Concours d’Cancelation: The Making of a Virtual Event

The pandemic put a serious dent in concours events across North America in 2020. All of them were either badly injured or canceled altogether. These events not only bring money into their communities, but they do some great things for local and national charities, too.

By mid-year, with the cancelations of Keels & Wheels, Chattanooga and Hilton Head, it was obvious this problem wasn’t going to let up. If action wasn’t taken, some of these concours events wouldn’t make it back next year. 

After successfully pulling off two virtual events earlier this year, the Classic Motorsports staff decided to help. Solution: a virtual concours that would benefit these traditional events. 

With more questions than answers, we began to plan. Would concours events even want to join in? Would real concours judges be willing to participate in a virtual event? Could we get any industry support? 

The event needed a name, too. 

Canceled Concours, which accurately described the mission, sounded negative and certainly not sexy. So we Frenched it up a bit and came up with Concours d’Cancelation. Sure, you can argue that it should have two L’s and “de” instead of “d’” to be accurate, but it looked right, so we went with it.

The original idea was to ask each participating concours event to invite 10 of its best cars. Then we’d have a best-of-the-best battle. To widen the appeal, we also allowed individuals not associated with any event to enter. To further welcome more participants, we created a class for ’80s and ’90s cars as well as two new ones: Cars of Main Street and At the Beach.

Partners responded instantly. Our friends at Hagerty signed on as a presenting sponsor. This added muscle and legitimacy to the whole thing. Others soon followed. 

More than 80 concours judges joined in, including showfield regulars and racing legends like Sam Posey, Tommy Kendall and Lyn St. James. Corporate executives got into the judging action, too, from Jim Farley, president of Ford, to Rob Moran, Mercedes-Benz director of public relations.

The event would take place on the Classic Motorsports website. 

Promotions started right after Labor Day. The very first car to enter was an original, nearly perfect 289 Cobra. The event was off to a strong start. Two dozen traditional concours events from coast to coast supported our effort. 

A week before the October 30 entry deadline, the event welcomed a respectable 120 entrants.

The word went out for a few more cars, and owners responded in force. From Le Mans-winning Bugattis to Talbot Lagos, some of the best concours cars in the world made for some stunning eye candy on the Classic Motorsports website.

When the dust settled, the field ended up with 210 entries and nearly all of the 30 classes filled.

Judging took place via Zoom during the first week of November. Perhaps the most memorable call featured racing legends David Hobbs, Brian Redman and Sam Posey judging the class for ’60s race cars. Each car in the field prompted one of these greats to share a story from the glory days at Spa, Le Mans, Daytona or Sebring. 

After 30 Zoom calls, the  final decisions could be announced on Sunday afternoon, the traditional time to drop concours results. 

An event like this came together thanks to the efforts of many. In addition to our corporate partners, participating concours events and judging crew, we especially need to thank Tim McNair for help sourcing cars, Chris Tropea for the video work, Nicole Suddard for organizational help, and Alan Galbraith for working as chief judge. Classic Motorsports Publisher Tim Suddard served as event chairman. 

Participating Concours Events:

The Concours d'Cancelation is presented by 

in association with     and 

with classes presented by Vintage Motorcar CompanyMercedes-Benz Classic CenterLane Motor Museum, PorschePorsche ClassicConcours d'LeMonsBlast MastersNational Parts DepotDriveshareThe Driven ManAllard Motor WorksCoco MatsGraves PlatingRD Enterprisesthe BMW CCA FoundationPollock Automotive RestorationRagtops and RoadstersRADwood's RAD For SaleChubb Collector Car InsuranceCRC Industries and Griot's Garage.

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Patrick Corrado
Patrick Corrado
11/12/20 6:31 p.m.

Great job, Tim and staff on the Concours d'Cancelation. You all did a fantastic job in organizing and promoting the event. Kudos to all who participated in and those who sponsored the event. Can't wait for some degree of normalcy to return so that we can enjooy these vehicles in the flesh once again. Hopefully, at Amelia in March. 

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