Words And Photography By Sam Barer

To celebrate the memory of much-loved local collector Ken McBride, Kirkland and his widow, Patti, displayed many of his cars, including this 1957 Ferrari 410 Super America.

Elcid Cobra Shelby
One of just five built, this 1964 Shelby 289 Dragonsnake was a factory-built drag racer that set records by finishing the quarter-mile in 10.86 seconds at 128 MPH.

I took six weeks of French 30 years ago. Thankfully, I learned just enough from Madame Koban's classe de Français to translate Concours d'Elegance into "competition of elegance," because on Sunday, September 12, I found myself at the Kirkland Concours d'Elegance.

There are many events that illustrate the traditional definition, but the Kirk-land Concours is different. In its eighth year, it continues to redefine the concept in refreshing ways: Relaxing the atmosphere and expanding the breadth of vehicle types, the event again makes getting cozy with dream cars fun and accessible.

This 2010 event could have been billed "the year of Carroll Shelby." Of the 15 classes, four were dedicated to cars influenced by the American legend, including Cobra, GT40, G.T. 350 and modern Ford GT supercars. Multiple classes for Ford-powered sports cars developed by a cowboy hat-wearing former Texas chicken farmer that continue to get dirtied on race tracks and public roads? How un-concours-like!

Ten top-flight examples of Shelby's most recognizable icon were on display in the Cobra class, starting with the first production model: 1962 chassis CSX 2001, owned by Bruce Meyer, was now painted black with the racing number "1" and powered by a 289-cu.in. V-8 in place of its initial factory-installed 260. Bill Cotter and John Voigt both were exhibiting their amazingly blemish-free and totally original 289 street cars, which explained the gathering of restorers and replica builders all taking pictures and notes.

It was hard to miss El Cid parked in the corner. One of just five factory-built 1964 Shelby 289 Dragonsnake drag racers, it dominated its class and set records by finishing the quarter-mile in 10.86 seconds at 128 MPH. Legend is that since Carroll Shelby had no interest in drag racing, it took persistent lobbying by a number of those on his staff to get permission to create production quarter-mile Cobras.

I spun around on my heels and stared into the unmistakable Kamm tail of the Le Mans GT Class-winning 1964 Cobra Daytona Coupe CSX 2299. Since cars at Kirkland are parked strategically with no ropes, I got up-close and personal with this marvel capable of hitting 180 MPH on the Mulsanne Straight. If this wasn't exciting enough, the man responsible for designing the six Daytona Coupes, Peter Brock, was out talking with star-struck

Rusty Mustangs Fields
A rusty Mustang in a concours? When it's the first Shelby G.T. 350R ever to race, not to mention win its class, it's welcome anywhere.
Not only did Kirkland Concours provide a rare opportunity to get close to one of the six Shelby Cobra Daytona Coupes ever built, but also the man who designed it, Peter Brock, who was a guest judge.
Dashboard 1921
Fountainhead Museum in Fairbanks, Alaska, brought its intriguing 1921 Heine-Velox V-12 Victoria Touring; its 45-degree dashboard was specifically designed to improve visibility.

show-goers as he ambled around the show field in his role as guest judge.

Lest one think that Kirkland plays by the rules of d'Elegance decorum requiring that the only sounds be the clinking of wine glasses or the rubbing of large denomination bills within supple leather wallets, the crowd was quickly pulled to the GT-40 class as the nine participants fired up engines and revved. My ears filled with the mechanical harmonies from 289- and 427-cu.in. engines of the five MK Is, the MK II, MK III, brutal MK IV, and even the prototype Spyder.

Within moments, I was imagining standing in the pits at a great FIA road race in the 1960s.

What the great competition cars are to vintage racing fans, Charles Nelson's 1907 Peugeot 92-D Labourette is to Brass Era hobbyists. Actually, its specifications of a 283-cu.in. engine, rear-wheel drive, dual exhausts and four-speed transmission might sound interesting to those familiar with Chevrolet's 1950s checkered flag warriors, except Corvettes never offered dual chain drive or a brass serpent attached to the fender.

The Peugeot won class honors over George Wingard's 1914 American Grand Prix-winning and speed record setting (87.8 MPH for 300 miles) Mercer 450, as well as Bob Sullivan's mammoth 1908 Oldsmobile Limited Prototype. Making its West Coast debut after an eight-year restoration, this oldest six-cylinder Oldsmobile in existence has astounding statistics of its own: 42-inch wheels, an 8-foot 2-inch overall height, a 453-cubic-inch six-cylinder engine and a $4,600 as-new price—more than a contemporary three bedroom house. Given the recent

Nothing is more flamboyant than a 1937 Delahaye Type 135M Roadster bodied by Figoni & Falaschi. Even the Delahaye's interior is tres chic, with an uncluttered dash and delicate pre-selector gear lever.

