Post and Courier
September 18, 2014

Hilton Head Island concours caps off week-long festival of vintage car displays, races

Posted: 11/08/2013 12:01 a.m.
Updated: 11/08/2013 12:55 p.m.


By Jim Parker

It wasn’t a Bearcat, but a last-of-its-breed 1929 Stutz Supercharged Coupe won top honors at the splashiest Concours d’Elegance in the state.

The Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival concluded Sunday with its 12th annual concours – transplanted this year to Port Royal Golf Club and attracting a dynamic turnout of vintage cars and auto enthusiasts.

“This year’s event filled up in record time,” says Paul Doerring, the festival’s chairman emeritus. “With the notoriety of the event growing year after year and our new venue, the Port Royal Golf Club, we had a higher quality show field.”

Richard and Irina Mitchell of Montgomery, Texas, who own the 84-year-old Stutz, were awarded the coveted “Best of Show.” According to festival organizers, “This car is the only example of its kind still in existence.”

Stutz, built in Indiana from 1911 to 1935, may be best known for its iconic 1914 “Bearcat” speedster.

While the supercharged Stutz coupe won the judges over, the “People’s Choice” prize picked by attendees went to a “police-equipped 1933 MG L1.” Bill and Sarah Richey of Bowling Green, Ky., own the British car.

Bud Frazier’s 1934 Chrysler Airflow CY took home Most Outstanding Car – Pre-1948” and a 1964 Shelby Cobra owned by Ron Finger won Most Outstanding Car – Post-1948, rounding out the show-stopping awards.

“This year’s top honors are a tribute to the growth of the event,” Doerring says. “We are delighted to add them to the Hilton Head Island history book.”

Among local invitees, Jack and Mary Crabtree of Goose Creek won a Palmetto Award in the “American Performance General Motors” category for their 1966 Chevrolet Chevelle SS.

More than 500 automobiles took part in the festival and concluding concours. The Savannah Speed Classic Oct. 25-27 showcased vintage and high-performance race cars at a road course in nearby Hutchinson Island, Ga.

This weekend’s events included a “car club jamboree” Saturday and wrapped up Sunday with the Concours d’Elegance on one of Hilton Head Island’s classic golf courses.

“This has been a landmark year for our festival,” says Carolyn Vanagel, festival president.

“The event continues to grow each and every year, and 2013 was no exception. The crowds were enthusiastic and enjoyed the wide variety of offerings – presentations, guided walking tours and parades of rare cars. We could not be happier with this year’s turnout,” she says.

Noted endurance race car driver Hurley Haywood served as honorary chairman and participated at events in Hilton Head Island and Savannah.

Renowned collectors Sam Mann of Englewood, N.J, and Jim Schmidt of Ocala, Fla., received the 2013 Pinnacle Award and the Honored Collector Award respectively.

Motoring Festival partners this year consisted of BMW Group, Porsche Cars North America, Infiniti, Jaguar Land Rover, Beaufort Memorial Hospital, Hargray, the Hilton Head Island/Bluffton Chamber of Commerce, Visit Savannah and L&L Broadcasting.

“Attendees were treated to a new venue and some of the finest classic cars in the world,” says Jordan Walker of Brandware Public Relations, representing the festival.

For more information and a full list of winners, visit www.HHIMotoringFestival.com.

Reach Jim Parker at 937-5542 or jparker@postandcourier.com.