Dayton Concours d’Elegance celebrates 11 years of car lovers’ dreams

A celebration of the 50th anniversary of the iconic Chevrolet pony car, the Camaro, and a featured class called the Evolution of the MG will be just two of the highlights of the 11th annual Dayton Concours d’Elegance at Carillon Park, on Sept. 17 from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sunday’s Concours general admission is $20 at the door, or $15 in advance, $5 for children age 17-3; children younger than 3 and members of Dayton History are free.

One hundred ninety-eight automobiles and 36 motorcycles will fill the grounds of the park at 1000 Carillon Blvd., Dayton, said Mike Edgerton, automobile selection director. “This year’s Dayton Concours has attracted entrants from nine states, including New York and Missouri.”

But one of the draws in the “Vehicles of Special Interest” class will be the locally owned, famous, slammed, smoothie Camaro that has been featured in national publications.

“Visitors to the 11th annual Dayton Concours will be greeted by a field of 30 classic MG sports cars,” Edgerton said, “including one of the first production MGs.”

Two Preservation classes, pre-1952 and 1953 through 1967, will show vehicles with their original drivetrains, paint and upholstery. A 1948 Packard custom convertible used by Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower will be displayed.

Buzz surrounds ‘The Cars of Orville Wright’

The brainchild of Edgerton and Alex Heckman, director of education and museum operations of Dayton History, is the class that will honor the many cars Orville Wright owned or had an interest in over the years.

“We were fortunate to be able to locate and secure a few of the cars like Orville Wright owned, including his first car, a 1904 St. Louis,” Edgerton said.

There will also be a Dayton-built 1910 Speedwell, like the one Wright occasionally borrowed while the Wright Airplane Co. rented space in the Speedwell factory. Other vehicles also confirmed include a 1932 Pierce Arrow and a 1934 Essex Terraplane, both similar to models Wright drove. Wright’s license plate, by the way, was OW-1.

The must-see, must-hear

Some of the must-see cars include a 1910 Hupmobile, 1916 Overland, 1920 Cleveland, 1923 Willys-Knight, 1930 Packard Boattail Speedster, 1947 Citroen Traction Avant, 1952 Allard J2X and a 1999 Panoz Esperante.

Must-see motorcycles will be a 1914 Indian, 1951 Simplex three-wheeled truck and Edgerton’s personal favorite from the year he graduated high school, a 1957 Ariel Square 4.

Motorcycle makes include but are not limited to: Ariel, BMW, Harley, Husqvarna, Indian, Matchless, Norton, Penton and Triumph. There will be two classes for American bikes, original and restored, and the same for imports. A scooter class will add interest. A standout will be a 1948 Whizzer motorbike.

At about 12:30 p.m., Indianapolis Motor Speedway historian Donald Davidson will be holding court and answering questions from the public in the Miami Valley racecar display area. Joining Davidson will be Troy’s Jack Hewitt, who won 46 USAC sprint car races, 23 USAC Silver Crown events, multiple USAC championships and was the oldest rookie to race in the Indy 500 at age 46.

Nine-time Indy 500 driver Tom Bigelow, who lives in Winchester, Indiana, will also be on hand to answer questions about racing.

“Carillon Historical Park is honored to host Dayton Concours d’Elegance for the 11th straight year,” said Dayton History President and CEO Brady Kress. “As the Midwest’s premier antique and classic automobile and motorcycle show, not only is the Concours one of our greatest fundraisers, but given Dayton’s huge engineering contributions to the auto industry, it fits perfectly into Dayton History’s mission to bring the region’s past to life to understand the present and inspire the future.”

The awards

The concours, presented by AAA Miami Valley, will be judged for awards in 28 classes, said Concours Chairman Skip Peterson. In addition, a number of specialty awards are presented, including the R.H. Grant Best of Show, Col. Edward Deeds Judge’s Choice, Charles F. Kettering People’s Choice, Jeffrey Siler Spirit Award, The Taj Ma Garaj Award and The Hagerty Youth Judging Award. A new award will honor the memory and many Concours contributions of Chic Kleptz, a noted Marmon collector from Union. His family will display Kleptz’s 1926 Marmon Victoria.

The parade of class-winning cars, motorcycles and major award winners will be presented at 3 p.m.

Other attractions

An increasingly popular part of the event is the Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild reunion during which hand-built model cars will be shown in the Dicke Transportation Center. Twenty Guildsmen from nine states will display concept car models they built as teenagers in the ’50s and ’60s as entries in a General Motors-sponsored contest of that era, said Randy Derr, model car Concours director.

In addition, they will show 43 vintage models, along with other Guild contest memorabilia, such as concept drawings, entry forms, trophies and awards from contests held more than 50 years ago.

“Be sure to stop by the Dicke Transportation Building to experience this unique exhibit of automotive history,” Derr encouraged.

Live entertainment, an automotive art pavilion and a variety of local food and beverages will be featured. All exhibits at the park will be open.

Saturday morning fun

The concours weekend will kick off Sept. 16, with a special edition of Dayton Cars and Coffee. This morning gathering, which is free and open to any car, will take place in the parking lot of the Carillon Brewing Co. from 8 to 11 a.m.

Saturday evening

Saturday evening brings the dressy casual “The Wright Place to Be” Preview Party, open to the public, on the grounds of the Carillon Historical Park.

The party will preview some Concours automobiles and feature an automotive art pavilion, music, silent auction, food and adult beverages. Brock Masterson’s will provide catering and there will be craft beers, premium wine, artisan spirits and a bourbon sampling bar. The Preview Party is held from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. Tickets are $85 per person, or $75 for Dayton History members. Reservations are required.


All proceeds from the weekend go to Dayton History to maintain various programs and facilities. General admission is $20 at the door, or $15 in advance, $5 for children 17-3; children younger than 3 and members of Dayton History are free.

Go online to or call 937-293-2841 for more information or to purchase tickets or make reservations for the Preview Party.

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