Mobile Muscles

Nothing is more flamboyant than a 1937 Delahaye Type 135M Roadster bodied by Figoni & Falaschi. Even the Delahaye's interior is tres chic, with an uncluttered dash and delicate pre-selector gear lever.

Think GM pioneered the automotive heads-up display? This Mercer 450 had a cowl-mounted speedo in 1914.

Charles Nelson's 1907 Peugeot 92-D Labourette looked downright sinister.

Think GM pioneered the automotive heads-up display? This Mercer 450 had a cowl-mounted speedo in 1914.

Charles Nelson's 1907 Peugeot 92-D Labourette looked downright sinister.

real estate crunch, not to mention the $1.6 million auction sale of an original, yet incomplete and neglected production 1911 Limited back in 2007, it seems this magnificent 1908 Olds remains a better investment than a home.

Fairbanks, Alaska's, Fountainhead Museum brought another era's cost-no-object car—a 1921 Heine-Velox V-12 Victoria. One of only eight cars ever built by the San Francisco-based manufacturer, the Victoria Touring's as-new price of nearly $25,000 was well over twice that of a Rolls-Royce. Heine-Velox boasts unusual features, such as a body mounted to frame sides for lower height and higher rigidity, a 45-degree dashboard designed to improve visibility, and pivoting windows.

A V-12-powered car that drew enough attention to win the award for Most Elegant Open vehicle was the sophisticated 1939 Lagonda Rapide of Bill Holt and Liz Haan. After being treated to a painstaking factory-perfect restoration by RX Autoworks in Vancouver, British Columbia, and winning class recognitions at Pebble Beach and Steamworks concours,

Holt and Haan told me the striking black over red high-performance British roadster was slated to serve as a tour vehicle, making it a true "show and go" car.

High performance was in excess in the Alfa Sports Class. Due to the constant crowd this intoxicating car was attracting, I found getting a clear look at Ray Scherr's 1938 Alfa 8C 2900 Touring Spider was as easy as proving the theory of relativity while juggling live saltwater crocodiles. With the Vittorio Jano-designed supercharged DOHC straight-eight engine hiding under sumptuous

Jolene Mccaw

Bruce and Jolene McCaw's '64 Alfa-Romeo TZ-1 rally car was piloted in rallies by the legendary Stirling Moss with his wife, Susie, serving as navigator.

Exhibitors Brian and Randy Pollock brought their most recently restored three-wheeled Morgan, a 1937 Sports model powered by a J.A.P. motorcycle engine.

Bruce and Jolene McCaw's '64 Alfa-Romeo TZ-1 rally car was piloted in rallies by the legendary Stirling Moss with his wife, Susie, serving as navigator.

Everything about Bob Sullivan's breathtaking 1908 Oldsmobile Limited Prototype is colossal: Its wheels, engine, frame, lamps, beauty, and after an incomplete neglected original example sold at auction in 2007 for $1.6 million...its value is, as well.

Exhibitors Brian and Randy Pollock brought their most recently restored three-wheeled Morgan, a 1937 Sports model powered by a J.A.P. motorcycle engine.

Stuart McLeod's 1941 Packard 180 Bohman & Schwartz was properly competing in the Ultimate Packards Class.

Everything about Bob Sullivan's breathtaking 1908 Oldsmobile Limited Prototype is colossal: Its wheels, engine, frame, lamps, beauty, and after an incomplete neglected original example sold at auction in 2007 for $1.6 million...its value is, as well.

Stuart McLeod's 1941 Packard 180 Bohman & Schwartz was properly competing in the Ultimate Packards Class.

The supercharged DOHC eight-cylinder engine made the 1933 Alfa 8C-2300 a racing legend.

bodywork, its beauty was far beyond skin deep. It was another 8C, though, the well-known short-chassis 2300 owned from 1937 through 1988 by Giulio Rimoldi, that took class honors.

After perusing through the wonderful classes of Ultimate Packards, Pre-War Fords, Italian Motorcycles and Vintage Race Boats moored at the Carillon Point venue's docks, I had my short list of Best In Show candidates. Great minds must think alike, because the judges selected one from my list, Peter and Merle Mullen's 1937 Delahaye Type 135M Roadster bodied by Figoni & Falaschi, to collect top honors. One of only nine Figoni-bodied 135Ms, the outrageously styled French car capable of speeds of 110 MPH was rescued from a garden shed in India nearly 30 years ago.

Beyond the beautiful cars, motorcycles and boats, the Kirkland Concours is a fundraiser donating hundreds of thousands of dollars annually to Seattle Children's Hospital and Evergreen Hospital Medical Center. I never learned in my six weeks of class, so how does one say "contribution of elegance" in French?

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