Sunbeams on the field

If you’ve never been to a Concours d ’Elegance, it’s something you should try, at least once in your life. It’s truly an experience to see the best of the best automobiles gathered together for you to see their timeless design and flawless beauty.  Cars of this quality are rarely seen singularly, let alone at some local car event, unless you know of a collector with a museum quality showroom to display his or her treasures.  This was my first Concours.

The 2023 Hilton Head Island Concours weekend began with beautiful fall weather for everyone’s enjoyment at the Port Royal Golf Club.  This article will focus on the activities that encompassed the 1st and 18th holes of the course on Saturday, November 4th. The Saturday event, called the Club Car Showcase, was filled with the finest automobiles from the UK, Germany, Italy, and America mainly from the southeastern United States.  Corvettes, antique boats, motorcycles, and NHRA Junior Dragsters added to the fun of this diverse display automotive history.

people on field with cars

The Club Car Showcase opened the gates to the public at 9:00 AM and the shuttle busses kept rolling in all day long. There wasn’t a lull on the fairways until 2:00 PM when the crowds started to thin out.  But that was a long time to have people milling around the cars, asking questions, telling stories, and gaining a bit of automotive knowledge from the car’s owner.

There were four Sunbeams present on the field. Three were from TEAE and one from the British Auto Touring Society of North Carolina.  Here’s a look at them…

As I mentioned earlier, some awards were announced as the show got under way…  Winners of the Chairman’s Choice Awards were notified before the owners finished prepping their cars.

Eric Gibeaut was a winner for TEAE with his ’62 Harrington LeMans.  At noon he was lined up for the  parade of cars to receive their Chairman’s Choice Award.  I tried to get a picture of Eric and the Harrington receiving the award but getting from the 1st fairway to the 18th fairway, where the awards ceremony and parade was held, took place longer that I thought.  But that wasn’t the end of it for Eric.  Later in the day the Crescent Awards were presented, and Eric was tagged again for another award in still another paraded. This time I made it to the Awards Circle.

Congratulations, Eric!

So, what other cars made this a very special day…  There was a great class of cars for “Women on the Move”.  And these cars made an incredibly positive statement for all women automobile enthusiasts.

Millie also owns a beautiful 1953 Bentley R-Type and is a member of the British Car Club of Charleston.

Another “Woman on the Move” was Irene Breland from Mt. Pleasant, SC also from the British Car Club of Charleston (BCCC).  Irene presented her well-appointed 1966 Morgan Plus 4 and drove away with a Crescent Award for her dedication to the marque.  A very cool lady.

Lauren Binard from Charleston, SC brought her 1991 Rover Mini, and Renee Jamison from North Charleston, SC brought her 1959 Austin Healey Bug-Eye Sprite named SMIDGEN. Both of these ladies are BCCC members and have been quite visible on the car show circuit.

And then the Women on the Move brought out the big guns… This red 1984 Roll-Royse Corniche is owned by Ginger Garbarini from Front Royal, VA.  Ginger’s Corniche won the Port Royal Award in 2019 at Hilton Head’s Club Car Showcase.  The blue 1991 Alvis TD21 is owned by Natalie Bluestein of Sullivans Island, SC. Only 20/59 left-hand drive TD21 convertibles are thought to still be in existence.  The Bluesteins are well known in the southeast for their eclectic collection of drop-dead gorgeous classic cars.

The display of showcased cars that were nominated by 30 southeastern car clubs and societies, and then pared down by the HHI Selection Committee, demonstrated the high quality and variety of rare and respected automotive marques produced when automobiles were recognized as art forms. The Hilton Head Island Motoring Festival honors that tradition with a southern flair by curating its collection of automotive treasures, set against the distinctive Lowcountry backdrop and lifestyle, thus elevating this unique event’s presentation into an art form too.

Here are some photos that rekindled my appreciation for classic European cars and my respect for the people who care for them…

While photographing these cars I stopped to talk with their owners to gain more than a surface appreciation for them. It is truly a personal relationship that these owners have with their cars that keeps them in such admirable condition.  It confirmed that beauty is more than skin deep.