- Radnor Hunt celebrated its twenty-fourth anniversary of the Concours d’Elegance in Chester County, PA.
- Featured vehicles included Bugattis and Ferraris That Are Not Red.
- A Porsche 911 Reimagined by Singer, a McLaren P1, and a McLaren Senna were among the numerous standouts in just the spectator parking lot!
It’s tough to relate to the surreality of the astounding vehicles at the Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance. It’s a mixture of fact and fiction in my mind each year I attend. Each example is a real person’s pride and joy. One that they have either personally labored over, intensely researched for years to find, or paid someone an extravagant amount of money to either purchase or rebuild into pristine condition (or all of the above). While it is most definitely a reality for them, it illustrates a life so far removed from my own that it wanders into fantasy. However, it’s a fantasy that I can’t wait to experience year after year.
WHAT IS THE RADNOR HUNT CONCOURS?
Well, it all started in the early 1990s when a group of automotive enthusiasts banded together to hold vintage Grand Prix races in Philadelphia’s Fairmount Park. Due to a mixture of reasons, the racing events concluded after just a few years. To provide the same type of spectacle, those same enthusiasts combined the elite world of vintage vehicle restoration and the rolling hills of Chester County, PA, to form the Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance in 1997, which benefits the Thorncroft Equestrian Center. Over the years, the brand grew by inviting only the most significant examples for display and judging purposes. Contrary to its humble beginnings, it now entertains one-of-a-kind coachbuilt entries from across the nation and sees nominations that exceed its capacity — the majority of them with values surpassing multiple million-dollar levels.
THE EARLY ARRIVAL
I’ve learned that the best part of any Concours event is the strict rules for judging. One piece of the judges’ criterion is a running engine. This is important because if you arrive early enough (for me, before the event actually begins), then you get to see these rare immaculate birds in motion as they drive into their space on the show grounds for the day. It’s undoubtedly inspiring enough to see them on display, but the glorious notes expelled into the morning atmosphere by these vintage pieces of machinery are worth the advanced wake-up. I also caught a glimpse of an EB110 halfway out of a trailer and didn’t see it for the rest of the day, so there’s that, too.
As I mentioned, a typical aspect unique to Concours events is strict judging. These are the show ponies of the automobile world, and they’re scrutinized as such. Everything from matching serial numbers between chassis and engine, proper paint color on the exterior, material choices on the interior, to having the correct documentation of its history are all crucial in receiving good marks. The tiniest details like having original tires on the vehicle (somehow) are rewarded with high praise, while something minuscule like drops of fluid in the engine bay can be the demise of an entry. They’re the cream of the crop, and their condition isn’t the only factor that matters. Scarcity earns more points, so many examples aren’t just well-maintained production versions but unique (and sometimes bespoke) coachbuilt versions, mastered decades ago, usually by now-defunct coachbuilders.
The only thing that seems to pull more weight than rarity is a vehicle’s genuine motorsports background. It garners considerable attention if the car competed in races during its heyday, still competes in vintage races, or was restored impeccably after competing in races. These vehicles are only outdone by well-documented race winners, especially those who have checked the boxes of illustrious fabled stages like Le Mans or the Targa Florio.
THE PARKING LOT
So, if dozens of multi-million dollar exquisite autos (and motorcycles) occupy the show grounds, the parking lot must contain some standouts of its own, too? Well, yeah, you could say that. Considering vehicles like a Porsche 911 Reimagined by Singer, a McLaren P1, and a McLaren Senna were just the initial greeting into the spectator lot, there were treasures to be found throughout the grounds. It’s a byproduct of creating such a classy event that the attendees are of the highest caliber.
I’m grateful to have the opportunity to attend such a regal event each year, and one so close to home. It makes me proud to live in this area, just knowing the quality of understated automotive (and motorcycle) enthusiasts who reside within it. A special thank you to Andrew from Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance for his continued hospitality over the years, and I already can’t wait to see what next year’s trip to Radnor Hunt entails.