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Concorso Italiano: A new section of last year's course, great cars and everyone's happy

Sun, 21 Aug 2011 00:00:00 -0700

More room, flatter fairways, more cool cars and even a section of barn finds and beaters made this year's Concorso Italiano one of the best ever.

As you may recall from the 26- or 28-year history of this perennial classic, recent servings of Concorso Italiano have been a little up and down, with venue changes and field sizes that didn't always show these great cars in their fullest possible glory. There were the buses that took us around the first year of the Black Horse golf course, followed by the year of the cold, hard cement of the Marina Airport, and then the box canyon of last year's show. But we put up with it because we love these cars and nothing was going to keep us away from them.

Well, 2011 was no such year. Organizers discovered three huge fairways on the same golf course they used last year, opening up the whole show to give tifosi a little more elbow room between the fenders.

“The setting is the best,” event emcee and Italian-car fan Keith Martin said. He is the publisher of Sports Car Market and a former Autoweek contributor. “There are more cars than ever. It not only achieved its former provenance but surpassed it.”

Concorso president Tom McDowell estimated there were “roughly 1,000 cars” and “I'm guessing 8,000 people.”

With room for them all.

“We really like the new layout,” a slightly sunburned McDowell said at the end of the day. “From the feedback we've gotten, people really appreciate the venue.”

A big hit this year was the “Originals and Barn Finds” section, with 21 unrestored Italian cars and four barn finds. Heck, the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance started a class for unrestored cars, why not Concorso? Maybe because so many Alfas across the country look like unrestored barn finds? Just kidding. Don't send hate mail.

And unlike past years that featured what seemed like 10 million 355s and an equal number of Murci

By Mark Vaughn