The Barrington Concours D'Elegance held it's seventh annual event last weekend and ended this premier auto celebration with a special announcement.
"We're thrilled that the June 2014 event will be held at Northerly Island, in downtown Chicago," said David Cooper, a co-chairman of the charity car show.
Over the past several years, this prestigious event has quickly outgrown its suburban setting with the number of vehicles, exhibitors and attendees steadily climbing. In fact, this year's show at Makray Memorial Golf Club set an attendance record with more than 3,500 spectators -- nearly double the guests who attended last year -- strolling the course to view about 140 entered vehicles, organizers said.
"From the beginning, it's always been our ambition to build a Midwest -- and then national -- concours and this is our opportunity to do just that," said Cooper, owner of Cooper Technica in Chicago, a shop that restores rare antique and high-end automobiles.
The Barrington Concours D'Elegance has raised money to support the Barrington Area Conservation Trust, an organization founded to preserve open space and the rural character of the Barrington area. The event will now benefit the newly established Legends & Legacies Foundation, an organization that will continue to support the trust, along with other nonprofit organizations.
The foundation plans to partner with a major Chicago charity in 2014 while still nurturing the concours' roots in the Barrington area with another automotive event here in 2014, organizers said in a news release.
"Barrington was our birthplace and a truly wonderful spot that allowed us to grow and get established," said Mary Bradford-White, founder of the concours and the Barrington Area Conservation Trust. "All the momentum we've gained will allow us to transition to a much larger stage."
The event has been renamed the Concours d'Elegance of Chicago. With the support of the Chicago Park District and the Chicago Mayor's Office, it will become the only concours in the U.S. based in a major city, organizers said.
The downtown waterfront venue with views of the Chicago skyline, as well as city resources, presents greater opportunities to build the world-class show, Cooper said.
While the event staff was already gearing up for the big relocation, they focused their energy to put on one spectacular show for its final year in Barrington.
"Our goal was to recognize the enthusiasm for all kinds of vehicles and allow everyone to feel a part of the show," he said. "We wanted to celebrate the history, technology and design of motoring."
This effort was well represented by the diverse show field, with vintage motorcycles and antique, classic, muscle, performance and collector cars coming from around the country. The highlight of the show was a special display of five ultrarare Avion Voisins. These exquisite French vehicles, making their Midwest debut, are part of the collection of the Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, Calif.
Other visual delights included a display of Vincent motorcycles, historic Indy race cars and several examples of military vehicles.
Two special areas were designated for iconic models celebrating milestone anniversaries: the Porsche 911 with 60 years of production, and Chevrolet Corvette, celebrating its 50th year. For those with a taste for the contemporary, the latest modern machines were on hand from the makes of Porsche, Tesla and Audi.
A total of 58 show awards were given. The weekend may have ended but the festivities are far from over.
"The Concours isn't just a single occurrence, but a series of events that celebrate the history and heritage of the automobile," said Cooper. Throughout the year, organizers host drive events, lectures, collection walk-throughs and about 10 other auto-inspired activities throughout the Chicago area.
From our time strolling the manicured greens of the Makray Memorial Golf Club, we've assembled a sampling here of some of the eclectic, stunning and fascinating vehicles that were on display.