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Relaxed Elegance: Dana Point Concours d'Elegance is pure fun

Mon, 27 Jun 2011

Twenty-nine years ago, the event was called the Newport Beach Concours d'Elegance, and that title was on the tickets until 2010, when it was changed to the Dana Point Concours d'Elegance. That's fitting, as it's been held at the upscale St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort in tony Dana Point, Calif., for four years.

In years past, the event's venue seemed to change every year. But five years ago, event chairman Dick Waitneight went up in a helicopter over the beach community, "looking for green grass, and lots of it."

The lush golf course on the St. Regis grounds looked like a perfect location, but there were doubts about whether a car event could even get past the gate. Enter Rep. John Campbell (R-Calif.), a member of the board of directors of the concours. The response from the St. Regis: Come on down.

With 120 vehicles, including motorcycles, spread over two fairways, there was plenty of room to take in the eclectic selection. From a pair of modern Formula One race cars to an 1898 Mercedes-Benz Patent Wagon, the field was top-shelf, yet its diversity represented the wide range of vehicles Southern California embraces. American muscle cars rubbed fenders with Porsches, prewar classics and an impressive field of motorcycles.

Best in Show went to Jack & Helen Nethercutt's stunning 1931 Bugatti Type 51 Dubos.

The relaxed atmosphere of the event was a welcome change from the high-pressure vibe often seen at top-level concours. Put this event on your bucket list.

By David Newhardt