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Palm Springs Desert Classic - The Lawn and the Vendors

Discussion in 'Vintage (thru 365 GTC4)' started by pacpaldoc, Mar 2, 2010.

  1. pacpaldoc

    pacpaldoc Rookie

    Sep 13, 2005
    47
    Pacific Palisades, C
    Full Name:
    Tony Pfannkuche
    While the weather was perfect and the setting attractive, the 2010 Palm Springs Desert Classic Concours d’Elegance was less than thrilling. Poorly organized, sparsely attended, the Concours offered few truly interesting cars. There were a few notable exceptions: a Bugatti Type 57 Cabriolet owned by the same family for nearly 50 years; another Type 57 in racing configuration that actually ran the hill last year at Goodwood; Tom Hollfelder’s brutal Maserati 450S; Jim Gianopulos’ Maserati Mistral Cabriolet that practically defines “labor of love”; a rare and important Arnolt-Bristol Roadster with extensive European racing history, ruthlessly maintained and enthusiastically driven by its owner of 20 years, a Swede, who brought it to the US last August and has been touring in it ever since; and a truly amazing very early 50’s Glocker/Porsche 356, a car with serious and extensive period competition history, whose owner Herb Wysard prepared the car brilliantly, spending most of Friday and Saturday before the event getting everything right.

    But mostly, the Desert Classic offered re-treads and dealer cars. And the judging was hilarious. (You know you’re in the wrong place when the first thing the judge asks you is, “What year is your car?”)

    If the Desert Classic was a so-so effort, it wasn’t very different from most recent Concours at this level. In fact, there is a very disturbing trend in Concours shows at all levels to use the events as a platform for dealers and vendors to sell their products – to the detriment of owner-enthusiasts. It’s getting increasingly difficult to distinguish the Lawn from the Vendor Tents.

    At the Desert Classic, a majority of the high end entrants – and, therefore, a majority of the award winners – were basically used car dealers like Tom Shaughnessy, Family Classics, Exclusive Motors and Symbolic, or were the products of high end restoration shops, reflecting negligible owner input beyond writing a large check. When put into competition against the commercial guys, enthusiasts are at an almost insurmountable disadvantage. To take an example, the used car dealer Tom Shaughnessy brought and put into class competition a unique, and no doubt very expensive, prototype Daytona. Now, it was nice to see such a rare car, but, really, what was Shaughnessy’s point in competing for a cup? Why not just put it on display, and not disadvantage other Daytona owners who put such admirable effort in personally preparing their cars for the show? Well, of course the answer is that Shaughnessy has cars to sell, and an award, even at a modest event like the Desert Classic, adds commercial value.

    But this trend devalues the effort and enthusiasm of those owners who merely love their cars.

    It isn’t actually a question of resources, but rather of enthusiasm. We know a number of collectors of considerable means who are driven by a passion for connoisseurship: Peter Mullin, whose knowledge and love of French cars of dramatic design knows no bounds; Tom Hollfelder and Tom Malloy who have built amazing collections of competition cars; Dick Messer, whose leadership of the Petersen enriches our car culture, and whose personal collection reflects his taste and commitment; and Otis Chandler, whose peerless taste, knowledge, commitment and collector’s heart led him to collect and create several iterations of great and revealing assemblages of distinctive cars and motorcycles.

    But today, dealers and vendors basically rule the lawn. It takes the fun out of it.

    It wasn’t always this way. In 1956, the Best of Show winner at Pebble Beach was Phil Hill’s 1931 Pierce Arrow. As you probably know, this car was in Phil’s family in Santa Monica from new. I visited Phil at his home in Santa Monica in early August 2006. He had been invited to bring the Pierce Arrow back for the 50th Anniversary of its Best of Show award. It was a Saturday morning a couple of weeks before Pebble Beach, and Phil was in his garage working on the car with a young assistant and the always helpful advice of Alma. Parkinson’s had already begun to limit Phil’s activity, but there he was, in his garage, working on the details of the Pierce Arrow, getting everything right, polishing the brightwork – an owner, a connoisseur, an enthusiast. A car guy.

    That’s the commitment that events like the Desert Classic ought to recognize. When the used car dealers dominate shows like this, something important is lost.
     
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  3. billnoon

    billnoon Formula 3
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    Aug 22, 2003
    1,176
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    Bill Noon
    Hi Tony... Pretty sure Symbolic did not have anything on the lawn and even more sure we did not win anything. On the other hand a fair number of our clients did go home with some new dishes, plates and trays.

