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Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance 2011 – Report and Photos

The Art of Italian Motoring – 2011 Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance

Story and photos by William Edgar

To begin our special event report, I quote a favorite line that Stephen King scripted for the 1982 comedy horror film, Creepshow—“It’s Father’s Day, and I want my cake!”

Well, I got mine, not as in the movie, if you should recall that macabre denouement, but rather here in Beverly Hills, California, as a delicious stroll along arguably the most famous of the world’s most fashionable streets which, for one Sunday each June, becomes a moveable motor feast for event chairman Bruce Meyer’s annual Father’s Day Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance. Integrated this year with the Consulate General of Italy, and in collaboration with the Italian Trade Commission to celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the Unification of Italy, “The Art of Italian Motoring” Concours honoring the Italian FIAT marque was the 2011 Father’s Day kick-off for a week of “La Dolce Vita in Beverly Hills”. And a paradigm of “the sweet life” it was, with all the luscious road machinery created by the likes of Alfa Romeo, Cisitalia, Ducati, Ferrari, Fiat, Lamborghini, Lancia, Maserati, MV Agusta, and Siata. To frost the cake there’s Italian opera, arias, and La Dolce Vita era music in the air and roses in the street.

1936 Alfa 6C2500 Tony Shooshani
Elegantly suited in black and red on fashionable Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, Tony Shooshani’s 1936 Alfa Romeo 6C2500 SS Corsa is one of 33 high performance examples built on Alfa’s Tipo 256 short chassis.
La Dolce Vita
Palms, people and things Italian line Rodeo Drive on Father’s Day in this presentation by the Rodeo Drive Committee in conjunction with the City of Beverly Hills.

Geographically, the shopping nirvana of the 200, 300 and 400 Blocks of North Rodeo Drive stretches south to north, from Wilshire Boulevard to Santa Monica Boulevard, in the flush heart of Beverly Hills. We all know this fabled street. Featured in movies, written about in fashion magazines and novels, backdrop for couture advertisements, Rodeo Drive is the Holy Grail of luxury fashion spending. What better place, then, for a car show featuring 125 glamorous automobiles and motorcycles and that’s absolutely free to all attendees on Dad’s special day?

1958 Autobianchi - Mike Malamut
Mike Malamut’s red 1958 Autobianchi keeps company with other show cars that include a green classic 100-year old “brass era” 1911 FIAT Tipo 6 at the south end of Rodeo Drive.

FIAT’s involvement includes a petite “FIAT-ville” at the south end of Rodeo Drive, in fact the entire 200 block of the street, opposite the stately Beverly Wilshire Hotel. We’ll come to more about FIAT later, as the curious queue to test drive-and-ride in the alluring little FIAT 500 “Cinquecento” cars made in Mother Italy.

1956 Alfa Romeo 1900 Zagato Double Bubble - David Sydorick
David Sydorick’s silver 1956 Alfa Romeo 1900 Zagato is just one of his “Double Bubble” gems he brought to Rodeo Drive.

A major personal exhibitor this day and place, car collector David Sydorick comments, “Bruce Meyer told me to bring everything out of my garage, so I brought most everything, and we have a nice display of Zagato ‘Double-Bubble’ cars here” (a Zagato signature roof design allowing clearance for driver and passenger heads, with or without racing helmets). Sydorick brought four of them. Does he have a favorite among his Zagatos? Perhaps his Alfa 1900? He laughs, saying, “It was my first passion in the Zagato world sixteen years ago.” David and his wife Ginny have used their Alfa Romeo Zagato in more places, all over the world, than any of their other cars.

1956 Ferrari 250GT Zagato - David Sydorick
David Sydorick’s 1956 Ferrari 250 GT side-by-side with his red Maserati, both “Double Bubble” Zagato creations.

Sorting out Zagatos, Ginny Sydorick is especially fond of their Ferrari 250 GT “Double Bubble” dressed in blue and silver. “I love that car,” she says. “We are taking it to Italy in the fall for a car show at the Four Seasons in Florence, then the end of the month we will drive it in a Ferrari rally that goes from Maranello to Venice and stay there a couple of days for parties. They will have the cars on the barges for everybody to see!” Perfect! On the other hand, I love the swoopy lines of their 1956 Maserati A6G2000 Zagato, fully pictured later on in this article’s photo gallery.

