Colorado Grand cars on display in Lionshead
Vail CO, Colorado
VAIL, Colorado ” If testosterone had a sound, it would be the roar of engines inside the Vail Cascade parking garage at 8 a.m. Tuesday morning.
Nearly 100 classic cars purred in the structure Tuesday morning as their owners strapped on helmets for the Colorado Grand.
Valued at up to $20 million, these are the type of cars that need windshield wipers just to swish aside women who have thrown themselves at the exterior.
Over by a forest green Bentley, Florida resident Miles Collier explained the appeal of vintage cars.
“You actually have to drive the damn things,” he shouted over din of engines. “There’s nothing automatic about it.”
His baby is a 1933 Derby Bentley, a British car manufactured by Rolls Royce.
As Collier slides behind the wheel, a parade of cars leaves the garage in a deafening display of machismo.
For the first time in several years, the 20th annual Colorado Grand will culminate in a concours in Lionshead Village. A concours is like a car show, except it features an exclusive collection of fine cars. Organizers named the event the “Concours d’Non Elegance,” a play on the ritzy Concours d’Elegances in Pebble Beach and other U.S. cities.
While the vehicles in most concours are polished like well-manicured poodles, Colorado Grand cars flaunt their road dirt.
“Usually the cars would be tooth brushed to the tires and really buffed out to the max,” event coordinator Kathy Meyer said. “What we do is proudly show the cars with all the dirt, with the fact that they have been used.”
The 88 cars in this year’s Colorado Grand have historic significance, she said. To be eligible for the grand, the cars must have been built prior to 1960.
A committee of car enthusiasts selected the vehicles from a field of about 135 entries, Meyer said. The committee takes into account things like the car’s uniqueness and racing history, she said. Vehicles range in value from roughly $60,000 to about $20 million, Meyer estimated.
“Most of these cars really belong in museums, and some of them reside in museums,” she said. “What’s unique about the people in this event is that instead of just looking at them (the cars), they like to experience them,” she said.
Cars stop in small towns as they motor through Colorado. Calling on his cell phone from Paonia, event community liaison Eddie O’Brien described the scene.
“Right now, I’m looking at row after row of homemade pies and desserts,” he said. “It’s just like 1950.”
The hot rods stopped by Paonia’s teen center to deliver $5,500 in scholarship money for town youths.
Proceeds from the Colorado Grand flow to local charities like the Colorado State Patrol Widows and Orphans Fund and The Children’s Hospital in Denver. Organizers raised $200,000 last year and hope to match that figure this year.
The rally ends Friday in Lionshead. Cars will parade through a finish line in the village from 4 to 6 p.m.
It promises to be an impressive sight. Roland Gubbesing from Germany expects to rumble through the finish line in his black 1936 Bugatti. The car packs a 240-horsepower engine.
Lammot DuPont from Washington DC will cruise through Lionshead in his maroon 1959 Ferrari.
“It’s all original,” he said. “It’s unrestored completely, so it’s like it was in 1959 ” preserved.”
The car hails from Ferrari’s 410 Superamerica line, said Chuck Wray, a Virginia resident who worked on the car.
“These really were the king of the road in their day,” he said.
High Life Writer Sarah Mausolf can be reached at 970-748-2938 or email@example.com.
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