    I had a good time and sorry you left upset.

    I love showing a car or two from my own collection at this event and will certainly return next year and thereafter as long as they will have me.

    I still think it is one of the best low key events and for the money simply can not be beat.

    Just my 2¢!

    Bill Noon
     
  4. bill365

    bill365 F1 Rookie

    Nov 3, 2003
    3,319
    Chicago area
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    Bill
    #3 bill365, Mar 2, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 2, 2010
    Hi Tony,
    It is too bad, that the gathering did not please you to your fullest capacity. Please do not regard my comments following, as argumentative or adversarial, simply a different perspective.

    In the case of Tom Shaughnessy, I would like to say that Tom is a true Ferrari etc., enthusiast/collector, concours judge and IIRC, the prototype Daytona you mention, has been personally owned by him for a number of years and AFAIK, is not presently for sale. This does not mean that it will not be sold in the future, many owner/collector/enthusiasts will sell cars in their stable, when their "crosshairs" fall on a car of greater interest to them.

    I feel it's a bit combative/insulting and unwarranted for you to call him,"the used car dealer Tom Shaughnessy." Although he does deal in "used" vintage/historic Ferraris and such, your comment does not diminish his reputation amongst the knowledgeable, but it may well serve to lower their estimations of your own.

    Because someone may have located, brokered or bought and sold vintage/collectible cars, shouldn't automatically bar them from entry into the many events associated with their interest. If this were the case, a large number of the important names throughout the history in this field would be excluded as well.

    Just my opinion.

    Best regards,
    Bill
     
  5. regaliaconcours

    regaliaconcours Formula Junior

    Jul 6, 2006
    307
    Sun Valley
    Full Name:
    MICHAEL REGALIA
    Tony, With all due respect, everyone should have the right to "show" their car no matter who they are. Their depth of wallet does not matter nor should it matter. To say one guy has more or less love/passion for his car based upon his financial circumstances is preposterous. A Concours D Elegance is about the cars and how well they are presented. A truely great Concours is one that elevates the "bar", such as Pebble Beach, Amelia Island, etc. Authenticity is the corner stone of any Concours and it's judging staff, and perhaps a more "authentic" presentation would net you better results in the future? Regards, Mike Regalia
     
  6. Bullfighter

    Bullfighter Two Time F1 World Champ
    Lifetime Rossa Owner

    Jan 26, 2005
    20,700
    Fullerton, California
    Full Name:
    Jon
    Did Ralph Lauren restore his own cars for Pebble? :confused:
     
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  8. geno berns

    geno berns F1 Rookie

    Oct 26, 2006
    2,863
    Midwest
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    Geno
    So what's the solution? Bar all car dealers from participating in a concours? Only end users, thus only enthusiasts are allowed to win awards? I like it, but it's not realistic...

    Geno.
     
  9. richardowen

    richardowen Formula Junior

    Apr 2, 2004
    837
    Montreal, Canada
    #7 richardowen, Mar 3, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2010
    Actually I believe it's the other way around. People that make a living working in and around the hobby are supporting the Desert Classic by bringing exceptional cars and arousing interest.

    Your story about Phil Hill is fantastic, but you conveniently forgot that he founded Hill and Vaughn to do restoration work professionally. Does this diminish his contribution? I don't think it does.

    Furthermore, suggesting that Tom S and others devalue the scene is absurd. No matter how much you want to fight the system, the automobile has always been a commercial enterprise.
     
  10. f308jack

    f308jack F1 Rookie

    Jun 7, 2007
    4,267
    Cape Town, South Afr
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    Jack Verschuur
    Why shouldn't professionals compete in the same concours as anyone else? After all, it's about the quality of the car, not about the owner nor about who restored it.

    If Tom shows a unique Daytona and enters it in the concourse, going home with some hardware constitutes a crown on his work, and tells you something about the quality of the car. That's as important to him for his car as it is to you for your car.

    Many of these cars would not be at shows for all to enjoy if this were any different.

    I'd like to add to that, that many an owner would not be in the hobby if it were not for the efforts of people like Tom and Bill (and many others on this forum), simply because they have two left hands or lack the time to carry out a restoration themselves.

    To divide judging in an amatuer and a professional class reeks of socialism, and deviates from the purpose of the concours.
     
