The Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance is a nationally recognized motor car event. The Concours was first organized in 1997 by Michael G. Tillson, III, a Governor of the Radnor Hunt and a recognized expert on the subject of classic, sports, and racing cars.
Michael Tillson and several of the present board members of the Concours played major roles in the organization and supervision of the Fairmount Park Vintage Grand Prix events that were held from 1990 to 1995. Featuring several hundred vintage sports racing cars, these four-day racing weekends honored the memory of the famous Fairmount Park races that took place in Philadelphia’s vast Fairmount Park system during the period of the First World War. At the time, the Fairmount Park races were the premier racing events in the United States, comparable in scope and reputation to the later Vanderbilt Cup races and the Indianapolis races of the 1920s and 1930s.
It was Michael Tillson’s concept to stage an elegant invitational classic car event on the spacious, historic grounds of the Radnor Hunt in Chester County that would compare to the elegance and quality of such national events as the annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in California.
The concept of the event was far removed from the typical “car show.” It would be invitational, the cars would be carefully and individually selected and each car would represent an educational and aesthetic experience for guests. There would be a balance between historic, classic, sports and performance racing cars.
To recall the great traditions of the classic French Concours d’Elegance originally held in the Parc des Princes, Paris, there would be a automotive art, high-style fashion, and jewelry shows to compliment the latest fashions in motor cars.
Plans included a black-tie dinner party the night before the Concours to benefit a worthy charity, Thorncroft Equestrian Center and the Boy Scouts of America.
Most important it would have its own unique ambience, combining the most relaxed qualities of an English garden party with a celebration of the cars that have written memorable chapters in the history of the motor car. Over the years, motorcycles were added in 2004 and horse drawn coaches and carriages joined the Sunday field in 2008.
The Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance has faithfully held to those standards. Surveying carefully the progress of the Concours, the committee elected to restrict the number of entries to 100 in order to maintain very high standards and to allow the best possible display of each car. Thus evolved the concept of Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance. For 2017, Radnor Hunt Concours will honor Auburn/Cord/Duesenberg, Race Cars of Roger Penske, Abarth and Classic Tractors. Motorcycle classes are Century Cycles, Sporting European Motorcycles, Elegant Motorcycles of the Inter-War Period and Victorian Bicycles and High Wheelers.
Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance has been fortunate to display some of the best motor cars in the United States. In its history, Radnor Hunt Concours’ reputation has grown, and major collectors from as far as Florida, California and Maine have sought to win Best in Show.
In 1999 George Hahn won that honor with his 1931 Cadillac Fleetwood Sport Phaeton.
The 2000 event was captured by a 1939 Bugatti 57SC Roadster by Saoutchik and proudly presented by Jerry Sauls of Bucks County, Pennsylvania.
In 2001 Radnor honored the 100th anniversary of Rolls-Royce and fittingly, the 1926 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Salamanca of Baltimore’s Charles Gillet took Best in Show. In the first year of the Timeless Elegance Award, Wendy Garthwaite DeMarco won a beautiful watch presented by Govberg Jewelers for her 1938 Bentley 4 Litre Coupe by Van Vooren.
2002 saw John Moir’s popular 1925 Voisin C3L Berline Transformable win Best in Show, while Jerry Saul’s won the Timeless Elegance Award for his stunning red and blue 1939 Delage D8 120 Roadster.
The tradition of excellence continued in 2003 as the green and black 1937 Lagonda LG 45 Rapide, presented by Judge Joseph Cassini, III swept the top spot. John Rich took home a beautiful IWC wristwatch from Govberg Jewelers for winning the Timeless Elegance award with his 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Cabriolet B by Norrmalm.
For 2004, Best Of Show went to the famous 1933 Pierce Arrow Silver Arrow of Tom Derro. Both the duPont Homsey Award and The Timeless Elegance Award Presented By Govberg Jewelers went to Dean Edmonds for his fabulous 1932 Bugatti Type 55 Roadster.
In 2005, Joseph Cassini became the first multiple Best of Show winner with his 1930 Bentley Speed Six by Gurney Nutting. This great car was originally built for Lt. Cmdr. Glen Kidston so that he could compete in the 1930 Monte Carlo Rally. Commander Kidston was one of the famous “Bentley Boys” who achieved a kind of immortality for his spirited adventures with Bentley cars.
