Forest Grove is not your typical Concours event. What makes a Concours different from a regular car show is that you must apply to a committee to show your car, and the committee decides which cars are accepted. Usually when we hear of a Concours d’ Elegance we think of Emilia Island, Pebble Beach, or Hilton Head Island, where the vehicles are of a premium quality that only the rich and famous can afford – all of which means they will remain on my bucket list under the title of “Must-see one day”. However, there are lots of more modest Concours d’ Elegance, including Forest Grove, set on the grounds of Pacific University.
What sets Forest Grove apart is that it still gets a wide range of great cars but it definitely has a more laid back atmosphere, where the emphasis is more on the cars and having a good time rather than winning. But, that doesn’t mean there isn’t good competition for the prizes. We were delighted to see one of Rudi and Company’s cars, a 1963 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster, up for “best of show”.
For us in Victoria and Vancouver Island, there are three recognized Concours events we can take in over an extended weekend in the Pacific Northwest: Forest Grove, held in July just outside of Portland; Crescent Beach, held at the end of August in White Rock; and Kirkland, held at the LeMay Museum in Tacoma in September. For Forest Grove, we hopped on the Coho to Port Angeles at 10:30am on Friday and because of the back-up once we hit the I-5, we arrived at our hotel in Portland at 6:15pm (according to the GPS, we should’ve arrived an hour and a half sooner). We recommend that you consider taking the 6:00 am ferry to avoid the Friday afternoon crawl on the I-5 and arrive in Portland earlier!
The 2013 presentation of the Forest Grove featured “American Royalty”, a theme that conjures up visions of Grand American touring cars of the 20’s through to the 60’s that really represent the pinnacle of American automotive grandeur of the era and were well-represented.
In addition, they featured the anniversaries of two sports car marques: the Chevrolet Corvette and the Porsche 911. The Corvette, a vehicle that became America’s sports car is now 60 years-old. The 911 Porsche, which set the standard for engineering and performance, has been on the road for five decades now. Both were very well-represented, including my favourites – a 1964 Corvette split window coupe and a 1967 Porsche 911S with a very recent full restoration that ended up being a finalist for “best of show”.
When it came to the awards the two emcees, Keith Martin, publisher of Sports Car Market Magazine and Donald Osborne, writer and co-host with Keith on the show ‘What’s My Car Worth”, did a brilliant job. It took two and a half hours, but they kept it interesting with their conversations with the car owners and informing us on the history of the cars. What I was surprised to learn about these two “car guys” is their background in the arts. Keith studied dance at Julliard in New York and established Ballet Oregon and Donald was a Baritone with the Metropolitan Opera! Donald graced us with his singing of the American national anthem, prior to the start of the awards ceremony.
When it came to “best of show”, it came down to four finalists: a 1973 Porsche 911S; a 1963 Mercedes-Benz 300SL roadster; a 1931 Duesenberg SJ; and, a 1928 Ford Model A pickup. In the end, the 1931 Duesenberg won out and was a well-deserved winner as a fine example of “American Royalty”. Check out the photos of the event in the photo gallery.