History relived at PV Concours d’Elegance
by Randy Angel
Photos by Tony LaBruno
The 24th edition of the Palos Verdes Concours d’Elegance had a different look this year. Instead of a Peninsula golf course, the venue was Zamperini Airfield in Torrance, at the Robinson Helicopter Company’s facility. The new venue enabled the concours to include historic aircraft alongside the dozens of vintage automobiles. The theme was “Elegance and Speed,” a reflection of this year’s marquee cars, Packard and Porsche.
Other cars fitting the “speed” theme were South Bay icon Vic Edelbrock Sr.’s 1932 Ford, his record-winning V8-60 Sprint Car, a 1964 Ford Fairlane 427 “Thunderbolt” drag racer, one of only 100 ever produced, and David G. Adishian’s 1961 Chrysler 300, one of the first muscle cars. The car was known as the “Banker’s Hotrod” because of its luxury interior and 396 horsepower cross ram Wedge V-8.
Another highlight of the show was the Italian-built Pagani, exhibited by Christopher Pagani. The Pagani is the world’s most expensive production car.
The historic aircraft included a Douglas C-53 Skytrooper and a North American P-51 Mustang D. During the Normandy invasion, the Douglas C-53 dropped members of the 101st Airborne, behind enemy lines before the first wave of soldiers hit the beach.
The masters of ceremonies were Dave Kunz and Ed Justice, Jr. Kunz has been the Eyewitness News Automotive Specialist at ABC7 since 2001. Justice comes from a family of automobile enthusiasts and has been heard on radio programs Road & Track, Car and Driver and Motor Trend, in addition to appearing on MSNBC.
Concours Chairman Ray Johnson said the new venue proved to be popular.
“We have received very positive feedback from the exhibitors, sponsors, and attendees,” Johnson said. “Robinson Helicopter, the Airport Commission and the City of Torrance were very supportive of the show and helped make the new venue a success and we would like to hold the show there again next year.”
Rolling Hills residents Tom and Carrie Lieb, who have participated in the event for many years, were two-time winners for the second time. They took first place in the Hot Rods, Golden Era (1930-1960) class with their 1929 Ford Roadster and in the Brass/Antiques through 1924 category with a 1923 Wills St. Claire Roadster. The Wills St. Claire won the Vintage Class at Pebble Beach in 2001.
“It feels great to get a double win,” Tom Lieb said. “The ‘29 roadster was prepared by my grandson Connor. He spent about 20 hours detailing the car. I bought the car in 1959 but sold the engine for college tuition in 1961. I put it back together in late 2009 and took it and the Wills to the Grand National Roadster show in 2010 and won best roadster. I drive both cars regularly which is a lot of fun.”
Darren Moore, of Rancho Palos Verdes, took two second-places with his 1922 Stutz Bearcat (Brass/Antiques through 1924) and his 1932 Packard Twin Six 905 Coupe Roadster (Open Classic Packard, 1925-1948). He was also presented the Chairman’s Award for his P51D Mustang Airplane.
Moore has seven cars and six airplanes in his collection but it was the first time he has exhibited his cars.
“I’m not a car show person, but since the Concours was presented at Torrance Airport where my collection is, I couldn’t refuse” Moore said. “I have displayed and flown my aircraft at airshows before, but I no longer participate in those events. I haven’t acquired the vehicles as an investment, only because I like them.”
Moore purchased the P51D Mustang in 2011 after completing a training course in the aircraft with Stallion 51, the only school in the country that offers this course.
“Soon after I completed the course, a man down in Florida had just completed a six year restoration of his Mustang and decided to sell it,” Moore added. “I flew it home a few weeks later. I tell everyone that I’m just the “Caretaker” of it. It’s American history and I’ll pass it on to someone who loves it just as much as I do.”
Peninsula residents placed first and second in the Post-War European Elegance through 1976 class. Jay and Bonnie McDonald, of Palos Verdes Estates, took top honors with their 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL while Hiram Bond and Paul Marcelino, of Rancho Palos Verdes, were runner-up with a 1963 Rolls-Royce CT100.
Tom and Shannon Hartman, of Rancho Palos Verdes, placed second in the Open American Classics, 1925-1948 class with their 1932 Lincoln Model 248 K LeBaron Convertible Roadster
Local third-place finishers included John Marian, of Rancho Palos Verdes, with a 1965 Porsche 911 (Porsche 900, 1965-1990) and Palos Verdes Estates’ George Johnson with a 1929 Packard 626 5-Passenger Sedan (Closed Classic Packard, 1925-1948)
The Eric P. Allen Memorial award for Most Elegant was presented to Earl Rubenstein, of El Segundo for his 1935 Packard 1204, Dual Cowl Phaeton.
Best of Show honors went to Aaron and Valerie Weiss, of San Marino, for their 1936 Mercedes-Benz 290 Cabriolet A.
Proceeds from the Palos Verdes Concours d’Elegance benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Los Angeles Harbor and a new charity, the Western Museum of Flight.