Italian Motorcycles at Rodeo Drive Concours
The car-centric Rodeo Drive Concours also displays Italian motorcycles, with 2-wheelers from Ferrari, Maserati, Ducati, and the award winning MV Agusta (far left).

Italy being renowned for stylish two-wheeled transport, either whizzing about Rome on Vespas or leaning Ducatis and Agustas through Tuscany’s turns, a resounding “must” is to have the finest Italian motorcycles also here on Rodeo Drive. The chic blending of cars and bikes at prime shows like this one, judged or not, becomes emphatically more prevalent as these passions merge.

Walk the walk with us on Rodeo Drive before the special awards of this Concours d’Elegance’s are presented at noon on Father’s Day, June 19th.

1953 FIAT 8V Ghia Supersonic
This silver “Otto Vu” is David Sydorick’s 1953 FIAT 8V Supersonic bodied by Ghia, on Rodeo Drive next to the “Double Bubble” Lancia Flaminia Zagato.
1953 SIATA 208S Amica
Stunningly turned out, this black 1953 SIATA 208S Amica belongs to Dick Messer.
1956 Alfa Giuletta Spider
Owner Doug Prestine parked his gotta-love-me yellow 1956 Alfa Romeo Giuletta Spider next to the floral center of Rodeo Drive, just steps from red-awnings Cartier.

Whenever I stop to chat with Richard Cole, he’s the welcoming friend I’ve known for many years. For the 2011 Rodeo Drive Concours, he’s brought his Ferrari Daytona, driving it 150 miles in from Santa Maria. Because of Richard’s knowledge of Italian collector cars and first-hand experiences as a Concours judge, I ask him how he sees this Rodeo Drive show on Father’s Day. “There’s no pressure here,” Cole is pleased to say. “Because of the no judging, everybody who’s displaying a car is laid-back for the simple reason they don’t have to exhibit a lot of work, stress and time to make their car perfect. It doesn’t matter here. They’re here for their enjoyment of the automobile rather than the maintenance and detail work that goes into one. The ‘Best In Show’ happens because of what the people who organize this event feel most embodies the cars that are displayed. They will pick a car that they like, and that’s it.”

Returning now to the Concours’ core intersection of Rodeo Drive and Brighton Way—compassed by the four posh corner stores of De Beers, Chanel, David Yurman and Cartier—we find one of the most iconic of period competition cars, Bruce Meyer’s V12 “Hot Rod” 1957 Testa Rossa 625/250 TRC, a standout Ferrari today that I often saw compete in anger at sports car races back in the late 1950s.

Bruce and Raylene Meyer
Car Guy extraordinaire Bruce Meyer and wife Raylene with their Ferrari Testa Rossa at the Concours’ center-stage intersection of Brighton Way and Rodeo Drive. Bruce is chairman of this event, and president of Meyer Pacific in Beverly Hills, as well as a fundraiser on behalf of classic car education and preservation.

“The show is in its eighteenth year,” says Beverly Hills resident and businessman Meyer, an ardent car collector and partaker of the Petersen Automotive Museum’s activities, among many other motorsport events on Bruce’s packed calendar. “In 1993,” he says, “when we world-premiered the Ferrari 348 Spyder here, I was the car guy in town who got Rodeo Drive closed for the show—the first time the street had ever been closed.” Afterward moving the affair from earlier in the year to Father’s Day in mid-June lit the fuse for more and more people to come see it. “This year,” Meyer tells me, “with FIAT being the honored marque, we decided to do an all-Italian show. People love this Rodeo Drive Concours because it’s a real casual deal. It’s not like Pebble Beach judging.” So, forget that burned-out taillight and incorrect bolt head! “If there are really neat cars,” says Meyer, “we give out awards for things we see as really special.”

Rodeo Drive Concours Awards Group and names
Visiting Trade Commissioner of Italy, Carlo Bochhi, helps open the awards ceremony on Rodeo Drive. Behind (left to right) are ABC-TV’s Dave Kunz in red shirt, Consul General of Italy Nicola Faganello in tan jacket, and, in blue shirt, Beverly Hills Vice-Mayor Willie Brien. Bruce Meyer, in similar blue shirt, is at far right.
Fiat Otto Vu Supersonic David Sydorick
The 2011 Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance organizers declare “Best In Show” awarded to the 1953 FIAT 8V Ghia-bodied Supersonic owned by David Sydorick.

