ROCHESTER — The weather was picture-perfect for the recently held 2009 Meadow Brook Concours d’Elegance.
The Henry Ford, Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village sported Henry Ford’s Quadricycle, organizers said, along with many other proud owners shined with their better-than-new automobiles in the 30th anniversary of the edition of world-famous Meadow Brook Concours d’Elegance in Rochester. The event of 250 special displays of classic automobiles, along with the largest gathering of unique and extremely rare prewar antique motorcycles. Dearborn’s Katie Robbins exhibited her 1938 Cadillac Series 90 V-16 Formal Town Car by Fleetwood at the first Meadow Brook Concours 30 years ago, and this year’s crowd got a chance to see it again. The Classic Car Club of America recognizes as full classics “fine and unusual motor cars built between 1925 and 1948 that are distinguished by fine design, high engineering standards and superior workmanship.” Cadillac’s introduction of V-12 and V-16 powered cars in 1930 kicked off the “cylinder wars” among the American luxury marques. The V-16 engine was Cadillac’s top-of-the-line car until production ceased in 1940.
Only 4,076 cars were built in the 11 years the model was offered; most in the single year of 1930 before the Great Depression really took hold. In 1938, despite slowing sales of the V-16 line, Cadillac surprised the industry with an all-new, smaller short-stroke side-valve V-16 engine displacing 431 cubic inches, but producing 185 horsepower. The new V-16, known as the Series 90, sold only 315 units in the 1938 model year.
Nancy and Larry Seyfarth sported their pristine 1959 Ford Thunderbird in the Fins and Chrome: Convertibles of 1959 class. Michigan native, Dearborn resident and retired Ford Motor Co. engineer Larry Seyfarth has been the sole owner of the T-Bird since he purchased it new as a gift for his wife for their first wedding anniversary 50 years ago.
Concours organizers say it’s a prime example of the Motor City’s automotive design legacy that helps celebrate the 1950s era of tail fins and chrome in recognition of the 30th anniversary of the Meadowbrook Concours d’Elegance. Larry’s classic Ford is completely original, sporting interior colors of turquoise and white and a flawless exterior white finish.
Linda and Richard Kughn showed four cars from their vast collection of automobiles. They included the Blue Ribbon winner of the American Classic Early Class with their 1953 Oldsmobile Fiesta Convertible. The car is one of his trifecta that includes their 1953 Buick Skylark Convertible and 1953 Cadillac Eldorado Convertible that were on display as well. They also brought what organizers called a beautiful 1938 Packard Town Car by Rollston. Joseph D’anna of Riverview brought two race cars, a 1965 Plymouth and a 1965 Plymouth Barracuda. The Color Me Gone 1965 Plymouth is one of six built altered-wheelbase Plymouths that car buffs say effectively bridged the gap between the super stock cars of the early ’60s and the funny cars of later years.
The cars were match raced throughout the country, and experts say they were incredibly popular,reaching over 140 mph at the quarter-mile drag strips. It wasn’t uncommon to hear the radio advertising tag line, “Sunday – Sunday at Detroit Dragway.”
D’anna’s other race car was one of 75 Barracudas modified by Hurst Performance Center in Madison Heights for drag racing only. The 426-cubic-inch Hemi powerplant propelled the cars to victory at many major National Hot Rod Association drag racing events. The Barracudas were tough to beat, car buffs say, and dominated the match race circuit in the late 1960s.