaft six-cylinder engine displacing 2,309cc, the sedan produces 76 hp. Back in 2005 this car was sold by Bonhams for $187,000 and change, which seems on the light side today, given the fact that it’s the only surviving example with this body.

1986 BMW 535i

1986 BMW 535i

One of the latest cars in the concours, by model year, was this 1986 BMW 535i, and to make you feel extra old let us point out to that it is 33 years young this year. The E28-generation 5-Series is remembered for launching the M5 tradition, but there were plenty of other reasons to like the design and the engine. BMWs of the 1980s are youngtimer cars, so get ready to see more of them at concours events. And at Radwood events.


1958 Lancia Aurelia B24S

1958 Lancia Aurelia B24S

These are delicate and rare cars — just 521 examples of this model were produced by Lancia — and they’re powered by a 2,451cc overhead-valve V6 engine, paired with a four speed manual transmission. Lancia, of course, was a pioneer of V6 use, but this model features plenty of other novelties of the time, including a De Dion rear axle equipped with a transaxle gearbox differential. It’s easy to forget that Lancia was a much smaller automaker at the time, and just like many models of the time, including sedans, its cars from the 1950s were never plentiful, and now exist in very small numbers. They were also frequently finished in understated colors like gray, such as this example.

1956 Maserati A6 2000 Zagato

1956 A6/2000 Zagato Berlinetta

The Newport Concours served as the debut of the Aston Martin Zagato DBS GT along with the DB4 GT continuation cars, but they were by no means the sole Zagato bodied cars on the field that day, with the carrozzeria celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. And that meant a visit from this spectacular 1956 A6/2000 Zagato Berlinetta, which has previously collected class awards at Villa d’Este and Pebble Beach concours. One of just 21 made in this bodystyle, the low-slung coupe features all the classic Zagato trademarks including a large, oval radiator, a relatively small greenhouse, a split front bumper and slightly slabby sides. Finished in red, it still managed to look quiet and understated on the lawn, upstaged a bit by the Aston duo.

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SC

1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SC

Rarely seen on other side of the Atlantic even when it was new, the 300SC was Mercedes’ top luxury coupe of the day. Mechanically complex and powered by a 3.0-liter inline-six engine, it was also a shot across the bow of Rolls-Royce and Bentley, and just like those cars it was handmade to order. A total of 200 examples were built between 1955 and 1958, so these were certainly as tough to spot as the two British luxury marques. But the W188 was really the end of an era for Mercedes-Benz, not only when it came to Pontoon models. The production years of the W198 300SL overlapped with this model, making it a very different alternative to the Gullwing-doored, low-slung Mercedes car. But those cars were also built in much greater numbers, totaling over 3,200. That’s why we rarely see this model today, and really only at a concours or museum.

1953 Allard Palm Beach Roadster

1953 Allard Palm Beach Roadster

A rarely-seen model, (because under 100 of these were made) the Allard Palm Beach Roadster was also one of the marque’s best looking models at the time. Allard was an ideal example of the British cottage car industry of the 1950s that tried to make it big in big export markets. It’s not immediately obvious from this photo, but the doors are very short in length, and so is the tail — the car ends pretty much where the rear wheel arches end. The dual windshields add a sporting touch, as do the chrome door hinges. This remains a very pure and individualistic design — it’s tough to confuse these with anything else.


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