The first annual Ramapo Concours d’Elegance was held on the grounds of Ramapo College in Mahwah, NJ, on Saturday June 6, 2015. The Concours was an outgrowth of a regular Cars & Coffee event held at the campus (and locally referred to as a “Caffeine & Carburetors” gathering).
Our Driving Club regulars started the day extra-early by meeting at Mary Ann’s deli for breakfast. As my Alfa was entered in the show (alas, the only car in our group so selected), I needed to leave breakfast early, not only to arrive on the show field on time, but also to detail my car after driving an hour in the rain that morning! Once there, detailing was not helped by an intermittent sprinkle which lingered until after 9 a.m., by which time the first of the spectators had arrived. By 9:30, the sun was out, and it turned into a beautiful, warm spring day.
The college enlisted co-sponsorship from the Prestige Dealership Group of northern New Jersey, and Hackensack Medical University Hospital. While all who worked the event made their best efforts to be helpful and accommodating, it was obvious that this was the first time any of them had put on a car show. It is not worth dwelling on “things gone wrong” that day, as frankly, most of them were minor and easily fixed with an increased focus on logistics, which should be expected from them now that they’ve done it once.
We will however, review the show cars (and the vast majority of these automobiles were outstanding) by “class”. If there was an overriding point of discussion during the day, it concerned the vehicle classes. While some classes were well-defined and well-populated, other classes were very small and/or left us wondering how they were decided upon.
At the end of the show, I heard one of the dealer principals comment that he was amazed at the large turnout of microcars. He need not have been. These puppy-dog cars have been steadily gaining in popularity, especially in the last decade. We had the “usual” Isettas and Messerschmitts, plus some less-frequently seen tiny cars.
Another well-populated class, these cars were not even considered collectible until rather recently. Now, Beetles, Karmann-Ghias, and especially buses have soared in popularity (AND price). Get yours while they’re affordable.
The class definition excluded 924s, 944s, 928s, and any 911 built after 1998. Nevertheless, old-school 911s and 356s turned out in force. Everyone loves these cars, as they are so recognizable, even if many of us have been priced out of the market.
MERCEDES SL PRE-71
While no 300SLs graced us with their presence, this 3rd class of German cars still impressed us with a nice selection of 190SLs, and various “Pagoda” cars (230/250/280 SL).
One of only 3 domestic classes, this was also the class with the fewest number of vehicles in it. In fact, there were a total of 3 cars, and since 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place trophies were being awarded, everyone in this class took something home!
The above is the total class description. Ford made T-Birds every year from 1955 through 1997, then the Retro-Bird from 2002-2006. Yet of the 10 or so cars on the show field, every one of them was either a ’56 or ’57 (all 2-seaters, obviously, or perhaps not obviously if you are unaware). However that happened, it was nice to see the colorful collection on display. The original T-Bird still has a charm all its own.
The class definition assured us that we would see only “classic Jags”, the newest of which would Series 1 E-types. We were rewarded with some of the nicest machinery on the entire field. Several of the XKs were truly #1 cars, with gorgeous cosmetics, and paint better than ever applied at the factory.
Jaguars had their own class, so this class grouped some common and not-so-common British machines. This likely was the most eclectic grouping on the grounds that day, with a pre-war Triumph, a pre-war Aston Martin, and a Sunbeam Harrington battling it out for “most unique British car”.
Of course, this was the class into which my Alfa was entered. By definition, we might have seen everything from a Fiat 850 spyder, to a Lancia Fulvia, Maserati Mistral, Lamborghini Miura, and Ferrari 275 GTB. None of them showed. The class turned out to be one of the lesser-populated: 4 Ferraris and 3 Alfas were the total turnout. All the Ferraris were ‘70s era and newer, and all 3 Alfas were Giulia coupes!
This was the only class for which I recorded the class winners (noted in below photos).
A discussion that I became part of at the end of the show assured me that the wheels are already in motion to make next year’s event better. One of the show principals and one of the judges were engaged in dialogue to improve the class definitions. The important point is, whatever they decide, the 2016 Ramapo Concours should be that much more well-organized and well-run.
All photographs copyright © 2015 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.