Cobble Beach brings together prestige & beauty in one incredible event
McLeese’s personal passion for vintage and classic cars was shared with his late father, Willis McLeese, with whom he founded Cobble Beach. With the overwhelming reception
of its inaugural year in 2013, what began as a pipedream for McLeese quickly turned into a must-see destination for finest and rarest automobiles in the world. It was a runaway success, drawing in hundreds of millions dollars’ worth of automobiles and thousands of enthusiasts all for one weekend in September.
Once again, on September 14th, the automotive world will return to the 18th fairway of award-winning Cobble Beach Golf Resort to witness some of the finest and rarest automobiles hand-picked from private collection across North America. Set along the windswept banks of Georgian Bay, overlooking the Bruce Peninsula, it’s only fitting to host the world’s most beautiful classic cars in a setting of such spectacular beauty.
Promising something for every automotive taste, this years’ calibre of vintage and classic cars may even surpass that of its predecessors, according to McLeese. In all, 110 vehicles will be competing in 25 classes and groupings. Classes will include European classics from 1935 to 1948, Corvettes from 1953 to 1962 and 1963 to 1973 and 1916 antique brass class cars above and below 35 horsepower. Also on display will be featured class for post war Canadian-built or engineered automobiles as well two preservation classes for pre- and post-war cars that have yet to be restored.
Standouts include 1938 Bugatti Type 57C as well as a recreation of the 1935 Bugatti Aerolithe, renowned as one of the world’s most stunning cars, done by David Grainger of the Guild of Automobile Restorers in Bradford Ontario.
Hosting Canada’s most esteemed vintage car show may be sufficient for some, but for founder Rob McLeese, every year has to bring something fresh to the docket. Last year saw the introduction of the Museum Class, a selection of rare automobiles on loan from museums across the U.S and Canada, including, notably, a Henry Seth Taylor dating back to 1867.
This year, McLeese is shaking up the roster once more with two new competing classes, including vintage motorcycles, and trucks respectively, as well as a vintage boats display class. Opening the automobile event of the year to an entirely new demographic of enthusiasts, these new additions are sure to draw the largest crowd to date.
The vintage motorcycle class will exclusively feature Vincent motorcycles, a British manufacturer renowned for producing its models in small numbers, making each one both extremely rare and extremely coveted. Falling into both criteria, legendary model the 1947 “Gunga Din”, promises to be one of the stars of the show, consistently placing “Best in Show” throughout the concours circuit.
Meanwhile the vintage boat class will feature a variety of classic wooden watercraft models from famous Ontario buildings including Ditchburn and Greavette. Highlights include an “Allez IV” circa 1930, believed to be the only of its kind and the Nepahwin 1937 Ditchburn Family De Luxe, one of the last 15 boats to be produced by its manufacturer.
“The phenomenal success of the last two years has given us the freedom to have fun with the Concours while also staying true to its traditions,” says McLeese. “We’ve simultaneously added a fresh dimension to the show’s roster while also matching, if not exceeding, the calibre of vintage cars on display.
Not stopping there, this year will also see the Lee lacocca award presented at Cobble Beach, the first, and more notably the last time it will be presented outside of the United States. Widely recognised as the pinnacle achievement within the classic car world, the retirement of the Lee lacocca at the end of 2015 is sure to make automotive history and its anticipated that its first, and final appearance at the Cobble Beach Concours will draw the crowds.
Despite its picturesque setting, this isn’t simply a fanfare of gorgeous automobiles. Competition is fierce as each vehicle is evaluated within its class by the some of the world’s most esteemed automotive experts.
“The calibre of judges at Cobble Beach Concours is as world-class as the vehicles in competition,” says Rob McLeese. “The panel bring a wealth of expertise that spans anything from antique and special interest to muscle and race cars. We’re proud to bring in the best judges in the world. That’s what’s key to withholding the integrity of the Concours.”
Spearheading the process, Chief Judge John Carlson is no stranger to the concours circuit. As chief judge for a number of other concours throughout North America, Carlson’s standards for excellence are as high as they come. His experience in the automotive judging circuit requires footnotes, acting as master judge for the Classic Club of America, president and chief judge for the National Association of Automobile Clubs of Canada and Chief Judge for the Vintage Car Club of Canada. According to Chief Judge, John Carlson, criteria vary from year to year to fit the new pool of cars competing.
The panel will also include Michael Spezia, curator of the Filmore Classic Car Museum, John Kefalonitis, chief judge of the Classic Car Club of America, and John Ballard, a master judge for the National Corvette Restorers Society. In addition, Pebble Beach concours judge Mark Lambert will be curating his own showcase of classic automobiles which will also be displayed at the show.
All proceeds from Cobble Beach Concours are donated to the Sunny Brooke Hospital Foundation to fund a state-of-the-art helipad on the rooftop of the Toronto Hospital.
Written by Vakis Boutsalis