Mercedes-Benz, Duesenberg named winners at Concours d'Elegance of AmericaSun, 31 Jul 2011
A 1933 Duesenberg Model SJ Riviera Phaeton Brunn and a 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn Kurrier took top honors at the Concours d'Elegance of America at St. John's in suburban Detroit on Sunday.
The event was formerly known as the Meadow Brook Concours d'Elegance, but it was moved this year from the grounds of Oakland University north of Detroit to Plymouth, a suburb west of the city. The concours gives two Best in Show awards, one to an American car and another to a European.
The Duesenberg is owned by John Groendyke from Enid, Okla., and went through a complete restoration eight years ago. Groendyke said he's owned the car for two years, having bought it from the estate of the renowned collector John O'Quinn. This is one of three models built.
Groendyke is a back-to-back winner, having taken Best in Show honors at last year's Meadow Brook concours with a 1929 Duesenberg Dual Cowl Phaeton. He has entered cars in the event for “13 or 14 years,” he said.
Arturo and Deborah Keller are the owners of the Mercedes-Benz, which was entered in the class honoring 125 years of the carmaker.
“This car is just one owner from the original,” Arturo Keller said as he waited for photographers to finish with the car. “And this is the only one like it in the world.” The Kellers have owned the car for five years.
Organizers of the event seemed pleased with the new venue as a large crowd was on hand throughout the day. Large trees near the judging stand provided shade for those sitting in the grandstands nearby, giving spectators some relief from the blistering sun and 90-degree heat.
“We'll be back here next year,” chief judge Bill Parfet said.
In conjunction with the concours, the RM Auction at the Inn at St. John's generated $7.6 million in sales, with a 1932 Packard Twin Six Individual Custom Convertible Sedan topping the sales charts at $1.1 million.
By Roger Hart