My First Concours

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One of the things car guys enjoy most about cars (aside from driving them) is talking about them. We love to talk about cars. I think that’s the reason car shows were really invented. The act of showing your car simply serves as the catalyst to start talking about it. A car show merely sets an appropriate venue for conversations amongst enthusiasts.

Cars and Coffee events are something I attend regularly, and almost every city has at least one. Here in Silicon Valley, there’s at least three regularly occurring Cars and Coffee events that leap to mind, although I’m sure there’s plenty more. The turn out varies, but around here we usually have a good showing at all of them. It’s a lot of fun walking around the parking lots looking at interesting cars, taking photos, and talking with their caretakers. I’ve never run across anyone who wasn’t absolutely enthralled to talk about their car. You even get to know these people, maybe even make some friends, as it’s almost always the same folks who show at every show.

Aside from Cars and Coffee, I’ve attended many Concours events over the years. However, I’ve never participated in one. In my opinion, I’ve never had a car worth showing. But now I have my 996, and it’s one of the most beautiful I’ve ever seen. Why not show it, formally, at a Concours event? The 996 is often the ‘unloved’ 911… I think I’m making it my quest in life to prove it’s worth loving.

Most Concours focus on older cars. The classics, vintage, antique, and rare automobiles that you simply don’t see every day. There’s nothing rare about a 2001 Porsche 911 Carrera. When seen in person, it may surprise you that it’s a 16 year-old car, but that still doesn’t make it a vintage or classic car—and certainly not rare. However, there’s almost always a category (or class) in which to show your car. I felt mine was rare enough due to the condition, color scheme, and the fact it was part of the Porsche Exclusive Program when ordered new. I was determined to find a way to show it.

The second annual Alameda Point Concours d’Elegance was on June 12 of this year, and, as it turns out, the featured marque was Porsche. What better opportunity would I have? Upon registration I found there was no category for my car to be judged. All the judging was focused on the air-cooled cars. But, they did have a “display” class in which they would accept any model of car (pending acceptance, of course). No judging, but at least it could sit on the field and be seen. I registered for the display class and my car was approved. I was finally going to participate in my first Concours.

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The day before the show, I spent about four hours cleaning and detailing my car as best as possible. The next morning, I got up early and drove an hour to the field, checked in, followed the parking attendants, and parked my car alongside several other Porsche 911s that were also there to be seen, and some even judged. Once parked, I got out and did a quick wipe down of the car, set up my chair, put on sunscreen, and immediately started talking to other enthusiasts.

There was only one other 996 on the field, and it was silver. My car stood out in that respect and it was fun to see people throughout the day looking at my car. But the most fun I had was simply talking to the spectators and the owners. I met some amazing people, interesting and fascinating people. People I may not ever see again, but had a wonderful conversation with them about their car, cars in general, and even my car. I heard some amazing stories, I learned things I about particular cars I would never have known if I just saw the car. There was a great sense of community and comradery amongst everyone there.

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Around midday I walked over to chat with my friend, Kevin Enderby, who was displaying The Yellow Car on the field. We chatted a bit, and later he asked if I had looked at any of the other cars. It was then I realized that I had spent all my time talking with the spectators and owners that I hadn’t even walked around to look at the other cars! I had been at a car show for several hours and hadn’t even looked at cars yet. Unbelievable. This is exactly why I believe car shows were really invented for the conversation.

On a side note, Kevin did ensure that every single person in attendance knew the history of my 996. He had the chairman of the Alameda Point Concours ask me about the delivery day of my 996… over the PA system. While I was caught off guard, it was really a lot fun telling everyone the story.

The next event that I will be formally showing my 996 is at the Werks Reunion in Monterey. Since that’s a Porsche only event, and it takes place during car week, I will meet a completely different lot of people from all over the world. I can’t wait to hear their stories!

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