Inaugural Audrain’s Newport Concours & Motor Week wows Newport

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Thousands of classic automobile enthusiasts descended on Newport last week for the inaugural edition of Audrain’s Newport Concours & Motor Week. The four-day program was organized by the principals of the Audrain Automobile Museum which opened on Bellevue Avenue in 2014. In addition to the Concours Village at the International Tennis Hall of Fame, where a concert featuring John Legend took place on Friday night, there were a number of events including The Gathering at Rough Point, an exclusive lawn party at the Doris Duke estate that offered attendees a look at a collection of 70 bespoke cars and motorcycles while they sipped cocktails and listened to live music. 

There were also seminars on a variety of automotive topics, and the Tour D’Elegance, a parade of the participating cars that traveled from Jamestown, over the Claiborne Pell Bridge with a stop at the top of the bridge for photos, through downtown Newport to another photo op at Fort Adams, followed by a drive along scenic Ocean Drive to Bellevue Avenue. You could also see a collection of Lamborghini’s on the lawn of the Redwood Library and Porsche’s at the Newport Art Museum.

The Newport Concours culminated with a stunning display of automotive excellence on the grounds of The Breakers on Sunday. Roving teams of judges examined nearly 100 cars that were divided into a classes that spanned the decades from the early 20th century until 1970 and competed for one of three podium spots for each class, with the class winners competing for the grand prize of the Willie K. Vanderbilt Trophy. In the end, a 1927 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A S Fleetwood owned by Joseph and Margie Cassini was named best in show in addition to winning the ‘Most Elegant’ award. According to event organizers, the total value of the cars on the grounds of The Breakers on Sunday reached one billion dollars.

All photos by Nicole Vanasse for What’sUpNewp

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The brainchild of Jay Leno, Chairman of the Audrain’s Newport Concours & Motor Week, the 30 Under 30 class featured car owners under thirty years old who have spent less than $30,000 on their car. Carter Kramer’s 1976 BMW 2002 took home 1st in Class. 

Other class winners included a 1923 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost owned by Rick Brown carrying a body built for Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt II, a rare 1931 Ballot RH3 sports car owned by Michael Howe, a charismatic 1968 Oldsmobile 442 convertible owned by Robert Fisette, and James Utaski’s spectacular 1964 Ferrari 250 GT Lusso, which also won the coveted ‘Excellence in Design’ trophy, chosen and presented by Michael Simcoe, VP of Global Design for General Motors.

There was considerable star power on hand for the four-day Concours. In addition to Leno, and Concours chairman Donald Osborne, supermodel Emily Ratajkowski, and fashion designer Zac Posen were among the celebrities spotted at one Concours event or another.

All photos by Nicole Vanasse for What’sUpNewp

“Our expectations for this debut event were high, but the reception exceeded them in almost every way”, said Concours Chairman Donald Osborne. “The cars, the people, the stories, and the setting all came together to become the living expression of the event’s theme, ‘History, Luxury, Sport — the essence of Newport. We are thrilled with the outcome.”

Other special Concours award winners:

‘Chairman’s Choice’ prize to Stephen and Kim Bruno’s 1952 Ferrari 212 Inter Pinin Farina cabriolet, an elegant Paris Show car and Nürburgring racer.

‘Sporting Choice’ award given to the dramatic 1939 Type 57 Aravis Roadster of Peter and Merle Mullin.

‘Founder’s Choice’ trophy won by Rob Kauffman’s 1901 Panhard et Levassor Type B1, which was a participant in the 1902 Vanderbilt Cup race. 

‘People’s Choice’, chosen by the nearly 2,000 attendees, was a very original 1955 Mercedes-Benz 300SL ‘Gullwing’ owned by Robert and Renee Torre. A true time capsule, it captivated the enthusiastic crowd.

All photos by Nicole Vanasse for What’sUpNewp