Hilton Head Motoring Festival & Concours d’Elegance Part 1

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Port Royal Golf Club, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

For years, we have been wanting to attend this prestigious event, but there always seemed to be a scheduling conflict. We finally came to the realization that scheduling conflicts are nothing more than priorities. This year we made this event the priority.

For those unfamiliar with a Concours d’Elegance, these are events that showcase collectible automobiles, motorcycles, and in the case of this Concours, boats and airplanes as well. All this means is there is a ton of money in heavy metal gracing the fairways and greens of this exclusive venue. We were mixing it up with the rich and infamous at the swank Port Royal Golf Club on Hilton Head Island!

Port Royal Clubhouse

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 You may ask why a car show is being posted on a motorcycle travel blog. Well, first, this ain’t no run-of-the-mill car show. This is the creme de la creme event of selling, buying and ogling collectible and rare automobiles, many worth six figures! Second, there are motorcycles here as well. Collectible motorcycles. Again, BIG BUCKS!

Third, and the reason we are here. As much as we are motorcycle enthusiasts, we are also automobile enthusiasts. We love classic and vintage American and European cars. And the exotics, oh my god, the exotics!

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I come by my love of automobiles honestly and early in life, having grown up in the automotive parts industry. I was of legal and driving age at the tail end of the muscle car era, surrounded by Oldsmobile 4-4-2’s, Pontiac GTO’s, Dodge Chargers, Chevy Camaro’s and Corvettes, hopped up with Holley 4 barrel carb’s, Hurst shifters, turbocharger’s….. all ready for the Saturday night street drag.

The list of cars I have owned is made up of 90% sports cars, my preferred mode of four wheel conveyance: 1968 Mercury Cougar (302 V8), 1974 Triumph Spitfire, 1972 Opel GT (the poor man’s Vette), 1985 Pontiac Fiero (4 cyl.), 1986 Pontiac Fiero (6 cyl. turbo), to my current ride, a 2002 Saturn SC-2 (four very powerful hamsters).

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I took hundreds of pictures here. Fear not, all car photos will not be posted, but the motorcycle photos will be posted in their entirety. Even if cars aren’t your thing, one cannot deny the artistic beauty that these automobiles exemplify, just like motorcycles. Scroll down if you just want to look at the bikes, as I will have them listed under their own heading, as well as mixed in with the autos.

Day 1

Most, if not all, of Concours d’Elegance events are held at posh golf and country clubs in select cities: Pebble Beach Golf Club, Pebble Beach, California; Amelia Island Omni Resort, Amelia Island, Florida; World Golf Resort, St. Augustine, Florida; and here, Port Royal Golf Club, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Upscale  by any definition, and the crowd reflects this.

The Motoring Midway

The greens and fairways were filled with over 300 astounding works of automotive extravagance and the people who admire, lust after,  and collect them.

The bar and drink menu. I’ll have a Mustang Mary please……….

Take a break from the cars and play some chess, or just lounge on the provided sofas………

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 Ah, but you are waiting to see some cars, yes? Here is our first interlude of the day with beautiful autos on the 18th green, but first, heed this warning…….

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Now, feast your eyes (but keep one eye searching for reptiles!)

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 The Motoring Midway encompasses the fairways and greens of the golf course. Cars and bikes are set up on the midway and presented by marque, production years, and categories. This is a judged event, a competition taken very seriously by the owners of these automobiles and motorbikes. We were able to follow the judges, outfitted in their traditional khaki slacks, collared shirts with tie, blue blazers and straw hats, as they meticulously scrutinized each car and motorcycle. So, enough words. Let’s look at some cars and motorcycles!

Austin Healey

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Walking down the Motoring Midway, we came on to my favorite “genre” of automobile: The Sportscar. This part of the Midway was devoted to Car Clubs. Specific models of sports cars would come later.

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This Triumph is gorgeous!

Always wanted a Triumph TR6, the quintessential British sports car for the masses, sporting the must have British Racing Green paint scheme. 

 The Ferrari Club was here as well. Ferrari also has their own exhibit on the Motoring Midway

A beautiful Aston Martin………….

and Roo thinking how much payments might be………

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The weather was delightful, sunny, temps in the high 70’s, the sunlight bouncing off these immaculate machines and sometimes blinding us. Continuing on down the Motoring Midway, we both got even more excited than we already were as we came upon the first of the motorcycle exhibits. Not just any motorcycles mind you. These were the bikes that had ridden the grueling 2015 Cannonball Run!

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For those unfamiliar with the Cannonball Run, it is an annual, arduous, cross country ride on two lane back roads, east coast to west coast. What’s so hard about that? Sounds cool! Yes, except riders must ride vintage motorcycles, and for 2016, the organizers stipulate that motorcycles must be 100 years old or older to enter. That means your moto can be no older than a 1916 model! Doesn’t sound so easy anymore, does it?

The Cannonball Run was organized to honor E.G. Baker, who in 1913, shattered the existing transcontinental record, riding from San Diego, California to New York City on a 7 h.p., three speed Indian motorcycle. The speed at which he traveled earned him the nickname “cannonball.” He is now forever remembered in motorcycling lore as Cannonball Baker.

Cannonball Baker in NYC at the end of his transcontinental record run.

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The 2015 Cannonball Run Motorcycles

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Lest we forget, these motorbikes were not very reliable back in the day, or today for that matter. The mantra back then, and even today on wonderfully paved roads, was probably “ride, breakdown, wrench, repeat.” Mechanically declined individuals like myself need not apply for the Cannonball.

Next post: Part 2, Day 1 (continued): more exquisite autos, motorcycles, and even boats!

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