JUST YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD BEVERLY HILLS CAR SHOW
Greystone Mansion Concours D’Elegance
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 Sun, May 12, 2013
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
Story by Reed Berry Pictures by John Grafman When I say Cinco de Mayo, the first thing that probably comes to mind is a festive gathering with delicious food and countless bottles of ice-cold beer. Now, throw in over 150 vintage automobiles and motorcycles and hold the event at a historic mansion in Beverly Hills, and you have the fourth annual Greystone Mansion Concours d’Elegance. In a relatively short period of time, this has become one of the country’s premiere automotive events. This is not your typical neighborhood classic car show but, then again, this is not your typical neighborhood. I’m guessing that most of us don’t live in a 46,000 square foot mansion with fifty-five livable rooms on 18.3 beautifully landscaped acres with a lake and cascading waterfalls. Upon arrival, there is a huge lot with row after row of gorgeous classic cars, ranging from familiar domestic brands to sporty imports. Some of them I have seen before at other automotive events, but some I am seeing for the very first time. And I like what I see. It seems as though it would be difficult for anyone, even a non-car enthusiast, not to find something of interest here. The various shapes, sizes and colors make viewing these rolling mechanical works of art a truly sensory experience.
As I make my way down the first row, there are a number of vintage 1930s Cadillacs. You know, the ones you see in old movies that the driver has to climb up into and then look down what appears to be a 10-foot-long hood to see the road ahead. Having never owned or driven a car like this, I can only imagine what it’s like to maneuver such a massive vehicle along the streets and highways. As I turn the corner, there are a number of classic Ford Mustangs. What would any classic car show be without this iconic muscle car? Obviously, some Mustangs are more desirable and valuable than others based on the year and model, but all early Mustangs are attention-getters that any car enthusiast would be proud to park in their driveway. If you’re a Ford lover but desire even more speed, there’s a sporty 1967 Ford GT 40 Mark III on display.
I’m beginning to think they should have named this event “Porsche-Palooza” as it seems to be a little top-heavy with this popular automotive marque. That being said, I appreciate the fact that there is such a colorful array of Porsches being exhibited as it serves to brighten what is otherwise a cloudy, overcast Southern California Sunday. One of my favorite vehicles at today’s Concours isn’t really a car or a truck. I guess it could be best described as a tiny nautical-themed fun-mobile. The 1956 Fiat Eden Roc is one of only two in existence. It features teak trim on the exterior and mahogany seating in the back. Imagine filling this cool little vehicle with friends and heading down to any Southern California beach or, better yet, cruising Ocean Drive along Miami’s trendy South Beach. While the cars displayed in the upper level parking lot should be enough to hold anyone’s interest, I am anxious to head down to the mansion itself. Today the mansion is open to Concours guests and, as I see so many people exploring what was once someone’s magnificent home, I can’t help but think of the Jimmy Buffett song “Gypsies in the Palace.” We may not live here but, for at least a brief moment, we are able to imagine what life must have been like for those who did when the mansion was completed in the late 1920s.
Not all the cars here today are classics. In fact, some are brand new – and very expensive. Positioned around a fountain just outside the entrance to the mansion are a number of high-end cars, including a powerful Bugatti Veyron and an eye-catching light blue Bentley convertible. Sure, these cars are out of the price range of the average car buyer, but they certainly don’t look out of place parked in front of this stately structure. Continuing my tour through the mansion, I head downstairs to what was once an area for recreation and socializing with friends. There is a room that was once used as a billiard parlour as well as a bar with a sliding door that would cover and hide it during the prohibition era in the 1920s and 30s. There is also an original dual-lane Brunswick bowling alley that has been featured in a number of television shows and movies, including the Daniel Day Lewis film “There Will Be Blood.”
Guests of today’s Concours are certainly well fed. No, I don’t mean they’re fat, I simply mean that since this is an all-inclusive event there is plenty of good food to be enjoyed, as well as adult beverages for those over the age of 21. Some may say that at $120 per person in advance ($145 on the day of the show) the event is a little pricey. Personally, I think it’s an exceptional value for such a unique experience, plus a portion of the proceeds from today’s Concours will benefit the restoration efforts of Friends of Greystone. For additional information, visit greystoneconcours.org.