Take a picturesque, tranquil setting next to a small lake, beautiful mountains in the background, perfect 75-80 degree weather with not a cloud in the sky, and around 720 cars of all types and ages, and you have the makings for one fantastic show.
Phoenix Valley’s Best Kept Secret
Welcome to the 2018 edition of the Fountain Hills Concours d’Elegance. The town just east of Scottsdale is perhaps the Phoenix Valley’s best-kept secret, and what made this year’s show so stellar was the incredible variety of cars. I tend to look for good “weirdness,” something you don’t see every day or at most shows, and the Concours had a magnificent assortment to choose from. For instance, I can’t think of the last time I saw Honda’s small 600 economy car from the early 1970s, but there one was, in mint condition.
And speaking of small, how about a much more rare Alpine A1600 and an A310, the latter being the first one I’ve ever seen in the U.S? The former is a true cult car, an incredibly nimble alternative to a Porsche 911 back in the late 1960s and early 1970s. That 1600 brought back some wonderful memories from my 20s, including wondering how I actually folded up my 6’3” frame and took a nap in one…which was followed by a fabulously memorable drive through the Italian countryside.
More good weirdness also from France was a marvelous Facel Vega HK500. This exclusive four-place GT was a true continent crusher back in the late 1950s, using a powerful Chrysler 383 (6.3 liter) V8 that gave it a top speed of around 140 mph.
A Taste for Italian
If you liked your weirdness to be Italian, I will point you to a well-presented Italia Coupe. These Robert Cumberford-designed sports-GTs were made by Intermeccanica in Turinfrom 1966 to through 1971, and used a Ford 289, 302 and 351 V8, depending upon year. Another rarity was a Fiat 2300 S that was made from 1961-1968, and a lovely Maserati Mistral
Spyder (1 of 120) that had me longing for the 4-liter version I had eons ago. If Italian off-roading is your thing, it was hard to miss the Lamborghini LM002 that was surrounded by a good number of more modern Lambos—including several Huracans and an electric blue Diablo SV with plenty of eye appeal.
Lambo wasn’t alone, for there were numerous modern and classic Alfa Romeos, Ferraris and other Maseratis, but what captivated me more when strolling along the lake was a lineup of classic Cadillacs. That wonderful single row showed the growth and shrinkage of their famous fins. Another rare offering was a AMC 360-powered Bricklin SV1 from Canada in the mid-1970s, complete with numerous period brochures and ads to help educate the uninitiated. Then there was a
healthy display of Cobras (real and replicas), and a little ways from that was a substantial group of Dodge Vipers, and a good group of various Mustangs that included a very cool 1967-68 fastback with a big block and dual quad carbs.
For those with Expensive Taste
Those wishing to see the very high end of the collector car marketplace weren’t disappointed, for in the midst of a good number of XK and E-type Jags were a C-type, D-type and XKSS. This trio of great rarities from the 1950s would be at home in any of the world’s great collections. If Bugatti is your thing, there was a Veyron parked to a Type 13 (if I’m remembering correctly) from around 100 years ago. Or how about a new Ford GT flanked by two GTs from the mid-2000s, and a group of Teslas, for those who prefer to “fill up” at home every night.
The concours truly had something for everyone, including a “something” I had never seen at any show—the unique way the owner of a Buick Roadmaster convertible dusted off his car. Heaven forbid a polishing cloth be used when a leaf blower means you never have to actually touch the paint!
Best of all, the show is free. So if you need a good fill of cool cars in 2019 not too long after auction week leaves the Phoenix Valley, Fountain Hills has the venue for you…