From the acres of amazing vehicles on display at the 2015 St. John’s Concours in Plymouth, Michigan, here are six we selected for a closer look.
There’s an issue with the headline for this story. In truth, there were hundreds of noteworthy cars at the 2015 St. John’s Concours, not just six. Unfortunately, there isn’t time or room to do them all justice, so we chose six representative examples for a second look.
The 1954 Packards were the last models assembled at the automaker’s East Grand Boulevard plant in Detroit. For ’55, production was moved a few miles away to Conner Ave., a disastrous decision. But while the company was failing, it wasn’t for lack of technical innovation. This top-of-the-line ’55 Caribbean convertible is loaded with advanced features, including Packard’s unique Ultramatic transmission, a new 352 CID V8, and sophisticated torsion-bar suspension. This beautiful example was displayed by Edmund Meurer of Farmington Hills, MI.
A hot rodder at heart, Carroll Shelby intuitively grasped the marketing power of drag racing and had a handful of production Cobras specially prepared for the drag strip. Several more were built by privateers, including this one, the legendary fuchsia hardtop raced by the team of Costilow and Larson (future funny car champion Bruce Larson). A multiple national event winner and national record holder, the drag Cobra is currently owned by Chuck and Isabel Ungurean.
Mega-collector Bruce Meyer, who was honored as Enthusiast of the Year for 2015 by the St. John’s Concours organizers, has rescued and restored a number of important early hot rods, including this one, the famed Pierson Brothers 1934 Ford coupe. The red, white, and blue three-window with the radically chopped top raced on the California dy lakes, appeared on the April 1950 cover of Hot Rod magazine, and competed at Bonneville for decades.
Cyclecars were all the rage in 1914, and Buick’s brilliant chief engineer Walter Marr designed one with tandem seating, a 100-inch wheelbase, and a petite four-cylinder engine. However, Buick boss Walter P. Chrysler determined that the little jewel was too expensive for production and only a single example was built. That lone prototype has been in the possession of the Marr family ever since, most recently by Richard Marr, Walter Marr’s grandson.
A man of extremely refined tastes, Edsel Ford commissioned this Town Car Cabriolet de Ville on a 1934 Ford V8 chassis from Brewster & Co., the venerable Long Island City, New York coachbuilder. However, the Ford CEO insisted on a standard Ford dash, steering wheel, and grille rather than the custom Brewster components. In recent years the unique open-front town car was acquired by the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores, MI.
Jeff Lane’s extraordinary Lane Motor Museum of Nashville, TN, which specializes in the rare and unusual, recently embarked on a most ambitious project: a recreation of Buckminster Fuller’s 1933 Dymaxion automobile. (Only three of these otherworldly machines were originally produced.) The replica faithfully duplicates the Dymaxion’s outlandish features, including a 1932 Ford chassis and drivetrain turned around backward and steering via a single rear wheel. Journalists who have driven the Dymaxion report that the handling is just as frightening as one would imagine.