  11. RED TESTAROSSA

    RED TESTAROSSA Formula Junior

    Jul 8, 2009
    412
    So. Calif.
    Full Name:
    Randy
    My wife and I went and had a good time. Got to show her a couple of Testarossa's. First time she has seen one in person. She said "Now I can see why you like them."
     
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  13. BigTex

    BigTex Seven Time F1 World Champ
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    Dec 6, 2002
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    Bubba
    #10 BigTex, Mar 3, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
    Tom S. has helped a LOT of people on this site with his knowledge and expertise, at no compensation......

    I don't think that should bar him from showing a car somewhere...

    Win or lose, as to the 'trophies' the joy is in playing the game......my cars never win either...the Judge suggested I should WASH it....LOL!
    Image Unavailable, Please Login
     
  14. f308jack

    f308jack F1 Rookie

    Jun 7, 2007
    4,267
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    Jack Verschuur
    Alan,

    What's happening? There's no female in that picture?
     
  15. ggjjr

    ggjjr Formula Junior

    Nov 11, 2003
    832
    Detroit
    Full Name:
    George
    Tony,
    On a surface level I understand your points. After thinking about it further I couldn't help coming to the realization that someone who chooses to make dealing-in and restoring these cars their livelihod cannot be said to have less passion than the wealthy collectors who many times seem more like "patrons of the arts".

    George
     
  16. ferraripete

    ferraripete F1 World Champ

    i am still laughing!
     
  17. geno berns

    geno berns F1 Rookie

    Oct 26, 2006
    2,863
    Midwest
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    Geno
    With out Tom S, many would not be in the position to win an award. BTW, there are an unlimited number of Platinum awards that can be won at an FCA sanctioned concours. Therefore, where is the competition? The owner who's showing his car is not really competing against any one car but the scoring system its self. If the car is worthy it will win no mater what the next guy has in store.

    Geno
     
  18. 4CamGT

    4CamGT Formula 3

    Jun 23, 2004
    2,382
    Southern California
    Really loved the event. The setting was spectacular. One of the best settings for a concours I've ever been to. It was surreal. The Tour began in the old town of La Quinta. Felt like a film set with beautiful classic cars. The Desert Classic is just getting its bearings and now hopefully at its permanent home. I was invited as one of the Judges by Paul and Holly Merrigan along with some other designers. I was teamed up with Chad McQueen. It was wonderful going through all the beautiful cars in our class and meeting the people. Chad spent a lot of time talking to the owners and patiently listening to their adventures and stories with their cars. Many of the owners didn't even know who he was. He's very knowledgeable about cars like his dad but didn't know what year every car was. He's a real passionate gearhead and car guy. It might have been him you're refering to. Yes, there were some every day classics in between a few Bugattis. Most importantly, they had fun and they too were able to share their enthusiasm(I love TR6's). Tony, Chad and I looked at a 365GT2+2 w/o front bumpers. I think it was your car. It wasn't in our class but when we walked by, Chad just kept looking at it and mentioned how much he loved the lines and color. Didn't know what year or model Ferrari it was, he was just smitten by it. I think its a car he would consider for himself.

    If I'm asked back next year I will definitively go. I think its only going to get better at every level. On Tom, he's one of the most down to earth, hard working, hands on, honest, sharing, smart guys I know. He forgets more about Vintage Ferraris everyday than I will ever learn. If you're cool with him, he's cool with you. He's a tough guy to get to know because he has an idiosyncratic way about him. He's well worth getting to know especially if you own a vintage Ferrari.

    Freeman
     
  19. johnei

    johnei Formula 3
    Silver Subscribed

    Mar 22, 2006
    1,217
    Seattle
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    John Wiley
    I think having the show at the La Quinta Resort, and with the support of the town of La Quinta made a big difference. Given the economic climate, and that this is only the third time out for the show, it went well.

    For those who could not attend and missed out on all the fun, you can see my photos with

    highlights from the show on Sunday at
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/24302083@N05/sets/72157623544373810/

    and the complete set at
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/24302083@N05/sets/72157623421677709/
     
