Gear: A History Elegance Comes Alive In Concours Retrospective

A History Elegance Comes Alive In Concours Retrospective

By Benjamin Shahrabani
September 4, 2015

The book: Concours Retrospective

Author: Richard Adatto with Photography by Michael Furman 

Pages: 236

Purchase: Click here

While the French term Concours d’Elegance has been extant for a few hundred years—literally translated, it means a “contest of elegance”, and originally started to describe a parade of horse-drawn carriages.

Over time, the carriages have lost their horses, and become motorized, and the contest, as it were, has morphed over time into the celebrations of automotive elegance we know today, the modern-day Concours d’Elegance, with some of the most important and prestigious events being held at venues such as Amelia Island, Goodwood, Salon Prive, Villa d’Este, Pinehurst, Shanghai, and perhaps the crown jewel, Pebble Beach.

In the book Concours Retrospective, automotive expert, consultant, and author, Richard Adatto and photographer Michael Furman trace the history and importance of these events from their equine beginnings through modern day.

After an introductory text that takes us through the earliest origins of these occasions onto their modern day incarnations—and reasoning why these events are still relevant and should matter to the modern automotive enthusiast—the authors take us on a visual tour of various concours through different time periods: The Early Years, Elegance and Style, The Golden Era, Mid-Century, and Modern Concours.

Illustrated with more than 200 archival photographs, including some contemporary ones shot by Furman, this book looks back at these stylish events, past, and present, with the pair uncovering some wonderful, and previously unseen photos of the places, and individuals that make the events possible: owners, spectators, judges, and of course, the cars. Among the many one-offautomobiles seen within, there is also fashion, progress, and style to be seen aplenty, and all captured on film. In fact, these photos are well worth the admission price alone.

Elegance. Many people seek it. But what is it, and how can one attain it? It is not a constant, nor at a standstill, much like the people, and machines depicted throughout the decades in this book.

The late Spanish philosopher George Santayana, famed for his work on naturalism, and aesthetics, once said of the subject, “Beauty as we feel it is something indescribable; what it is or what it mean can never be said”. So, perhaps elegance is both subjective, and unknowable, an intangible that exists purely in the eye of the beholder…or of the concours judge and jury.

To compete in a Concours d’Elegance, a car may be many things; perhaps preserved, sometimes restored, often historic, and rare. But it must always be “elegant”, just like this title from Furman’s Coachbuilt Press books. Running to 236 pages, it’s produced to the press’ usual high standards, and will provide the historical automotive enthusiast with a fascinating picturesque history of the concours.

Purchase: Concours Retrospective.


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