Car enthusiasts took over the streets in downtown Pinehurst on Sunday for the first “Concours in the Village.”
It was part of the second annual Sandhills Motoring Festival, which took place over Memorial Day weekend. The Concours featured 125 Porsches and Mercedes-Benzes competing in various categories, as well as other beautiful luxury automobiles showcased on the streets in the historic village center.
The inaugural Sandhills Motoring Festival in 2018 included a display of cars in Tufts Park on the Village Green as part of the weekend events. But this year, the village agreed to be one of the main sponsors, allowing the use of its streets in the downtown as well as Tufts Park and its stage, which festival president Marvin Waters said “kicked it up to the next level.”
Waters said the village provided the “perfect setting” for the Sunday event, which drew rave reviews from spectators, car owners and the village.
Miami attorney Guy Lewis, whose 1953 Mercedes-Benz 300S Coup won Best in Show in the touring category as well as the top award from Mercedes-Benz, was effusive in his praise for the event.
“And what a great job you and your team did,” he told Waters in an email afterward. “Really world class event. I especially want to thank and commend the volunteers and the city of Pinehurst. It was organized to a T. And the venue, the village of Pinehurst, couldn’t have been more perfect. Again, great job and thank you.”
His car, one of only 216 made in that model, also won Best in Class at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance earlier this year. And Lewis is no stranger to winning in Pinehurst. His 1925 Rolls-Royce Springfield Silver Ghost Roadster, purchased new by reclusive billionaire Howard Hughes, captured the coveted Best in Show award at the fifth and final Pinehurst Concours d’Elegance in 2017.
Lewis also happens to be a former U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. From 1989 to 1994, he was co-counsel in the landmark trial against former Panamanian leader Gen. Manuel Antonio Noriega. He later served as the director of the executive office for United States Attorneys in Washington, D.C., providing guidance and oversight for all 93 U.S. attorneys.
Closer to home, the other top award — Best in Show in the sporting category — went to a 1960 Lotus Elite owned by Bill Timmons of Pinehurst. He said he bought the car new.
“Most of these people buy and sell cars,” Timmons said after the awards ceremony in Tufts Park on the Village Green. “I picked one and stuck with it.”
Timmons noted that the Lotus Elite’s most distinctive feature is its innovative fiberglass body.
“There is no metal in the frame,” he said.
Pinehurst Mayor Pro Tem John Bouldry was also on hand to enjoy the show and present the Mayor’s Award, which went to Jack Norton, a Moore County resident, for his 1957 blue Jaguar D-Type.
“Congratulations to you and all your team ... and their individual and collective efforts to plan a great event!” Bouldry said in an email to Waters after the event. “The response from the car owns was superb, as was the support from Porsche and Mercedes.”
The President’s Award went to a 1952 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith long wheelbase seven-passenger limousine owned by John Kennard of Southern Pines. It won an award in the Rolls-Royce/Bentley Post-War class in the Amelia Island (Fla.) Concours d’Elegance in March.
The Chairman’s Award was presented to the Wilson Collection in Jupiter, Fla., for its 1967 Ferrari P3/4 race car, which is valued at $25 million, according to Waters.
Waters said the second annual event was a success by nearly ever measure. He said it was completely sold-out in terms of the entries, and estimated that 3,500 to 4,000 spectators came out during the day, despite the 90-plus-degree heat.
“Outside of the heat, which we could not do anything about, it was a great day,” he said. “I will take 95 degrees and a breeze over rain any day. The streets were full. Everyone really enjoyed themselves. The village just lends itself so nicely to this event.
“Sunday was nearly perfect in terms of execution by our team and all the volunteers, the way it was received and what we are hearing after the event.”
Waters said organizers envisioned an event that would be on par with the Concours on the Avenue in Carmel by the Sea. The event in the California beach town serves as the traditional kickoff for Monterey Car Week in August.
Bob Ingram, a car collector from Durham and former CEO and chairman of GlaxoWellcome who served as chairman of the Pinehurst Concours, told Waters that the event reminded him and his wife of the one in Carmel by the Sea.
“They loved the venue,” Waters said of the village. “They look forward to being involved again next year.”
Waters said the Concours on the Avenue is very popular and draws large crowds to its downtown. Pinehurst got a taste of that Sunday.
He said there was some “trepidation” by some business owners at first because it was a new event, and they wondered whether it would bring additional business. He said the initial feedback has been positive.
“I think everyone will mark the date on their calendar next year,” Waters said, because “they saw what it brings.”
Organizers staged the cars on the streets in front of businesses. Not by coincidence, British cars, including Timmons’ Lotus Elite, were staged in front of the Drum & Quill Pub.
Waters, along with Steve Redwine and others, organized the Sandhills Motoring Festival to help fill a void after a successful five-year run of the Pinehurst Concours d’Elegance. The Concours on the Village judged competition featured eight classes for Mercedes-Benz and six for Porsche.
The weekend kicked off Friday evening with a private “Automobiles & BBQ” dinner at Little River Resort. On Saturday, many of the cars took to the back roads in the area for a road rally in the morning.
The Sandhills Motoring Festival will donate all of its proceeds to the Sandhills Community College Foundation to fund scholarships for students in automotive technologies program. Last year, the festival donated $5,000.
Waters said the event would not have been possible with its presenting sponsors, RM Sotheby’s and Hagerty.
“We are lucky to have both as presenting sponsors,” he said.
Waters said they are already planning for next year’s festival and Concours in the Village. He said the featured cars next year will be Ferraris.
“We are already lining up some pretty special cars,” Waters said. “We knew if we could pull off a successful event, that would be the best form of marketing for next year.
“We could not have asked for a more perfect three-day event.”