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Concours d’Elegance of America 2011 – Report and Photos

AC Cobra 289

The Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s 2011 event was held Sunday, July 31 at the Inn at St. John’s in Plymouth, Michigan.

The 2011 Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s (formerly known as Meadow Brook Concours) saw crowds of more than 10,000 at the new venue. After 32 years at Meadow Brook Hall in Rochester, Michigan, the event moved to The Inn at St John’s in Plymouth, Michigan for 2011. The new location allowed for a larger show field with 331 cars on display, plus an on-site hotel and flexibility for events like the RM Auctions sale.

Featured classes at the 2011 edition of the Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s included: Duesenberg Model A and Duesenberg Model J; Lincoln Pre-War and Post-War to 1969; Indy Cars: 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis 500; Featured Designer Chuck Jordan; Pre- and Post War Chevrolet; Chrome & Color of the Fifties and Ridler Award Winners.

The Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s saw a 1933 Duesenberg Model SJ Riviera Phaeton Brunn and a 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn Kurrier taking home the top prizes. Owned by John Groendyke of Enid, OK, the Duesenberg Model SJ was judged ‘Best in Show American’, while the Mercedes-Benz 540K, two owners from new and shown by Arturo and Deborah Keller, was awarded ‘Best in Show European’. Groendyke also won Best of Show last year with a 1929 Duesenberg Model J Dual Cowl Phaeton.

This Best of Show American-winning Duesenberg SJ Riviera Phaeton, SJ528, is one of only three Riviera Phaetons with coachwork by Brunn and one of only two factory supercharged cars. Originally purchased in June of 1934 by Lt. Col. Jacob Schick of razor fame, it boasts an ingenious roof design that was sleek and elegant compared with many contemporary solutions.

The Best of Show European-winning Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahnkurier features a low-slung, tapered rear-end that is rumored to have inspired Jean Bugatti to create the Atlantic. Powered by a 5.4 liter inline-eight-cylinder with a supercharger delivering 180 hp, this aerodynamic pioneer was capable of speeds in excess of 115 mph. It was built new for Spanish Professor Ignacio Barraquer in 1938 and remained in the Barraquer family for almost 70 years, until Arturo Keller acquired it in 2004 and commissioned a full restoration by noted Mercedes experts Paul Russell & Co.

Similar to the 2009 Meadow Brook Concours d’Elegance and 2010 Concours d’Elegance of America at Meadow Brook, photographer Nathan Leach-Proffer documented this year’s Concours d’Elegance of America at Meadow Brook with a picture gallery of the cars on the grounds at the Inn at St. John’s. To see more from Nathan, visit

Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s 2011 – Photo Gallery (click image for larger picture and description)

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Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s 2011 – Award Winners

Best of Show American – 1933 Duesenberg Model SJ, John D. Groendyke
Best of Show European – 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahnkurier, Arturo and Deborah Keller

Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s 2011 – Best in Class

Jazz Age 1915-1928 – 1927 Kissel, Ken & Karen MacKinnon
American Popular 1928-1942 – 1934 Plymouth PE, C. Doran & Jane Johnson
Post War European – 1954 Jaguar XK-120, Ron Schotland
Classic Era Closed 1929-1942 – 1934 Packard 1106, Ralph & Adeline Marano
Classic Era Open 1929-1933 – 1932 Marmon Sixteen, Brent Merrill
Gas Light 1900-1914 – 1911 Pierce-Arrow 48, James Brophy
American Muscle – 1970 Buick GSX, Mike Rehberg
Sports Racing – 1959 Ferrari 250 GT TdF Competition, Patterson Collection
Drag Cars – 1971 Chevrolet Vega, Al Bergler
Auburn Cord – 1933 Auburn V-12, Joseph & Margie Cassini
Lincoln Early – 1933 Lincoln KB, Stephen Brauer
Lincoln Late – 1956 Lincoln Premiere, Vernon Smith
Chevrolet 100 Years – 1936 Chevrolet Master, Pinky & Joyce Randall
Color and Chrome: The Fifties – 1957 Dodge Custom Royal Lancer, Diran & Joyce Yazejian
American Post War 1946-1959 – 1948 Tucker Torpedo, Ted Stahl
American Post War 1960-1970 – 1964 Buick Riviera, Al & Cheryl Schmidt
Post-War Sports 1960-1970 – 1971 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona, Michael Curis, Jr.
Duesenberg Model A – 1923 Duesenberg Model A, Killorin Family
Duesenberg Model J – 1929 Duesenberg Model J, Charles Letts, Jr.
Classic Era Open 1934-1942 – 1934 Packard, Frank & Milli Ricciardelli
Mercedes-Benz: The First 125 Years – 1960 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster, Jim Utaski
Pre-War European – 1926 Hispano Suiza H6B, Frank & Milli Ricciardelli

Concours d’Elegance of America at St. John’s 2011 – Special Awards

Chairman’s Award – 1911 Thomas 6-70K Flyer, John McMullen
People’s Choice – 1930 Pierce-Arrow Model B, Mrs. Miriam Waterhouse
Best Driving – 1965 Aston Martin DB5/6, Patterson Collection
Bill Mitchell – 1957 Buick Roadmaster, Linda & Richard Kughn
Most Original, The Way it Was – 1929 Duesenberg Model J, Adrien & Andrew Labi
Most Elegant – 1926 Hispano-Suiza H6B, Frank & Milli Ricciardell
Timeless Beauty – 1933 Auburn V12, Joseph & Margie Cassini
Spirit of Modernism – 1931 Voisin C20 Mylord Demi-Berline, Jack Rich
Designer’s Choice – 1935 Hispano Suiza J12, Merle & Peter Mullin

[Source: photo credit: Nathan Leach-Proffer]