A 1937 Cord Supercharged 812 owned by Norman and Judi Noakes of Lake Oswego won Best in Show at the 45th annual Forest Grove Concours d'Elegance on Sunday. The event was held at its traditional location on the campus of Pacific University in Forest Grove.
"I found the car in a barn in Grantville, Utah in 2013," Noakes said. "We're taking it to Auburn, Indiana next for the annual meeting of the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg club. We'll compete against a lot of Cords there. I may put it in the Lake Oswego Heritage Car Show later this year."
The Cord was selected as the best among more than 350 cars that were entered for judging or simply on display. Exhibited cars ranged from a 1976 AMC Pacer owned by Patrick Barnes of Portland to a single-passenger 1896 Riker electric car owned by Richard and Judith Riker of Grants Pass.
"My grandfather designed this car as a prototype for a line of electric vehicles," Riker told the audience. "My mother bought it back in the 1980s and it still works."
The Riker Electric Vehicle Company produced a small number of electric cars before being purchased by The Electric Vehicle Company in 1901. In addition, longtime Portland auto dealer Monte Shelton brought out his 1917 Detroit Electric Brougham. The century-old EV still boasts a range of 60-80 miles on a full charge.
"Sometimes I'll get it out and take my wife Sue out to breakfast in it," Shelton remarked.
The rare and highly restored antiques at the show get a lot of attention, but the bulk of the concours is made up of more affordable cars such as classic Chevrolets, Fords, and Chryslers, as well as imports from around the world.
"It's the sheer range of cars you get, and the level of enthusiasm," said event co-emcee Donald Osborne. "This is a great regional concours with spectacularly restored cars."
The event is organized by the Forest Grove Rotary to celebrate excellence in the preservation and restoration of classic automobiles, but it's really about the car owners and the stories they tell about their personal history with their vehicles.
"What really sets this event apart is that 80% or more of the people here have had their car in the family since new, or they have owned it for 40 years, or it was owned by a neighbor and they've known the car since they were five years old," Osborne explains. "I hear stories like this over and over again."
Attendance was heavy throughout the day, with large crowds out to enjoy the cars and the mild weather. Car owners were kept busy chatting with interested fans from the 8:30 am opening time until the awards were finished at about 5:00 pm.
The Best Open Car award went to Ernie Spada of Lake Oswego for his 1956 Porsche 356A hardtop, and the Best Closed Car award went to a 1947 Chrysler Town & Country woody sedan owned by Al and Sandi McEwen of Redmond, Washington. Woody vehicles of all marques were featured at this year's show, along with all variants of the venerable British Mini. The winning Mini was a 1967 Wolseley Hornet owned by Bill and Muffy Beeler of Portland.
The 46th Forest Grove Concours d'Elegance will be held on the Pacific University campus next year on July 15, 2018. The featured marques will be Alfa Romeo and Chevrolet Trucks, but classes for virtually all classic cars will be available.
To see a complete set of winners, go to forestgroveconcours.org.