The Figoni Falaschi bodied Talbot-Lago is one of the most striking designs of the coachbuilding era. Bill Marriott’s beautiful 1938 T150C Cabriolet features sweeping pontoon fenders, low windscreen, and intimate seating for two. The car appears in motion while standing still. We are most proud that this wonderful rolling sculpture was honored as our tenth anniversary Best of Show in 2006.
In 2007, first time entrant Oscar Davis of Elizabeth, New Jersey made it two-in-a-row for Talbot-Lago with his stunning T150C “Teardrop” Coupe. The Timeless Elegance award was presented to Jack Rich for his dramatic 1939 Rolls-Royce Phantom III by Labourdette.
Jack Rich finally won Best of Show in 2008 with his perfect 1947 Delahaye 135M Figoni Falaschi 3 Position Drophead, while the Timeless Elegance Award went to James Caldwell’s stunning 1929 Rolls Royce Phantom I Convertible Sedan.
A new trend was started in 2009 by Radnor Hunt featuring a collector instead of a single marque, and Jack Rick was so honored. His 1906 National Model E 7-Passenger Tourer was selected as the best from his six cars on display. The traditional Best of Show was won by Morton Bullock for his 1929 Issotta Fraschini Tipo 8A Limousine by Castagna, and the Timeless Elegance Award went to Marty & Pat Weber’s 1933 Packard 1005 Convertible Coupe.
Best in Show In 2010 was awarded to the 1932 Packard 902 Sport Phaeton of Frank Buck, while Morton Bullock returned to the awards platform to collect the Timeless Elegance Award for his 1934 Rolls Royce Phantom II Continental Drop Head Coupe with body by Mulliner. A new tradition began with the Best Sporting Marque of the Show going to the Simeone Foundations’ Ferrari 375MM Spyder.
After taking the tenth annual Best of Show with his 1938 Talbot Lago Cabriolet, the 2011 fifteenth annual Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance saw the second repeat Best of Show winner with Bill Marriott’s 1937 Talbot Lago T150CSS Coupe. Timeless Elegance was seen in multiple Radnor Hunt winner Joseph Cassini’s 1927 Issotta Fraschini Tipo 8AS Roadster, and the Best Sporting Marque of the Show was Jack Rich’s stunning black 1937 Jaguar SS100.
First time Radnor Hunt entrants Sonny and Joan Abagnale took top honors with great enthusiasm winning Best of Show in 2012 with their beautiful white1929 Deusenberg Murphy convertible. The stars must have been uniquely aligned because another first time entrant, Kenneth and Keith Sherper won the Timeless Elegance custom made cuff links for their 1937 Roll Royce Phantom III Roadster. However, Best Sporting Marque of the Show went to Radnor Hunt veteran Bill Marriott for his 1957 Ferrari TRC 500 in a year when Ferrari was the featured marque.
In 2013 Peter Boyle was a double winner with Best of Show for his magnificent Issotta Fraschini 8ASS Boattail Convertible Coupe LeBaron, and the People’s Choice award went to his 1938 Steyr 220 Glasser Roadster. Best Sporting Marque of the Show went to Radnor Hunt’s newest regular participant, Lammot DuPont, for his striking gold and blue 1957 Ferraro Boano Sestriere Rally car.
Joseph and Margie Cassini took their third Radnor Hunt Best of Show trophy in 2014 for their beautiful 1933 Chrysler CL Imperial 5 Passenger Phaeton which had also taken the Best Classic Chrysler Award as that year’s featured marque. Oscar Davis returned to the winner’s ceremony with his magnificent 1954 Maserati A6G-2000 Zagato Spider chosen for the Best Sporting Marque Award.
The 2015 Radnor Hunt Concours d’Elegance Best of Show titles were awarded to two spectacular cars. The Best of Show was won by the strikingly elegant 1934 Pierce Arrow 840A Convertible Sedan LeBaron of Charles Gillet, and the the Best of Show Sporting Marque was won by the very original 1932 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Spider Touring of Gordon Barrett.
In 2016, the Best of Show was awarded to the striking 1931 Marmon 16 Convertible Sedan of Vintage Motor Carriage. The Best of Show Sporting Marque went to the outstanding 1958 Ferrari 250 LWB Berlinetta of Dr. Roy Brod.