When introduced in the early 1950s, FIAT’s 2-seater competition 2-liter 8V “Supersonic” stunned design enthusiasts everywhere with its futuristic alloy body. Turin-based Carrozzeria Ghia built only eight Supersonics on the FIAT 8V chassis. This “Otto Vu”—owned by David Sydorick, and the only example built with a hood scoop—is presented the Svend Ingerslev Award for Best In Show here on Rodeo Drive.

Time now to move about again for further sense of what the Father’s Day car show on Rodeo is all about for the estimated 40,000 people who this year come to see it. A lot of today has to do fathers and kids, and nothing at all to do with giving Dad another hideous necktie.

Rodeo Drive Concours Fathers Day
The Rodeo Drive Concours is a perfect Father’s Day Sunday for taking pictures of the cars … and the kids.

Deeply rooted in decades of Italian design and style, and selling over a half million cars around the world since its launch in 2007, the legendary FIAT 500 will come in three 2012 models called Pop, Sport and Lounge. Rodeo Concours goers look at it, sit in it, and drive it. A wave of “Cinquecento fever” here stirs a lot of admirers to dreams of someday owning one, or two, or … How many is that you can buy for the price of the latest Lambo?

Fiat 500 Cinquecento
South end of the show street, where Rodeo Drive meets Wilshire Boulevard, FIAT has brought out 14 of its newest and cutest Cinquecento cars in a rainbow of colors for spectators look-see and test drives.
Whatever color grabs you, jump in and give FIAT's "Cinquecento" a little test drive ... with smiling FIAT escort in the back seat.
Whatever color grabs you, jump in and give FIAT’s “Cinquecento” a little test drive … with smiling FIAT escort in the back seat.

The 4-passenger Cinquecento’s go-power lives in its inline four-cylinder SOHC 16-valve engine of 1368-cc displacement making 101 horsepower at 6500 rpm. That’s enough to know about it for now when there’s still so much to see here, but there are lots of FIAT 500 specs available on

Lamborghinis to Fiats at Rodeo Drive
A world away, yet right next to each other. Cool little FIATs share the street with these Lamborghinis where Rodeo Drive leads south to the grand Beverly Wilshire Hotel that opened in 1929.
1969 Fiat Abarth Corsica
Bruce Canepa of Canepa Design in Scotts Valley, California, brought this 1969 FIAT Abarth Corsica racer to the show.
John von Neumann 1957 Ferrari Testa Rossa 625/250 TRC
The ex-John von Neumann 1957 Ferrari Testa Rossa 625/250 TRC is the personal ride of event co-organizer Bruce Meyer. With original body and always silver, this winner of many races in period was driven by von Neumann, Richie Ginther, and Ken Miles, who scored a victory with it when owned by Otto Zipper.
Bruce Meyer Ferrari 275 GTB/4
Bruce Meyer’s Ferrari 275 GTB/4 makes for a cozy display fit in the fashionable Gearys of Beverly Hills store one block over from Rodeo on Beverly Drive..

So, for this Father’s Day Concours, where does Bruce Meyer park his 1967 Ferrari 275GTB 4-cam that he’s had as an almost “daily driver” since buying it from first owner William Doheny in 1970? Answer: in the middle of Gearys store! Meyer’s nephew Thomas Blumenthal is now President/CEO of Gearys Beverly Hills that sells fine china, crystal, silver, jewelry and watches. But Bruce’s 4-wheel gem is not for sale. Only 280 of these stunning 165-mph grand touring Ferraris were ever produced.

From the sound of his Testa Rossa, Meyer is out on Rodeo Drive now with the rest of the show cars breaking ranks and driving away at the end of the day. I’m tempted to announce, “Bruce Meyer has left the street.”

Bruce Meyer - Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa
It’s 4:00 PM and the show’s over, as Bruce Meyer heads home in his 1957 Ferrari Testa Rossa. But stick around to view 45 more captioned Rodeo Drive Concours pictures in the following gallery of photos by William Edgar.

Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance 2011 – Photo Gallery (click image for larger picture and description)