GALLERY: Bogotá’s Concours d’Elegance
Photography by Alvaro Pinzón
You wake up on a Saturday morning in Bogotá. It is cold and raining at this hour, yet you go about your typical exercise routine anyway, taking the running path that brings you through the park, as always. But today you find it’s a bit more crowded than usual. Instead of dodging the errant dog or baby stroller, you’re met with about one hundred cars with their waxed skins holding globs of water, mirroring your sweat, but looking a lot better for it!
This is the Bogotá concours d’elegance, and those who came to the park unaware of this fact were quickly keyed in to what was going on as they eyed the cars arrayed on every bit of undulating terrain, with more rolling in steadily throughout the morning, picking along the paths carefully, looking for the right place to park. People stopped their walks and jogs to take a look at the gleaming machines in the early rays of sun, and the kids in the area had those kind of dropped-jaw expressions that signal the turning point in their young lives when cars become their “thing.”
Unlike last month’s Medellin concours, which concentrated heavily on pre-war cars, Bogotá opened its gates to a wider range of cars, from all different eras and locales. The fact that Colombia’s held two of these events in less than two months begs the question, “¿Que carajos?” (Colombian slang more or less like “What the ****?”). What’s going on in Colombia? I think this surge of support for classic car shows and events has been built on the enthusiasm for international events like the Goodwood Revival or the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. That interest coupled with the peaceful years we’ve had in the country recently have made owners more willing to show of their beautiful collections.
Whatever the case though, it’s clear that things are ramping up in the car community here, as only a few years ago the amount of events and clubs and rallies and track days happening all over the country would have been unheard of.
And the other fact is that the quantity of the imported classic cars in Colombia is growing. The exportation of similar cars out of the country is also reaching higher volumes, so it seems that in general the country’s interest in these cars is growing, or at least becoming more connected with the rest of the world. This trend is likely due to a growing number of people who want to preserve the classics they grew up with, and in a lower-income country, the older low and mid-range classics are used for longer periods of time before being replaced, as they might have been in other parts of the world. That means it’s not so rare to come across a few FJ40s on any given day, older BMWs, Mercedes, and Renaults are also a common site, and now people are starting to put more care into restoring them. Of course, many are still used and abused daily.
But in any case, whatever the cause of this renewed enthusiasm for cars in Colombia, I’m happy to see in my 20s that there’s a growing community not just in my country but globally. Maybe this has always been the case, and it’s just that social media and increased sharing has give us the illusion that everything’s getting “more,” but I think it’s genuine, I think there is truly a swell of interest that’s happening now, and the incoming generations certainly haven’t cast off the classics, so hopefully this all continues!
Returning briefly to the actual event at hand, my favorite car of the day was this well cared for 2.4 911S, which also happens to be one of the winning cars. So, out of all the diversity in the park on that particular Saturday, which is your favorite?