My Car Quest

July 23, 2024

An Artists’s Report on the Rodeo Drive Concours

by Wallace Wyss –

Yes sir, I was at the 29th annual Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance, but before the crowds came, propelled by my zeal to capture a shot for a possible painting. Artists have to get up early or stay late to capture their subject in that elusive long-shadowed golden light.

Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance

One of the most elegant, and exciting, was Bruce Meyer’s own Bugatti in fly yellow, matching the store he parked in front of. Meyer is heading up the Petersen Museum and is in charge of this event.

The show doesn’t start until 10am but there were plenty of spectators as early as 8 am. I still say it wasn’t a real concours, where a victory might propel your car to national fame and greater value such as would a Best in Show at Pebble.

It’s more of a fun day for fathers to take their kids to. After all it’s Father’s Day. So I readied to find cars to shoot before the tethered ropes went up around them. One that I liked more than before was an E-type Jag that looks kinda like a factory race car but I think it’s still a modified street car, I didn’t see the huge dash when I saw it years ago so now I like it more. It’s exciting to stretch the limits of a street car.

Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance

Was it a real racing E-type Jaguar–the type with the alloy body? I dunno. But I have seen this one in Beverly Hills before. While I wouldn’t like it represented as a factory lightweight if it wasn’t it certainly is more exciting than a standard steel bodied roadster especially the dashboard.

One very unusual car was a convertible built by John Agostino, a LA-based customizer. His workmanship in chopping the top was excellent, I was dubious about the connection to Clark Gable’s flame Carole Lombard. The sign said the car was bought for her, but of course she died in a plane crash during a wartime fund drive. But it then says it was donated to the Petersen Museum but I worked for “Pete” Petersen in ’65 and later, from ’70-’72 and don’t remember it.

There was a ’30s Ford hot rod in faded paint, various Ferraris, and some new cars shown by Ferrari and the local dealer for Aston Martin. I must be falling behind in keeping current as there were three sports cars in the center of an intersection that looked like 200-mph cars but with names unfamiliar to me (except for Hennessy who I thought was a tuner, not a builder). It irks me that, with one car, they didn’t say where it was made. Like name a country please. But they were all competing with the Ferrari and it’s hard to beat cars that look so good.

Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance

Ford GT

Ferrari didn’t choose this event to premiere their latest V-12 but they should have, as I think this is the crowd that likes to keep up with what’s the ultimate in both clothes and cars. When they go on the next event their friends will say “So what was new at the Rodeo Drive show?”

Alas, I left the event before the would-be starlets started strutting their stuff (in my experience these beauties don’t get up early) so if you attend next year and want to see the bolides AND the babes you’ll have to stick around through lunchtime. After lunchtime they announce the concours winners.

Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance

Had I been with a friend I would have chosen a place to dine on this offshoot street–a cobblestone that leads steeply uphill off Rodeo to a restaurant. It’s sort of a Euro touch to Rodeo Drive but any cafe around at ground level is fun during the show.

Did I find a car worthy of a painting? I hope so but it all depends, once I examine the pictures carefully, if I succeeded in capturing the ambiance of both the chosen car and the background. (Forget about that starlet adding some glamor–they are too unreliable…). Only in Beverly Hills on this day once a year can I hope for two of my ingredients for a good car painting to be present…

Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance

Phillip Sarofim’s 1979 Porsche 935 was awarded Best in Show, Aaron Weiss’ 1931 Cadillac Sport Phaeton won the Mayor’s Award for Most Elegant and The Beverly Hills Blockbuster Award for Most Eye Appeal went to Michael Kerns’ 1967 Bizzarrini 5300 Strada.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss art

THE AUTHOR Wallace Wyss is looking for a gallery who wants to try out one of his classic car portraits. He can be reached at malibucarart@gmail.com.

 
 
 
 
 

Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance

The Man in the White Suit (Yours truly) is everywhere–here in front of a famous clothier, whose shop is almost the same color yellow as Bruce Meyer’s prewar Bugatti.

Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance

Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance

Photos by Wallace Wyss.

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An Artists's Report on the Rodeo Drive Concours
Article Name
An Artists's Report on the Rodeo Drive Concours
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The The 29th annual Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance was fun for all as it is every year.
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Comments

  1. Fred Johansen says

    Great Pics.
    Thanx

  2. John Shea says

    Your John Lennon look ?

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