The Pacific Northwest Concours d’Elegance was held on September 7th at ‘American’s Car Museum’ in Tacoma, WA. Previously known as the Kirkland Concours, the event moved to Tacoma a couple of years ago to be affiliated with this newly opened museum. This is the best car show in the Pacific Northwest with many of the same people involved that are the movers and shakers for Pebble Beach.
This show was the same day as the chapter’s M Car Day. Since both events were in Tacoma, some members made it to both shows.
This year featured two special classes for BMWs. One was for ‘Early and Significant’ cars and the other was for BMW Motorcycles. While the motorcycle exhibit was interesting, it’s the cars we’re most concerned about here. Chapter member Peter Gleeson, who has quickly assembled one of the best BMW collections in North America, was chosen to select the cars to be invited. Peter also wrote a short history of our favorite car company for the event program.
Finding the early and significant BMWs to fill out the class and represent the company was a task that was eased by Peter being able to find half the cars in his own collection. The task was made harder by last minute cancellations of two of the most significant cars. Club member Nancy Martin’s 1937 328 couldn’t make the show due to a mechanical problem. No replacement could be found for this little red jewel. Brown Maloney’s beautiful 507 was sold at one of the Monterey auctions just a few weeks before this show. Fortunately, another lovely 507 was found. This car was shown by Corry and Greg McFarland. This car had been brought home from Germany by Corry and Greg’s father in the 1960s. It is in original, unrestored condition with lovely patina.
The only pre-war car in attendance was the 327/28 Cabriolet owned by Steve and Annie Norman. This car was shown at Pebble Beach in 2013. Steve and Mary Walker brought their remarkably original 1800 TiSA. Byron Sanborn’s fully restored 2002 Turbo was there despite Byron’s absence. Gerald Greenfield, the Chief Judge of the event, showed his 2001 Z8. And Karra Cannun brought her 1959 503 from San Jose, CA.
Peter’s six cars were spectacular. We (meaning Peter and his drivers, including your author) brought two 3.0CSL Alpinas. One was a street version in yellow and the other was a race car. The race car is painted in its original livery, resembling a cow hide, reflecting Levi’s sponsorship. Peter’s wife drove down in their 1989 red Z1. One of Peter’s most recent additions is the only E30 M3 Cabriolet built by BMW as an Evo II. It is like new and shows well in white.
To round out the group, Peter showed two M1s. The first was a totally original street car in dark blue. It was purchased when new by factory driver Johnny Cecotto. Johnny did just 8,000 miles in the car in 31 years and has given Peter a letter confirming the car’s originality, including confirming this car was serviced by the factory. The other M1 was about as close to a BMW Art Car as an individual can own. That is the Peter Gregg M1 Procar which Frank Stella painted; this is also one of only three known Procars, to still be in their original state.
There was actually one other BMW car in the show, that being a 1957 Isetta owned by Tacoma resident Richard Rinning. Richard did the restoration himself including “pimping it out” as much as possible with visors, luggage racks and every period accessory he could find. It was shown in another class but made a baker’s dozen of Bimmers in the show.
The class winner was Karra Canum’s 503. . Its restoration was done by the Werk Shop in Chicago and is likely the finest 503 in the world. The level of workmanship and the color combination chosen by the owner make the car simply breathtaking. A special award was given to the Stella M1. This car is a full-race Procar and noisy. The award presentation was delayed to the end of the ceremonies since once the car was started, the announcer couldn’t be heard over the PA system. No matter, these are car people and everyone loved the racket.
By David Lightfoot
Photos by Steve Libby