It was Audrain’s first ever Concours d’Elegance and Motor Week, held in the cradle of American racing history in Newport, R.I.
For “Driven” host Tom Gregory, it was an embarrassment of riches. “I have never seen so many different types of vehicles in my entire life, many of which I cannot pronounce.” Gregory joked.
Ever since Willie K. Vanderbilt first realized he had a need for speed, the Newport area has been known for cars that combine performance and elegance.
For this year’s attendees, holding an event like the Concours in Newport is a no-brainer.
“Newport Rhode Island and classic cars . . . come on, it doesn’t get better.” said TV Producer Vin Di Bona.
“To think that this is the inaugural event, but it’s back here where it belongs,” said John O’Hurley of National Dog Show Fame (or ‘J. Peterman’ anyone?).
Mansions like Doris Duke’s Rough Point provide a fitting backdrop for the automotive art lined up on their lawns. Drivers even make a run down Bellevue Avenue, where Willie Vanderbilt and his buddies staged their first races.
Registered Concours competitors take their cars even further afield in the Tour d’Elegance, which begins at glorious Newport Bridge before returning the drivers and their machines to Bellevue – where it all began.
In an event so marked by elegance, Audrain’s benefit Gala takes it up a notch. Masked attendees sip Moet and mingle while Beethoven sonatas are played mournfully (and live) in the background.
Despite the scenery and the famous guests, the cars will always be the stars of the show. At the Concours event itself, winning cars are chosen by a panel of judges in several different categories. There’s even a people’s choice award, voted on by the event’s attendees.
Audrain’s Concours d’Elegance and Motor Week will ride again in October 2020, and we can’t recommend it strongly enough. Get ticketing information at their website.
See the cars (and the sights) at the rest of the Concours on our YouTube Playlist.