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Concours d’Elegance 2023
September 22 @ 12:00 am - September 24 @ 12:00 am
Delahaye is the featured Marque of the 16th Annual St. Michaels Concours d’Elegance on Chesapeake Bay, with Bentley Motors as this year’s presenting sponsor. This year Corvette’s 70th anniversary is being celebrated with an invitational class of racing Corvettes sponsored by Cunningham Automotive.
The September 22-24 event takes place at the Kent Island Yacht Club on the Kent Narrows and includes pre- and post-war classes of automobiles and a selection of Chesapeake Bay yachts and antique boats. Sunday, September 24 is set aside for spectators and offers a day of grand classic motoring, lively music, and Eastern Shore cuisine and libations in a casually elegant waterfront setting.
“The Delahaye’s aerodynamic curves and lines embrace elegance like no other,” says St. Michaels Concours d’Elegance Chairman Luke L. Phipps. “The world-renowned Audrain Auto Museum of Newport is entering a 1951 Delahaye, just one week before their own prestigious Concours & Motor Week. We feel extremely honored by their participation.”
Luke says the 1951 Delahaye 135M remains in remarkable overall condition, including its very attractive two-tone gray finish, supple red leather interior with exquisite, burled wood trim, and whitewall tires.
The Delahaye’s 135, introduced in Paris in 1935, was a rare model that straddled both the pre-war and post-war eras. It boasted a brand-new chassis with the same 3.6-liter, six-cylinder engine first seen in the earlier Type 138, and it proved to be a remarkable automobile upon its release. The 135 proved to more than hold its own in competition, as it swept the top six places at Marseilles in 1936. In the following years, leading up to the beginning of the Second World War, the 135 further cemented its reputation, taking second place overall at Le Mans in 1937 and placing first, second, and fourth the following year.
“Even today, six decades after the final Delahaye was produced, the famous 135 series cars remain very highly regarded as some of the most compelling French automobiles ever produced,” Luke says.
The invitational class of Corvettes includes six automobiles known on the racetracks at Le Mans, Sebring, and Daytona. The 1960 Corvette Briggs Cunningham Le Mans Racer #1 is a motorsports icon and will be on display at the event. The Corvette was personally driven by Briggs Cunningham and has been fully restored to its original 1960 Le Mans delivery. The 1960 Corvette Briggs Cunningham Le Mans Racer #3 – the first Corvette to win First Class at the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1960, a title held for more than 40 years – will also be on display, along with a 1956 Corvette SR-2 Racer, the first General Motors purpose-built and sponsored Corvette Racer.
Spectators can also take in the only 1962 Corvette and one of five straight axel Corvettes to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The September/Turner Corvette was placed in the number one position, set by its 5.4-liter engine size. A 1966 Roger Penske Corvette Development L88 #9 will also be on display and is the only midyear Corvette with back-to-back wins in 1966 at Daytona, 24 Hours of Le Mans, and 12 Hours of Sebring. Wrapping up the invitational class is the 1968 Corvette L88 Rebel #4 Le Mans Racer, built by Toye English’s Red team as the successor to the legendary “Rebel.” This Le Mans Racer completed the 1972 24 Hours of Le Mans and finished first in class and third overall at the 1973 24 Hours of Daytona.
Luke says a single-family-owned 1926 Isotta Fraschini will also be making its first public appearance at this year’s Concours and has been kept in pristine condition by the family since purchased new as a gift for the owner’s Italian grandmother.
An award ceremony takes place Sunday afternoon and includes a Chairman’s Award recognizing one automobile in the Corvette Collector Car Park, with Corvette owners encouraged to attend the event and line the entrance of the Yacht Club. Vendor tents and live music wrap up the event.
“In addition to an array of exceptional award-winning motorcars, we’ll showcase a number of luxury yachts dockside for the event,” says Luke. “It’s a grand day of celebrating motorsports, restoration excellence, all combined with Eastern Shore hospitality.”
Public day-trippers are encouraged to come by boat, with dockage for weekend transients also available at the Kent Island Yacht Club and Hyatt Place Marina. Slips are limited, with advanced reservations needed, with more information by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org.
Locally sourced cuisine and craft libations will be available for purchase from the Kent Island Yacht Club, with early bird discounted tickets for September 24 and more information about the event at www.smcde.org.