Jeff Chattin and his 1909 Kissel Kar semi racer.

Metro Atlanta’s swankiest car show returns to Chateau Elan

There were some samples of typical car show fare at the Atlanta Concours d’Elegance on Saturday — those old Corvettes and other handsome muscle cars of vintage, um, vintage.

But the third edition of metro Atlanta’s swankiest automotive event, whose main events will take place Sunday on the fairways of Braselton’s Chateau Elan Resort and Winery, is about much more than regular old engines and adrenaline. It’s about multimillion dollar rarities built more than a century ago, and often-one-of-a-kind antique vehicles that are in as good of shape as they day they were crafted.

It’s about Duesenbergs and Hudsons and other cars with names most folks wouldn’t know.

In a word (or four), the Concours d’Elegance is about fine art on wheels.

“You get the classics at a concours,” said Mike Barry.

Barry, who lives in Savannah, was among the several dozen folks showing off their cars Saturday in the glaring sun. Her 1930 Hupmobile Model C — a deep blue specimen complete with flower vases and opera lights in the back seat — is believed to be the only one of its kind, she said.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Barry’s brother, Mark Harr, said.

Owner Bill Hearnburg makes sure everything is in place with his 1957 Ford Skyliner during the third-annual Atlanta Concours d'Elegance held at Chateau Elan in Braselton GA Saturday, September 29, 2018. STEVE SCHAEFER / SPECIAL TO THE AJC
Photo: Schaefer

Marshall Corley of Loganville was having fun Saturday as well. His 1930 Model A Ford Deluxe Roadster was bright red and black.

He drives it “everywhere,” he said.

“You see cars at this car show that you wouldn’t see at a Saturday night car show, at a cruise-in,” Corley said. “You see a lot of muscle cars there. Here you got your Packards and your classier cars.”

As classy as Saturday’s gathering was — it included a sparkling Benz that pre-dated the company’s unification with Mercedes, and another car called a Washington that’s the only one of its kind — Sunday at Atlanta’s Concours d’Elegance promises to be even more so.

Bill Wallet, who co-founded the event, said about 160 cars are scheduled to participate in Sunday’s judged event. Special attractions will include four different cars from Duesenberg (an Indiana manufacturer of race cars and luxury vehicles that operated between 1913 and 1937); two “older Bugattis”; and 30 different “brass cars.” The latter is used to refer to cars made roughly between 1896 and 1915, the early years of American automotive manufacturing.

Generally speaking, all of the cars will have vintages between 1900 and 1968, with the majority dating back to before World War II.

Wallet said a “large percentage” of the vehicles will be valued in excess of a million dollars.

He compared normal car shows to “commercial art,” and the concours to its more refined relative.

“When you want to see a Rembrandt or a Monet, you’re not gonna see it anywhere on the street, you’re not gonna see it in a place that sells commercial art,” Wallet said. “You go to a museum. … I try to tell people we are the equivalent of a fine art museum.”

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