Elite Fleet PDF Print E-mail
Written by Amy Scalia   
Saturday, 05 June 2010 07:53

Elite Fleet
Get revved up to learn more about Concours d'Elegance, an event that attracts 5,500 of its closest friends and the most elite automobiles in the region.

Elite, French and fiercely competitive. No, this isn't your Prince Charming. It's the Concours d'Elegance, a vehicle competition and exhibition event.


The Concours d'Elegance, literally meaning a competition of elegance in French, dates back to 17th century French aristocracy, who paraded horse-drawn carriages in the parks of Paris. Eventually, as transportation evolved, the gatherings became a competition among automobile owners to be judged on the appearance of their vehicles, commonly after racing competitions.


The most well-known Concours d'Elegance is the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, where Jay Leno often appears and showcases some of his collection. While there's no Jay Leno, Cincinnati does have its own Concours d'Elegance event, and it's growing in popularity with each passing year.


The Tri-State's Concours d'Elegance was the vision of Helen Williams who wanted to do something in honor of her good friend Bill Rudd, who had severe rheumatoid arthritis. A 060710SOCIAL2.jpgsmall group of eight committee members, in cooperation with the Arthritis Foundation Ohio River Valley Chapter, produced the first event at the estate of William and Helen Williams in Indian Hill on June 18, 1978.


Over the years, the event grew into an entire weekend of fundraising events including a Friday evening "Cruisin' for a Cure" dinner and live auction and Saturday countryside car tour for car exhibitors and enthusiasts, followed by an evening garage party held at the location of a prominent local car collection.


As the car show has grown, it has been held at the Peterloon Estate in Indian Hill; Cincinnati Country Day School; Indian Hill High School; and finally at its current location at Ault Park, where it has been since 1996.


The Concours is held annually on the second Sunday in June, with this year's events scheduled for June 11–13. More than 200 of some of the finest cars and motorcycles from across the United States and Canada will be on display in the gardens of Ault Park. Owners nominate their cars, and the car selection committee approves the participating vehicles for exhibition in the show, based upon historical significance, appeal, rarity and available openings within the featured car classes.


In 2006, the Cincinnati Concours d'Elegance foundation, a non-profit 501(c)3 organization was established to manage and produce the Concours. All proceeds 060710SOCIAL3.jpgcontinue to benefit the Arthritis Foundation, with a new focus since 2009 on juvenile arthritis. Since the organization's inception, Cincinnati's Concours d'Elegance has raised more than $1 million in support of research and services to help those suffering from Arthritis, says Sue Willis, Cincinnati Concours Foundation director.


This year’s Concours celebrates "International Designers and Coachbuilders" from France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and the United States, Willis says. "This refers to a period in automotive history when affluent patrons built 'one of a kind' cars," she says. "They would purchase a rolling chassis from an established manufacturer and then contact a coachbuilder to create a unique skin of metal and wood." In addition to this featured theme, the event will feature three special displays of the 100th Anniversary of Alfa Romeo, Historic Hot Rods and "Life's a Beach" vintage beach cars.


This won't be just a "man event" either. Out of the 5,500 expected to attend this year, many will be women. "Many women are car enthusiasts and enjoy the beauty of the vehicles on display as well as the gardens of Ault Park," Willis says. "The automotive art show is also of equal interest to women."

More information and event tickets are available at




Top and Second Photos

Photos courtesy of Sue Willis

Bottom Photo

Photographer: Neysa Ruhl

Model: Sue Willis

Location: Lofts@4120

Amy Scalia -


Amy Scalia, a Cincinnati native, is the editor in chief and publisher of Cincy Chic. Send her an e-mail at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


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