My Car Quest

June 16, 2024

The Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance 2016

by Wallace Wyss –

The annual Beverly Hills Father’s Day was a big success despite temperatures topping 100 deg. F.

This is not a concours per se, with stiff judging (that is more what you find at the Doheny Mansion show held in the same town) but more of a fun thing and a means to encourage tourists to come to Rodeo Drive (yes, some shops are open even on Sunday). Rodeo Drive is considered the premiere shopping street in the nation.

In Ferraris, there were at least half a dozen classics, including a Fifties California Spyder, in dark blue, and a silver 330GTS. Over at the North end Ferrari themselves had a display with a California spyder.


The official Ferrari factory display. I was hoping they would premiere a prototype but maybe it came later. I left early when it got past 103 deg. F

At the south end, where Rodeo Drive meets Sunset, there was an Alfa display with an open version of the 4C and a closed version Both those displays had the backdrops with company logos and I liked the Alfa display having a line on it something like “you can’t appreciate a car until you know its history.”

Alfa Romeo

The Alfa Romeo racing was much appreciated by the sports car people. This show is not so much about originality as it is guys having fun with their cars. Since it was Father’s Day I saw lots of daddies inculcating Junior into the world of cars (presuming there still will be cars when those youngins grow up)

McLaren had some cars at the very end but that’s an example I think where they are lacking, as who knows who Bruce McLaren was (I know because I met him but I’m an auto reporter). I think they need to bring that up more, build a legend out of a man who is already a legend. One reason people buy Ferraris is the image of Enzo Ferrari.

The other cars were real hit and miss as far as being classifiable as “classics. “ A customizer named D’Agostino had two custom cars, flawlessly built, a Riviera and a Cadillac, but they were way “over the top” in candy paint, chrome and George Barris-style glitz, something I don’t think you will see at Pebble Beach (though they did allow some James Dean style chopped top Mercs at a recent Pebble Beach Concours).

Custom car

Just when I think full on lead sled customs are dead, they reappear. This builder had two of them on display.

One of the most stunning cars was a custom too, masquerading as a prewar classic. The chassis was said to be Packard but the styling of the James Hetfield (Metallica band) owned car was totally prewar French in style, most influenced by the Delahaye 165 but there’s a touch of Delage in there as well. Rick Dore did a previous Jaguar for him but that pales in significance compared to this silver car. Rarely I think does a show biz personality exhibit such refined taste in commissioning a custom.

Rick Dore Custom

Delahaye? Delage? Bugatti? No, Packard, done by Rick Dore for James Hetfield

One car that was there is always there—the RR Phantom convertible in front of Bijan, a shop that sells perfume and such. They used to have Rollers in black and gold but this time the car representing the shop is a white Phantom drophead with pink, yes, the most lurid shade of pink, upholstery. Mary Kay would be jealous.

Rolls Royce

Even though Mr. Bijan has passed on, there’s still a Rolls out front of his shop at all times, though this one had a puke-pink interior

As far as exotics there was a Miura brought by a dealer, and an Anniversary Countach as well as an earlier one.

A real treat was a 1982 Ferrari 400i converted to full on race car by Jim Busby, a LeMans veteran who has a race shop in Laguna.

Ferrari 400

The Busby modified yellow 400 showed the soul of a racer exists in every Ferrari

One of the displays I enjoyed was a fabric covered prewar car (no one has explained to me why they covered them with soft fabric instead of steel with paint) that had a great picnic basket. I’ll have to write an article about my obsession with picnic baskets. The dual cowl Packard was a treat too, as I think many of the viewers born after the war don’t realize that there were once luxury cars with two windshields.

Picnic Basket

The picnic set displayed outside a classic. My wife says wicker baskets get dirty inside. I say they are traditional. I win.

Now you have to expect a show that is free to the public has to cover expenses somehow so it is natural there will be some new car displays. Already mentioned Alfa and Ferrari and McLaren but was surprised to see an environmentalist champion, a Tesla, not one but three including two that have the rear set of gullwing doors. I think the doors can be activated remotely and will be a real status symbol to be able to open those from across the parking lot as you approach, sort of your car welcoming you with open arms…

Bugatti Veyron

A Bugatti Veyron targa we saw on an adjoining street.
You don’t see those out in the farm country where I live


Making a very rowdy entrance was a yellow car that I mistook for a Lotus but it’s a Hennessy. That firm makes cars that are faster than just about anything else made in America, unless you want to count the new Ford GT road car…

One of the treats of Rodeo Drive is that they have one little block that winds up a manufactured hill to give you a glimpse of Europe. I didn’t walk up there to see what cars were there but if you squint just right looking up that hill you think you are in Italy or France.

Jaguar XKSS

The Petersen Museum brought out several cars including the XKSS that belonged to film star Steve McQueen. It is one of their most valuable cars. Now that Jaguar is making a few more, we’ll have to see if the real ones are hurt in value by that.

All in all, it’s a fun show, too bad about the heat, but I guess they can’t move Father’s Day to accommodate the show or it wouldn’t be Father’s Day.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss is a novelist who reports his Ferrari Hunters action thriller is currently being offered to Hollywood. He can be reached at



Rodeo Drive Concours Poster

Even the poster, done by England’s Tim Layzell, was a work of art, and they were selling T-shirts with the same image for $25

The Rodeo Drive Concours d'Elegance 2016
Article Name
The Rodeo Drive Concours d'Elegance 2016
It was a hot day on Rodeo Drive for the annual Father's Day classic car celebration.

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