My Car Quest

December 10, 2023

Editorial: What Do We Expect to See at a Concours?

by Wallace Wyss –

I covered two concours back to back one week apart–Pebble Beach about 120 miles south of San Francisco and San Marino, about 350 miles to the south of Pebble Beach, both in California.

What struck me was that San Marino had some perfectly ordinary cars on display–not one-offs, not special editions, or former factory show cars, or celebrity owned cars but cars like you could find at say the Mecum Auction or a high end collector car dealer.

Cars like a first series Barracuda convertible, or a ’67 Camaro convertible. My question at first was “Is this what you pay for at a concours to see. Don’t you go to a concours expecting to see cars from the ’20s, ’30s, ’40’s and ’50s?, i.e., last century?”

Then I looked at myself in the mirror and realized, hey I am older than most of the cars here, hence to me these are the cars of my youth–especially Sixties cars. But to someone born after the year 2000 they are old cars.

Barracuda Convertible

Barracuda Convertible–nice but the question is – do you go to concours to see cars like this?

Then I thought the only way to get the concours audience continuously refreshed (or to have new blood) is to host cars younger audiences remember and let’s face it, even I didn’t see pre-war cars on the street that much in the Fifties. (I also lived in Michigan where, if you drove it in the winter, your car rusted out in three years…)

And so it is–I think more concours need to have an adjustment yearly in model year eligibility, moving up say 3 to 5 years at a time. As we lose the human audiences in their ’70s, we need to have more cars appealing to those in their ’60s.

They want to see some of the cars they lusted after as youths, not cars only their grandfather remembers.

Anybody agree – or not?

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss is co-host of Autotalk, presented weekly on KUCR FM radio, Riverside, California.




oyota Celica Convertible

From the Japanese car class, an ’80’s Toyota Celica Convertible


Then there was a rare Spyker, which was a treat

Photos by Wallace Wyss.
Editorial: What Do We Expect to See at a Concours?
Article Name
Editorial: What Do We Expect to See at a Concours?
I covered two concours back to back one week apart--Pebble Beach about 120 miles south of San Francisco and San Marino, about 350 miles to the south of Pebble Beach, both in California.


  1. I’m 77 and I do agree, but really, like you, I don’t have a lot of interest in seeing the used cars of my youth. You

    are correct, however, that just because they don’t interest us, we can enjoy seeing them and we are no longer

    the only car people at these events.

  2. Fred Johansen says

    I also attended the Monterey Madness, experiencing the Concours on the Avenue Tuesday, the start of the Concours Tour on Thursday, Quail on Saturday, and the Actual Concours on Sunday. Then it was a mad trek to San Marino where there were 488 cars entered.
    Yes, there were some “everyday” buggies at San Marino, but there were also over 100 Ferraris, and countless Classics, plus many brass era cars. I was somewhat surprised to see the Japanese contingent in such quantity though, and even further surprised to see a Toyota Corolla win peoples’ Choice!

    I do wish that both venues would accept motorcycles though. Pebble used to. I wonder why Jay Leno wasn’t the speaker at PB this year?

  3. My first thought is “why are you paying to attend these events?” If there are expectations about events like the ones you are mentioning, then those items need to be discussed with the event organizers. And kept clarified. I do believe that once substantial fees for entrance are taken, that those who paid have an expectation that deserves to be met. There are very many reasonable requests for compensation at car shows countrywide. And usually they are intended to provide a nice contribution to local charity. We all understand that. Perhaps these pricey events are designed to appeal to another interest. I think that as soon as I am made to feel that I don’t belong in a particular community, that I go somewhere else. But the buttons, wheels, switches and pedals do the same thing for all of us (well, hopefully). Any particular internal combustion engine can have its stroke changed. Different strokes.

  4. Glen Durmisevich says

    Yes and no. You need to attend the EyesOn Design on September 19th (typically on Father’s Day) at the Edsel Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores Michigan. Where there are older classics and one offs, but also a variety of cars all based on a design theme. This puts what might be an ordinary car into perspective from a styling point of view.

  5. wallace wyss says

    Is there any expert in old cars from Detroit willing to send a report on Eyes on Design? Especially quoting from the program their objectives? I think it’s important for new designers to get educated on designs before their time.

  6. Glen Durmisevich says

    There are a few automotive historians and authors in Michigan that attend the EyesOn Design who can give an objective report. I’ll have to inquire. Every year a different theme is selected. This year the theme is “Marques of Extinction: Significant Designs of Bygone Brands”. Almost every class, from Antiques and Classics to sports and exotics to hot rods and custom car to one off and very limited production cars all will have vehicles who’s Brands are no longer in production. It will have new vehicles and concept cars from some of our OEM sponsors. The judges are past and present automotive designers and judge on their criteria. VPs of Design from GM, Ford, Stellantis and Toyota/Calty are our Honorary Chairmen and Bob Lutz is our Grand Marshall. To your point we have a group of students that also participate in judging.

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