Concours d'Elegance

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A Concours d'Elégance (from French meaning a 'competition of elegance', referring to the gathering of prestigious cars) dates back to 17th Century French aristocracy, who paraded horse-drawn carriages in the parks of Paris during Summer weekends and holidays.[1] Over time, carriages became horseless and the gatherings became a competition among automobile owners to be judged on the appearance of their automobiles. These events often are held at automobile shows or after racing competitions.[2][3]


Numerous local organizations sponsor 'Concours' events; traditionally vehicle judging at a Concours is more demanding than that of a 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'Elégance 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 often are given upholstery, paint, plating, and mechanical restoration to a standard far exceeding that of the car when it was new.[citation needed]

Concours d'Elégance 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.

Often Concours d'Elégance quality automobiles are not driven, except for short distances from their trailers to the show fields. They are not intended to be used as daily drivers and often, are not seen outside of museums or private collections. Even after driving only the short distance to the show field, the car is 'staged'—errant bits of dirt or pebbles removed from the tire treads, bits of grass or mud wiped from the under-carriage. The vehicle is maintained constantly and dusted frequently to keep a flawless appearance while on display.


Partial list of some of the Concours.

Month Location Event
March Florida, USA Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance
May Lake Como, Italy Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este
May Connecticut, USA Greenwich Concours d'Elégance
July Massachusetts, USA Misselwood Concours d'Elegance
August California, USA Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance (arguably the most well-known of the Concours d'Elegance events)
July Michigan, USA Concours d'Elégance of America at The Inn at St. John's (formerly Meadow Brook Concours d'Elégance)
August Zurich, Switzerland Concours d'Elégance "Zurich Classic Car Award"
September Kemble, Ontario, Canada Cobble Beach Concours d'Elégance
September London, UK Salon Privé London Concours d'Elégance
September California, USA Palos Verdes Concours D'Elégance
October Atlanta, Georgia, USA The Atlanta Concours d'Elegance at Chateau Elan Winery and Resort
October Savannah, GA - Hilton Head, SC - USA Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival and Concours d'Elégance
September Nairobi, Kenya Ngong Racecourse
Oktober Knokke-Heist, Belgium Zoute Concourrs d'Elégance by Bank Degroof Petercam


A parody of the Concours d'Elégance concept in general, and the Pebble Beach event in particular, is the "Concours d'LeMons" (a play on "competition of lemons"). It was first held in August, 2009 in Monterey, California, not far from Pebble Beach and features "oddball, mundane and truly awful" automobiles[4] in contrast to the prestigious models displayed at Concours d'Elégance events. The event began as the Concours d'Ignorance (competition of ignorance), but was renamed shortly later.[5]


  1. ^ "East African Concours d'Elegance: History - way back in the days of horses and carriages". 2004-08-17. Archived from the original on 2009-12-26. Retrieved 2015-07-27. 
  2. ^ Martin, Keith (2000-02-25). "Collecting; It's The Stars' Cars That Steal the Scene". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-07-27. 
  3. ^ Johnson, Drew (6 July 2011). "Summerstop: 2011 Ault Park Concours d'Elegance". Leftlane News. Retrieved 2015-07-27. 
  4. ^ "Concours d'LeMons". Retrieved 2011-04-28. 
  5. ^ "Concours D'Ignorance". Archived from the original on August 7, 2011. Retrieved 2012-05-25.