Concours d’Elegance to showcase classics old and new

Melissa Preddy
Special to The Detroit News

A midsummer tradition, the Concours d’Elegance of America will take place Sunday at the Inn at St. John’s in Plymouth.

The 38th annual classic car expo will showcase everything from a 1901 Duryea to a 2016 McLaren.

“Some people think the concours is a show for old fogies,” said Brian Joseph, chairman of the car selection committee. “But we cover the gamut of automobile history from Day One to this year.”

Case in point: the 640-horsepower 2016 McLaren that owner Fred Foote will exhibit on show day. “There are very few cars faster than this one,” said Foote, who will drive the rear-engine, carbon-fiber sports car from his home in Okemos. The supercar will go 206 mph and 0-60 in 2.8 seconds.

Pothole-ridden highways keep his speed in check, Foote said, but “getting from 40 miles per hour to 60 miles per hour as fast as you want to is still a lot of fun.”

Speed buffs also will thrill to the exhibit of GT and GT40 roadsters to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Ford’s legendary finish at the 24 Hours at Le Mans. In 1966 Ford not only became the first American automaker to win the endurance race but took first, second and third place with its then-new GT40.

Other classes this year range from Jazz Age vehicles to modern American collectibles from 1980-90, to drag cars, muscle cars and rugged rally cars.

“If you’ve never seen rally cars, go on YouTube and watch some,” said Joseph. “You’ll wonder why anyone bothers with any other form of racing.”

Including the burly racers is part of Joseph’s strategy to shake off the stodgy image that concours can conjure. “We are not trapped in the past,” he said. “As a rule we have been the most forward-looking concours, doing this sort of class before anyone else.”

Ancillary events include the lighthearted “Concours D’LeMons,” which will take place in the St. John’s parking lot on Saturday, and feature junkers and much-mocked autos like the Ford Pinto and AMC Gremlin. Attendance and participation is free.

One big change this year is parking. For past events, the parking lot of a nearby vacant factory on Sheldon Road was open to attendees, but that is not the case for 2016. This year’s free parking will be at Northville High School on Six Mile west of Sheldon. Courtesy shuttles will transport visitors to the Inn at St. John’s.

Classic cars

What : Concours d’ Elegance of America:

When: 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday

Where: Inn at St. John’s, 44045 Five Mile, Plymouth

Admission: $40 in advance, $45 at the door. Age 12 and under get in free.

Information: has a list of activities, including related Friday and Saturday events