World’s finest cars on display at 2022 Audrain Newport Concours

You don’t have to be a “car buff” to appreciate the many unique cars that will come together for 2022 Audrain Newport Concours & Motor Week from September 29 to October 2.

Events range from exclusive lawn parties that will attract antique cars from owners across the country to workshops that reflect on the art and design of cars and their future.

Last fall I attended the Concours d’Elegance on the lawn of The Breakers estate. It celebrated the vehicle in such a spectacular way that it left me wanting more.

The competition is an exhibition of prestige, vintage and special interest cars that are judged in various award classes.

Audrain is a newcomer to the circuit, which includes Pebble Beach, Amelia Island and Greenwich. This is the third year for the event, which started in 2019 and was held last year after skipping 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The Concours stretches across the lawn of The breakers, the Gilded Age Vanderbilt mansion. There will be 100 cars from different decades in numerous classes competing for awards, including the Best of Show trophy.

Each car has a person or two stationed in a nearby chair ready to answer questions about engines, restoration or other details. Sometimes they are owners and that’s for the best as they are all willing to share their stories. You’ll hear passionate stories about how they found the car and set about restoring it.

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The scene at the Breakers for the Newport Concours is cars, crowds and owner camping.

Which cars made a splash at the 2021 Concours?

The 1937 Delahaye 135 M Competition Roadster is one of only two built with a body by A. Guillore. It was opened in Paris in 1973 and the restoration was completed in 2016. It won first place in the Luxury Meets Sport class.

Among the stunners I saw last year was a 1952 Ferrari 342 America Vignale Cabriolet. This unique Vignale-bodied 342 America was originally built for a friend of Enzo Ferrari. The restoration was completed in 2020 and has since been shown at Pebble Beach and other Concours.

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The 2021 Chairman's Award went to this 1951 Delahaye Model 235 Convertible.

There were a number of wonderful cars from Delahaye, a French car manufacturer that ceased production in the 1950s. These cars are works of art made for cars. They speak of another era of design long gone.

More than one had custom bodies and interiors built by Saoutchik. This French coachbuilder is known for extravagantly designing cars for luxury brands including Delahaye and Bugatti.

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This 1937 Delahaye 135 M Competition Roadster won first place in the Luxury Meets Sport class at last year's Audrain Newport Concours.  It was the sportiest Delahaye chassis for the time.

American cars made a splash last year as well. It was the 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 that took home the People’s Choice Award.

A 1959 Rambler Rebel won second place in one of the history classes. This car was the only American mid-range car available at the time.

A 1959 Rambler Rebel won second place last year at the Concours.

Comedian and Newport resident Jay Leno, as the Honorary Chairman of last year’s Audrain Newport Concours & Motor Week, was among the crowd admiring the cars. Audrain Group CEO Donald Osborne also mingled with other car fans.

General admission to the Concours doesn’t come cheap. Tickets are $150 for field access from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. VIP admission includes coffee in the Concours from 6:30am to 8:30am and access to the VIP Tent, with food and drinks served throughout the day.

Looking for a bargain? It will be a $60 ticket just for the two-hour coffee at Courcours. Guests enjoy light refreshments and the sunrise as the racing cars take to the field.

Donald Osborne is the CEO of Audrain Group.

Other automotive events lead to the Concours

In the days leading up to the Concours, there are other events, including The Gathering, a lawn party at Rough Point, the former home of heiress Doris Duke. Motorsport enthusiasts will have access to rare collections of fine cars and will be served food with champagne and specialty cocktails.

Full-day ticket holders have access to the grounds from 11am ($300), while half-day ticket holders ($180) have access from 2pm. The event runs until 5.

The 1952 Ferrari 342 America Vignale Cabriolet won a special design award last year at the Concours d'Elegance.

There are also many interesting workshops that reflect on art and design and explore the role of forensics in historic vehicles. There’s also the Audrain Car Museum’s annual gala.

The Concours Village at the International Tennis Hall of Fame is free and open to the public Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Offers discounts from local restaurants, vendors and a family zone.