Here’s What It’s Like To Attend The Greenwich Concours D’Elegance
Story and Photography by Jonathan Harper
Early arrivals at the 2016 Greenwich Concours D’Elegance were greeted with heavy, humid air, wafts of smoke from expensive cigars and a lot of rumors. Would the dire forecast—rain, thunderstorms and more rain—hold down attendance? How many of the rare cars—many of them four-wheeled works of art in their own right—venture out of their climate-controlled cocoons?
One by one, purring and growling as if to say weather be damned, the cars rolled in. Twelve-cylinder Italian treasures led the way, and then more vintages marking history, from the fall of the Berlin Wall back to the Summer of Love and beyond.
Celebrating its 100th year in business, BMW showed up en-force with a display including multiple modern vehicles, but much more impressively an entire corral of classics hitting all the sweet spots—507 Coupe, 2002 Turbo, 328 roadster. It was all there, and it was all so gloriously droolworthy. This is the kind of event when a spankin’ new BMW M2 was given a quick glance in favor of a lingering appreciation for the likes of the very first M car ever breathed upon by the Bavarian skunkworks division, the M535i.
An entire corral was dedicated to homologation specials, the street legal race cars sold to the public to meet race series requirements for entry. These production-based track specials represented a particularly angular and box-fendered corral, complete with a one-of-fifteen Porsche 924 GTS and a Lancia Delta S4 sporting both a supercharger and a turbocharger.
Highlights of the show came in the form of a Pininfarina-bodied Chevrolet Corvette prototype that looked very French until viewed at a quarter angle, only then did you see the general shape of a C2 Stingray. The teardrop-shaped Cisitalia 1100 Columbo Sport looked sleek with its central headlight and bulging blistered bodywork, covered in thin slices like the gills of a fish; breathtaking.
Before long, the skies did open up. Hand-hammered metal masterpieces saw what was quite likely the first raindrops of their mechanical lives. Sunday-dressed concours denizens made haste for shelter, and the smart ones weathered the downpours in the comfort of an Alfa 4C or CTS-V on display from the manufacturers.
A momentary pause in the rain allowed for the hurried execution of the awards ceremony, where winning cars would normally be driven down the lawn to receive a ribbon. Instead, owners took one for the team by sprinting on foot through the rain to gather their trophies. All in all, the rain somehow made a remarkable tradition even more memorable for a satisfied crowd that headed for home with soggy socks and bellies full of lobster roll sliders.