  20. regaliaconcours

    regaliaconcours Formula Junior

    Jul 6, 2006
    307
    Sun Valley
    Full Name:
    MICHAEL REGALIA
    Geno, The Desert classic is not an FCA event, and I don't know who the judges were exactly that Tony has/had an issue with. But, I judged his 365 2+2 a couple of years ago at the L.A. Concours when it was Rosso Red, and it had then and still does have an extensively modified front nose. Tony had no factory documentation at the time for such a modification, only a few articles about cars and shops in Italy that did these sort of changes. I advised him at the time that what he had would never be good enough to please the FCA judges, and if he was going to keep that front nose he was going to have to satisfy the judges with factory documentation or face severe penalties for it during judging. He did not place at L.A. He has since restored/painted the car in a darker red, but has kept the nose as it was. He may have more thorough documentation now that verifies the origin of the work as factory, and if so then he should not be penilized for the changes. If he does not, then the car is not authentic as it left the factory, and therefore is subject to sever penalties. Perhaps his comment about the judges not knowing exactly what year the car was has something to do with the modifications? We all have had issues with our show cars at one time or another(it comes with the territory), and we all take it pretty personally at times. The best advise I can give anybody who is showing a car is to be prepared with as much real documentation as possible for whatever is out of the norm on their car. This helps the judges understand your car and often times you can prevent an unwarranted penalty. Remember, after the judges are done and made their selections, it's to late to make your case! It is foolish to expect ANY judge(s) to know exactly what every single model Ferrari had in the way of the many thousands of details there are, or the changes that often occur during manufacturing. Beyond that cross your fingers and hope they liked your car. Sometimes it's your day, and sometimes it's not!............Mike
     
  21. shaughnessy

    shaughnessy Formula 3
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    Apr 1, 2004
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    #18 shaughnessy, Mar 3, 2010
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2010
    Mike,

    The origin of the work performed on the entrant's 365GT2+2 car was a modification by a guy, Sam Ladki (sp?) who ran a rental car business down by the SD airport.
    That business is sinced gone and I believe Sam may have gone away.
    He also owned a 275 short nose along with this particular customized 365 back 10 + years ago.

    Elliot Grossman will recall this car. The two cars were purchased from Vintage, Encinitas CA
    Vintage(Symbolic, now) may have owned this car more than once


    "Patron of the Arts" has a much more attractive and accurate term
    than the demeaning term "Used Car Salesman"
     
  22. regaliaconcours

    regaliaconcours Formula Junior

    Jul 6, 2006
    307
    Sun Valley
    Full Name:
    MICHAEL REGALIA
    Thanks for the clarification Tom. Modifications to originality can be "cool" as long as they are documented factory changes, if not, show at your own risk! I like "Grand Patron".... Mike
     
  23. Marcel Massini

    Marcel Massini F1 World Champ
    Honorary

    Mar 2, 2005
    16,174
    The car shown by the entrant was born as a standard 365 GT 2+2. It was sold new in May 1968 in Rome, Italy. Between January and March 1969 it was serviced and maintained 3 times at the Factory Assistenza Clienti in the city of Modena. The car was then used in the movie "The Adventurers". The cars used in that movie were then sold to David Stadsklev, a young American living at the time in Rome. He sold off the other movie cars but kept the Ferrari, he then exported it to USA where it was repainted gold metallic. Later on it went to El Paso/TX and was then modified. It went to the current owner in July 2005.

    Marcel Massini
     
  24. ArtS

    ArtS F1 Veteran
    Rossa Subscribed Owner

    Nov 11, 2003
    6,082
    Central NJ
    Tom,

    Personally, I like: 'Tom Shaughnessy, patron of ArtS' :D :D. Who knows, I might actually get my car back on the road that way!

    Regards,

    Art S.
     
  25. regaliaconcours

    regaliaconcours Formula Junior

    Jul 6, 2006
    307
    Sun Valley
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    MICHAEL REGALIA
    Thanks Marcel, I guess that pretty much settles that! Mike
     
  26. swift53

    swift53 F1 Rookie
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    #23 swift53, Mar 4, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 7, 2017
  27. ggjjr

    ggjjr Formula Junior

    Nov 11, 2003
    832
    Detroit
    Full Name:
    George
    I can't wait to hear the replies to the above.

    George
     
  28. CarloR

    CarloR Formula Junior

    Dec 13, 2006
    346
    Mission Hills, San Diego
    Full Name:
    Carlo Rubio
    Tom,

    I 10000000% agree with hating the term "Used Car Salesman" and Sam Ladki was a nutcase and a half.. I knew his daughter Christina when they lived in La Jolla. He was all over the board in his mind and day to day.. I would totally agree he is probably gone... somewhere far away and I dont see him re-surfacing anytime soon. Ladki rent-a-car was a joke!! If I remember correctly by FOX rent a car off of washington street.
     

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