Frank Sinatra bought a hybrid car in 1957! So did his pals, Dean Martin, Peter Lawford, and Eddie Fisher, as did music legends Hoagy Carmichael and David Rose, and numerous other celebrities.
But the cars were not the politically correct gas/electric hybrids of today; Sinatra’s clan, known as the “Rat Pack,” drove Dual Ghias, sleek high-performance GT convertibles with Dodge D-500 hemi engines and custom bodies hand-made by Carrozzeria Ghia of Turin, Italy. Such cars were called hybrids, because they combined reliable and easily serviced American engines with hand-crafted bodies by Italian, French, and British coach makers. The hybrids of the ’50′s and ’60′s were exquisitely beautiful automobiles, part of the mid-twentieth century renaissance in architecture, furniture, and automobile design. The 2011 Greenwich Concours d’Elegance, taking place on June 4 and 5, in Greenwich, Connecticut, will have a special two-day centerpiece display of these stunning, but seldom-seen, mid-century hybrid cars.
Because these cars all have American running gear and, in many cases, chassis and instrumentation as well, they qualify for inclusion in Saturday’s Concours Americana for American cars, while, because of their European bodies, they also qualify for Sunday’s Concours International for imported cars, and therefore will be shown on both days.
The mid-twentieth century also produced some outstanding motorcycles, such as the legendary Triumph Bonneville TT Special series of competition motorcycles, produced in the 1960′s. Another special display at the Greenwich Concours will be an exhibit of every model in the series, all superbly restored and owned by a single collector, and one of just two such complete collections in existence.
Also, 2011 being the 50th anniversary of the Jaguar E-type, dubbed “the sexiest car ever made,” and one of only two cars in the permanent collection at the Museum Of Modern Art in New York City. There will be a dedicated circle of E-type Jaguars with examples of all the series and models.
The newly restored ex-Steve McQueen “Baja Boot” off-road racer is another one-off custom-built vehicle that will be exhibited at the Greenwich Concours.
Automobile Magazine, the Title Sponsor of the Greenwich Concours, will have a special treat in their pavilion, an installation of incredible Virtual GT driving simulators. Concours visitors will be able to test their driving skills at a great variety of race venues, in a wide choice of cars, with both manual and automatic gear boxes.
In addition to Saturday’s Concours Americana and Sunday’s Concours International, Bonhams will hold it auction of collector cars and automobilia on Sunday afternoon. Sponsor Chubb Personal Insurance can insure new purchases for lucky bidders, and Plycar is on hand to transport purchases to their new garages.
Another great favorite of Concours spectators are the displays of their newest cars by such Concours sponsors as Mercedes-Benz, Cadillac, Lexus, Ferrari, Jaguar, Land Rover, Maserati, Bentley, Rolls Royce, Fisker, and McLaren. Some even offer test drives.
Again this year, there will be a regatta for former-America’s Cup 12-M yachts, which will compete in match races, both days, for the Greenwich Concours Cup. Depending on availability, spectators will have opportunity to take a short sail on a Cup boat. They can also board the very latest Sunseeker yacht at the adjacent pier.
As with past Greenwich Concours d’Elegance, The 16th Annual Greenwich Concours d’Elegance will take place at the Roger Sherman Baldwin Park in Greenwich, Connecticut on June 4 and 5. AmeriCares, the renowned international relief organization top-ranked by Money Magazine, has been the charitable beneficiary of the Concours since 1996.
Hours are 10 am to 5 pm; admission is $25 for one day, or $40 for both days. Children 12 and under are free. Lunch is available on-site, and parking is free. Immediately off Exit 3 of I-95 in Connecticut, the Greenwich Concours is also accessible by train, plane, and boat. Check the Concours web site at GreenwichConcours.com, or call 203-618-0460 or for further information.