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dElegance continues artful love affair with cars

Annual Forest Grove show adds muscle to local 'Summer of Cars'
by: COURTESY OF CONCOURS This award-winning 1939 Bugatti Type 57C Aravis will be on display at the 2011 Forest Grove Concours d’Elegance on Sunday, July 17. It’s the latest exhibit in what has been called the “Summer of Cars” in the Portland area.

How often do local car buffs get to drool over two ultra-rare but closely-related Bugatti roadsters surrounded by other collector cars? That is happening during this year's unprecedented series of automotive exhibitions, informally known as the 'Summer of Cars.'

Bugatti is the legendary French car brand founded in 1909 and renowned for the beauty of its designs. It produced a number of versions of the Type 57 touring car between 1934 and 1940. They were elegant and handcrafted roadsters, and two are making their local debut.

A 1939 Bugatti Type 57C Aravis will be displayed at the 2011 Forest Grove Concours d'Elegance, at Pacific University in Forest Grove on Sunday, July 17. One of only three made, it is on loan from the famous Mullin Automotive Museum in Oxnard, Calif. It has won numerous awards, including first place in 2005 at the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

About 300 other historic cars will also be exhibited, including a selection of American automobiles from the 1950s and 1960s. The oldest will be a hand-built 1896 Ryker electric runabout.

Now in its 38th year, the show has raised more than $1 million for the Forest Grove Rotary Club's scholarships and youth and community service projects.

The other Bugatti - a 1937 Type 57S Atalante - is part of the Portland Art Museum's ongoing 'Allure of the Automobile' exhibit. Loaned by William E. (Chip) Connor II of Hong Kong, it is one of 16 motor vehicles selected for their sculptural lines, including a 1957 Jaguar XK-SS Roadster once owned by actor Steve McQueen and 1931 Duesenberg SJ Derham Convertible Sedan that has previously appeared at the Forest Grove show.

As part of the exhibit, local car clubs are staging shows in front of the museum every Saturday. Hot Rods will be featured Saturday, July 16, followed by Mercedes and BMWs on July 23, Fords on July 30, Porsches on Aug. 6, English cars on Aug. 13, Rod and Custom cars on Aug. 20, Mopars on Aug. 27, Two-seaters on Sept. 3 and Green Cars on Sept. 10.

Just across the South Park Blocks, the Oregon Historical Society is hosting 'Pedal to the Metal: Oregon Motorsports Tradition.' It explores the early days and national influence of local racers, including those that helped develop the cars that compete in the Indy 500. Admission is free to Multnomah County residents.

For a region that professes itself to be obsessed with bicycles, this summer's automotive exhibitions are proof that for many Portlanders, the love affair with cars isn't over.

The Forest Grove Concours d'Elegance will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Sunday, July 17, on the Pacific University campus, 2043 College Way, Forest Grove. Advance admission is $17 adults, $15 seniors, $5 age 13 to 18, and children under 12 free. Day of show admission is $20 adults, $18 seniors, $7 age 13 to 18, and children younger than 12 are free.