In light of the ongoing pandemic, the committee which usually creates the Father’s Day Concours d’Elegance in Beverly Hills made the wise decision to make a change this year. Instead of inviting people to come ogle the amazing cars parked along Rodeo Drive, they are driving some 50 exotic automobiles through Beverly Hills. Notable individuals from film and entertainment, top collectors and city officials will be at the wheel. The Beverly Hills Tour d’Elegance could be the world’s best rolling car show and it takes place at 10 a.m. on Father’s Day, June 20.
Thanks to numerous sponsors, this fun and free event supports the Beverly Hills Police Officers Association and the Beverly Hills Firefighters’ Association non-profit charities that provide assistance to first responders injured in the line of duty, maintain scholarship funds for their children and provide other support.
As of press time, the following is a sampling of the Tour d’Elegance entrants:
1962 Ferrari 250 GTO (this likely will be the most-expensive car in the Tour);
1912 Ford Model T Roadster Pickup (the oldest car in the Tour);
1970 Lancia Stratos Zero (this is the amazing “flying wedge” you may have heard about but not yet seen);
Maserati MC12 (only 50 were built in 2004 and 2005; Maserati’s answer to the Enzo Ferrari, which basically has the same chassis);
Lamborghini Sian (the newest exotic offering from this special brand, their first production hybrid and their most-powerful road car ever – V12 engine plus electric motor bring the total to over 800 HP at a starting price of around $2,600,000);
1969 Ford Bronco “Big Oly” (one of the most storied off-road racers in history, owned for over 50 years by Parnelli Jones until a recent auction at a reported $1,870,000 a few weeks ago);
1960 Maserati Tipo 61 “Birdcage” (this car will travel the farthest in order to participate, coming from Sonoma, CA – the complex space-frame tube-chassis is what gave the car its moniker, but it likely will have the body on during the Tour so you’ll have to use your imagination);
2021 McLaren Elva (one the company’s newest offerings and its lightest now available, it has a unique offering an optional windshield. At a base price of about $1,700,000, it’s likely to be a crowd-pleaser);
1935 Packard Dual Cowl Phaeton by Dietrich (I love a car with two windshields! Maybe it could loan one to the McLaren Elva);
2021 McLaren Speedtail (this is tied with the Sian for the fastest accelerating car on the Tour but with a higher top speed, of 250 MPH I hope that they put it up front. The base price is about $2,100,000);
Several Chevy Low Riders (1958 and 1964 Impalas and 1983 Monte Carlo – always a delightful part of the show);
1957 Dual Ghia Convertible (the “it” car in Hollywood in that era);
1968 Mustang “Wasteland” car (think “Mad Max”);
1929 Ahrens-Fox Fire Truck (driven by our own Beverly Hills Fire Department, we have this truck to thank for the annual Rodeo Drive Concours. In the early ’90s, Beverly Hills had a fire truck that they had no money to restore, but it was an original Beverly Hills fire truck. Bruce Meyer helped create a group of supporters put together a car show and to raise money to restore the antique fire truck);
1939 Bugatti Type 57C by Vanvooren (the “Shah Bugatti” one of my personal favorites I have a model of this car on my desk);
1939 Auburn Boattail Speedster Custom (some car designers really loved their boats) and
1953 Chrysler Parade Phaeton (the kind used by President Eisenhower).
It will surprise no one that the driving force (so to speak) behind the event is Bruce Meyer, organizer extraordinaire, car collector par excellence and all-around good guy. Meyer brought the cars together; he made the connections with the city and he conceptualized the event (as he has with the Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance for over 25 years). He truly is the ringmaster of the event.
Other key movers (so to speak) include Kathy Gohari of the Rodeo Drive Committee, who worked behind the scenes to get the event off the ground early on, Mayor of Beverly Hills Robert Wunderlich and Vice Mayor Lili Bosse, who have given nothing but enthusiastic support to the event. Tom O’Gara of O’Gara Coach committed to be title sponsor of the event and will join the Tour in a McLaren Speedtail. Of the many sponsors, notable are Hagerty, Auto Vault Storage, GEARYS Beverly Hills, Two Rodeo Drive, Rodeo Drive Associates and the Beverly Hills Historical Society.
This historic drive begins at 10 a.m on June 20. The parade route travels up San Vicente Boulevard and turns left (west) on Burton Way. It then will turn right and go north on Rexford Drive for a block, to Carmelita Avenue, and then turn left and go two blocks over to North Canon Drive. They then turn right and will follow Canon up to the Will Rogers Memorial Park (just below Sunset Boulevard) and then turn left and go right back down (south) on North Beverly Drive all the way to Wilshire Boulevard. They will turn right and go west one block to Rodeo Drive, turn right again and go north to “Little” Santa Monica, turn right and go two blocks to Canon Drive, turn right (south) again on Canon Drive and go to Dayton Way. The parade then will turn left, go to Crescent Drive and turn left. (The route is subject to change so please check the event website the morning of the event for possible updates: https://rodeodrive-bh.com/fathers-day-automobile-celebration.
Note: There is no plan for viewing at the start or at the finish of the Tour as people are asked not to congregate at either end. However, your opportunity to see, hear and, yes, even smell these icons of iron is a once-in-a-lifetime experience (bring your photo and video equipment!). Most people will never have seen photos; some will have seen the photos but not the cars and a few will have seen them but not in action. You will get to experience them all in their native habitat the roads of Beverly Hills. And mark your calendars for Father’s Day 2022, when the Concours d’Elegance on Rodeo Drive is scheduled to return.