Class and chrome

This 1948 Lincoln Continetal is just one of 200 antique and classics cars and motorcycles that will be shown during the 9th Dayton Concouts d'Elegance at Carillon Park on Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015
Photography by Skip Peterson This 1948 Lincoln Continetal is just one of 200 antique and classics cars and motorcycles that will be shown during the 9th Dayton Concouts d'Elegance at Carillon Park on Sunday, Sept. 20, 2015 Photography by Skip Peterson

Ninth-annual Dayton Concours d’Elegance features Lincoln concept

By Joyell Nevins

Photo: This 1948 Lincoln Continental is just one of 200 antique and classics cars and motorcycles that will be shown during the ninthDayton Concours d’Elegance at Carillon Park on Sept. 20; photo: Skip Peterson

Before there were assembly lines and factories, there were people who built their transportation by hand. These days of horse and carriage originated in France. When a coach builder wanted to introduce a new body style, they held a “concours d’elegance.” The term translates to “competition of elegance” and referred to a highly formal party used to display their wares to the aristocratic elite. While coaches may have gone by the wayside, and the aristocratic class is less defined, the idea of showing off elegant bodywork and craftsmanship on your mode of transportation is not.

The Dayton Concours d’Elegance, presented by AAA Allied Group, continues that tradition with its ninth show this year Sunday, Sept. 20 at Carillon Historical Park. The show will also celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Lincoln Continental and debut the new 2016 Lincoln Continental Concept.

“There’s a cruise-in, there’s a car show and then there’s concours d’elegance,” Chair Skip Peterson explains.

But you won’t see any black ties at this automobile gathering.

“Our event is a little more low key,” Peterson says. “We want to show the best of the best without being stuffy.”

A classic combination

The Concours started nine years ago when a core group met with Carillon Park and Dayton History representatives to see about working together.

“We are a community of people who are passionate about classic cars and motorcycles,” Peterson says. “Carillon provides the right place and right setting.”

The 200 cars on display this weekend will be placed throughout the park, on the grounds and among the buildings. All of the regular Carillon activities and exhibits will be open, with special kids areas set up. Live entertainment will be on hand, and Carillon will have concessions available. All the weekend proceeds go back to Dayton History.

“It’s not just a guys’ day out; it’s a family thing,” Peterson says.

Cars are nominated and selected for placement in the Concours. The vehicle must be at least 25 years old and restored to its original condition. A number of specialty awards are given out, including the R. H. Grant Best of Show, Col. Edward Deeds Judge’s Choice, Charles F. Kettering People’s Choice, Jeffrey Siler Spirit Award, The Taj Ma Garaj Award and The Hagerty Youth Judging Award. Nationally recognized automotive artists will have a pavilion to display their work, and hand-built model cars will be shown as well.

Dayton Concours has regulated that no one car can appear consecutively in the show, except for those who have won “Best in Class” the previous year. There are 30 different classes in the Concours, separated by brand, year and body style.

“We have about 70 percent new cars every year,” Peterson says. “It keeps it fresh.”

Peterson notes owners often come back repeat years, but with different vehicles to display.

Continental concept

Every year, the Concours chooses a different vehicle as its featured car. This year, to coincide with its 75th anniversary, the committee chose the Lincoln Continental. When Lincoln heard what Dayton was doing, they offered to bring the 2016 Continental Concept to the show—making Dayton one of the first places for the general public to see the brand new body style up close.

Lincoln stopped building the Continental in 2002 and just reintroduced the vehicle publicly this spring. The Continental Concept made its world debut March 30 at the New York International Auto Show, before being featured at Auto Shanghai 2015 in April.

“The 75th anniversary celebration of the Lincoln Continental at the Dayton Concours d’Elegance is a perfect place to showcase the new, reimagined Lincoln Continental Concept,” says Dave Rivers, manager of Lincoln marketing. “This event celebrates the proud past of the Lincoln Continental while strongly indicating the brand’s direction.”

Noted architect Frank Lloyd Wright considered the 1940 Continental “the most beautiful car in the world.” Emphasizing the long, low, clean shape, the Concours committee notes the Continental was far ahead of its time and set a standard few cars could match.

Rivers says the Continental Concept signals the arrival of a new face for Lincoln with a sleek silhouette and a new centered chrome grille detailed with a raised Lincoln badge surrounded by a span of repeating polished aluminum Lincoln Star emblems.

By the numbers

It takes a dedicated committee of 21 volunteers meeting up year-round to plan this event. The weekend of Concours d’Elegance itself requires more than 100 volunteers, serving as class hosts, judges and other set-up and clean-up crew members. And the event now attracts more than 4,000 people.

“We’re being embraced by the automobile community,” Peterson said. “I think we’re succeeding.”

Concours d’Elegance begins Saturday Sept. 12 with a special edition of Dayton Cars & Coffee, held in front of the Carillon Brewing Co. and open to all cars. Winans Coffee and EuroClassics will provide coffee.

Saturday evening at Carillon Historical Park is the casual preview party, A Continental Evening, which is open to the public. The party will preview some of the Concours automobiles and feature an automotive art pavilion, music, silent auction, Bourbon bar, food and beverages. Saturday evening’s Preview Party will be held from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. Tickets are $85 per person, $75 for Dayton History members and reservations are required.

There will also be a raffle to win a 2015 Fiat Abarth car, with tickets on sale online or at the Carillon Historical Park.

The Dayton Concours d’Elegance takes place 10:30 a.m-4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 20 at Carillon Historical Park, 1000 Carillon Blvd. in Dayton. 

A parade of class winning cars, motorcycles and major award winners takes place at 3 p.m. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door and $5 for children ages 3-17. Admission is free to Dayton History members and children under 3. For more information, please visit

Reach DCP freelance writer Joyell Nevins at

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Joyell believes in the power of the written word, a good cup of coffee, and sometimes, the need for a hug (please, no Tommy Boy references). Follow her on her blog “Small World, Big God” at or reach her at

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