Vintage cars draw thousands to Geneva Concours show

Published: Sunday, Aug. 25, 2013 4:49 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, Aug. 26, 2013 11:39 p.m. CDT
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(Jonathan Bilyk – jbilyk@shawmedia.com)
Thousands gathered Sunday on Third Street in Geneva to take in the sights of nearly 300 classic cars, including some dating from the earliest days of the automobile, at the annual Concours d'Elegance Geneva car show. Sunday's installment of the classic car show was again expected to draw more than 15,000 spectators from throughout the Chicago area to downtown Geneva.

GENEVA - For some, the vintage cars lining the streets of Geneva's downtown were novelties, historical artifacts of interest from a time long past.

But for Clark Andrews, many of the cars that drew thousands of people to the blocks surrounding Third Street Sunday were something more real, devices that stirred his own memories from a life mostly lived.

"These are all sort of remembrances of the past - my past - mostly from the 1940s and '50s," said Andrews, of Chicago.

 "And it's interesting to resurrect those memories, because they're mostly good," he added, with a laugh.

Sunday, Andrews was one among a crowd believed to number more than 15,000 to pack Geneva's streets for the annual Concours d'Elegance.

Now in its 9th year, the car show has regularly drawn thousands of spectators to take in the sights of almost 300 classic cars, including dozens of very rare models from many different eras.

The free event again drew car enthusiasts and the curious from throughout the Chicago area to Geneva.

Concours organizer Bob Joynt, of Batavia, said the event in the past has drawn crowds estimated to number about 18,000. And under warm, sunny late summer skies, Joynt said he believed the crowds might even surpass the show's best days.

"This is not your typical car show or cruise-in," said Joynt. "This is something far more special, essentially a display of engineering excellence from throughout the history of the automobile."

Joynt, for instance, was displaying his 1920 Locomobile.

Within two blocks of where Joynt was showing his car on Third Street were dozens of other cars dating from the so-called Brass Era, including models from Ford, Mercer, Austin, Chevrolet, Packard, Dodge and Stanley, among others.

The Packards, in particular, were the favorites of twin siblings Olivia and Evan Prendergast, 11, of Wilmette, who had come to Geneva with their father, Mike, to celebrate his birthday.

"All the cars are really beautiful," said Evan.

"Especially the really old ones," Olivia added.

Their father said Sunday marked their first trip to the Concours d'Elegance show. But he said it likely won't be their last.

"I think we might become regulars," Mike Prendergast said.

While Andrews enjoyed the Brass Era cars, he said he was particularly delighted to find a 1951 Jaguar roadster.

"My wife has asked me in quieter moments, if we hit the lottery, and I had a choice of any car, what would I get?" Andrews said. "And without hesitation, I said it would be an early '50s Jaguar roadster, just like that one.

"Just beautiful automobiles."

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