Concours d'Elegance

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A 1954 Rolls-Royce Phantom IV exhibited at the Italian Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este in 2015

Concours d'Elegance (French: concours d'élégance) is a term of French origin that means a "competition of elegance" and refers to an event where prestigious vehicles are displayed and judged. It dates back to 17th-century France, where aristocrats paraded horse-drawn carriages in the parks of Paris during summer weekends and holidays.[1] Over time, carriages gave way to automobiles and the gatherings became a competition among vehicle owners to be judged on the appearance of their vehicles.

These events are often held at automobile shows, after racing competitions or, especially in the United States, as a fundraising event for charities.[2] Many modern events also feature corporate exhibitions from luxury and hypercar brands.[3]


The oldest still-extant Concours, the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este, is held annually near the Villa d’Este hotel in Cernobbio, on Lake Como in Italy. The first of these was held in September 1929.[4] The first Concours in North America was held in 1950 at the Pebble Beach Golf Links in Monterey, California, in conjunction with the first Pebble Beach Road Race.[5] The longest continually-running event is the Hillsborough Concours d’Elegance in California, which has been held every year since 1956[6] (both Villa d'Este and Pebble Beach have skipped years since 1956).


Numerous local organizations sponsor Concours events. Traditionally, vehicle judging at a Concours is more demanding than that of a local neighborhood or general automobile show. Trained judges examine the vehicle thoroughly. They rate each and every component. Only those vehicles that are judged perfect (or very nearly so) in every way are considered eligible for trophy class.

Often, the competitiveness of a Concours d'Elegance forces restoration of a vehicle to surpass "mint" condition. Mint condition would be the state of the vehicle when it originally left the factory. Concours-quality cars are often given upholstery, paint, plating, and mechanical restoration to a standard far exceeding that of the car when it was new.[citation needed]

Concours d'Elegance competitions also are run for classic cars. Here, the emphasis is as much on originality as the condition, although this also is very important. The general aim is to present a vehicle that is in the same, or better, condition than it was in when it left the production line. Unless original, modifications are not allowed, and components must be suitable for the year and model of the automobile. Even components or features fitted to automobiles of the same type, but in a different production year or trim level, are not allowed. Original-equipment accessories from the manufacturers' own range are allowed and some competitions allow after-market equipment and accessories, provided they are of the correct period. The automobiles must be presented in flawless visual condition, as with other Concours-grade cars.


Partial list of some of the Concours.

Month Location Event Notes
February Boca Raton, Florida, USA Boca Raton Concours d'Elegance
February Karma Lakelands, Gurugram, India 21 Gun Salute International Vintage Car Rally & Concours Show
February Ellerslie, Auckland, New Zealand Ellerslie Car Show & Concours d'Elegance
March Sydney, NSW, Australia Sydney Harbour Concours d'Elegance
March Amelia Island, Florida, USA Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance
April La Jolla, California, USA La Jolla Concours d'Elegance
April Montgomery, Texas, USA Concours d'Elegance of Texas
April Kyoto, Japan Concorso d'Eleganza Kyoto
May Lake Como, Italy Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este
May St. Augustine, Florida, USA Riding Into History
May Balatonfüred, Hungary Balatonfüred Concours d'Elegance
June San Marino, California, USA San Marino Motor Classic Successor to the Los Angeles Concours d’Elegance[7]
June Hillsborough, California, USA Hillsborough Concours d'Elegance The longest continually-running Concours d'Elegance in the world
June Greenwich, Connecticut, USA Greenwich Concours d'Elégance
June Coppet, Vaud, Switzerland Swiss Elegance Concours
June Cincinnati, Ohio, USA Cincinnati Concours d'Elegance at Ault Park
June Hershey, Pennsylvania, USA The Elegance at Hershey
June Chichester, UK Cartier Style et Luxe
July Forest Grove, Oregon, USA Forest Grove Concours d'Elegance
July Plymouth, Michigan, USA Concours d'Elegance of America at The Inn at St. John's Formerly Meadow Brook Concours d'Elegance
July Dyck Castle, Germany Masterpieces & Style
July Massachusetts, USA Misselwood Concours d'Elegance
July Lexington, Kentucky, USA Keeneland Concours d'Elegance
August Pebble Beach, California, USA Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance Most famous Concours d'Elegance event
August Zurich, Switzerland Concours d'Elegance "Zurich Classic Car Award"
August South Bend, Indiana, USA Concours d'Elegance at Copshaholm
September Keszthely, Hungary Festetics Concours d'Elegance
September Old Westbury, NY, USA Great Marques Concours d'Elegance
September Palace Schwetzingen, Germany Classic-Gala Schwetzingen
September Kemble, Ontario, Canada Cobble Beach Concours d'Elegance
September Oxfordshire, UK Salon Privé
September Redondo Beach, California, USA Palos Verdes Concours d'Elegance
September Nairobi, Kenya CBA Africa Concours d'Elegance
September Dayton, Ohio, USA Dayton Concours d'Elegance
September Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA Radnor Hunt Concours d'Elegance
September St. Michaels, Maryland, USA St. Michaels Concours d'Elegance
September Chantilly, France
October Padova, Italy Stelle sul Liston Concours d'Elegance
October Newport, Rhode Island, USA Audrain's Newport Concours & Motor Week
October Chattanooga, Tennessee USA Chattanooga Motorcar Festival[8]
October Manhasset, New York, USA Americana Manhasset
October Melbourne, Victoria, Australia Motorclassica: The Australian International Concours d'Elegance and Motor Show
October Savannah, Georgia, USA Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival and Concours d'Elegance
October Knokke-Heist, Belgium Zoute Concours d'Elegance
November Las Vegas, Nevada, USA Las Vegas Concours d'Elegance
November Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, USA Hilton Head Island Concours d'Elegance & Motoring Festival
December Tampa, Florida, USA Gasparilla Concours d'Elegance


  1. ^ "East African Concours d'Elegance: History: way back in the days of horses and carriages". August 17, 2004. Archived from the original on December 26, 2009. Retrieved July 27, 2015.
  2. ^ Martin, Keith (February 25, 2000). "Collecting; It's The Stars' Cars That Steal the Scene". The New York Times. Archived from the original on July 17, 2015. Retrieved July 27, 2015.
  3. ^ Johnson, Drew (July 6, 2011). "Summerstop: 2011 Ault Park Concours d'Elegance". Leftlane News. Archived from the original on July 21, 2015. Retrieved July 27, 2015.
  4. ^ "History | Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este". Archived from the original on July 27, 2016. Retrieved July 21, 2016.
  5. ^ "History | Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance". Archived from the original on July 22, 2016. Retrieved July 21, 2016.
  6. ^ "Concours d'Elegance". Archived from the original on June 16, 2016. Retrieved July 21, 2016.
  7. ^ Holder, Max (June 5, 2019). "9th Annual San Marino Motor Classic Takes Place This Weekend". Motorious. Archived from the original on August 13, 2023. Retrieved June 10, 2019.
  8. ^ "Welcome". Chattanooga Motorcar Festival. Retrieved September 6, 2023.