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10/02/05 NEWPORT CONCOURS

This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!

Published on Sat, Oct 8, 2005

By: The LACar Editorial Staff

10/02/05 NEWPORT CONCOURS

By JOHN GRAFMAN

What a difference a day makes. In this case, it was a year. At the 2004 Concours just a year ago, I mocked the weather for being anything but what the area is so renown for (sunny skies and warm days). Little did we, or anyone else, realize that was just the tip of the iceberg. Last winter became the wettest on record for Southern California. While the rain put a damper on the day, as they say, the show must go on, and it did.

At Strawberry Farms Golf Club this year, the sun is out in full force - and so are the crowds. Not surprisingly, near perfect conditions and some of the most desirable automobiles that can be found have a tendency to bring out the auto aficionado in all of us.

Another change this year is the name. The Concours over the years has been only slightly less mobile than some of the cars in attendance. From the early years, starting in 1983 at California State University, Irvine, the Newport Beach Concours has hop scotched around Orange County with strange irregularity. The first move in 1994 landed the event at the outstanding Pelican Hills Country Club. The formerly named Newport Beach Concours morphed into the Orange Coast Concours at Oak Polo Field in San Juan Capistrano back in 2000, and then into Newport Coast Concours at Hidden Valley for 2002, at the former grounds of Lion Country Safari in Irvine. While the Newport name carries some cache, the name was misleading, as the location simply wasn't in Newport nor was it near the coast. Finally, last year at this same picturesque location, the title was revised to Irvine Concours.

For twenty-three years, this event has been for the benefit of ATSC (Assessment and Treatment Service Centers) - and now the Newport Concours is the official name for this year. Go figure!

Change is good, but the one thing that remains the same at the event is the exceptional vehicles and attendees. This year, the featured automobile is Ferrari. Numerous examples dot the golf course with some beautiful examples of so many incarnations stretching back to 1948 including 250s, 330s, 330GT, 365s, Daytonas, Dinos, 308s, 400, 512, and even an Enzo, F40 and F50.

On the other end of the spectrum is a class of micro cars including a 1956 and a 1958 Isetta, a '58 Messerschmitt, a 1964 Mazda R360 that looks like it rolled right off the showroom floor, Fiat Abarths from 1964 and 1967, and assorted other vehicles that look impossibly small, incapable of actually holding real size adults, and yet they do. As gas prices loom ever higher, these might serve as a glimpse into the future as much as they are a reflection of the past.

In all, there are a couple hundred cars of various types, in a number of classes that guarantee no one will be disappointed. Certainly, there is something for every enthusiast at this event.

Unique to the ATSC Concours are a number of those who are responsible for continuing our love affair with auto. As Irvine is in the epicenter of automotive design studios it really shouldn't be a big surprise to find so many of those people here. With over two dozen recognizable industry powerhouses on hand as honorary judges, there are no shortages of critical eyes.

And like a Cecil B. DeMille film, this has a cast of thousands (well, maybe a few less) that transforms a green hillside into an epic automotive happening. While the novices will note this turns our Sunday into a better than average weekend day, the more seasoned understand that their effort in making the this year's annual event a reality also helps the lives of those ATSC is providing benefits for.

After a bit of cooperation from Mother Nature and constant evolution year after year, the 2005 ATSC Concours is a polished production. One thing becomes apparent from this year's affair by the day's end: This is going to be one tough act to follow.

For more please go to www.atscconcours.com

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