We’re off and running for 2012 and Forgotten Fiberglass – and it’s only 11 days into the New Year!
Earlier this week I posted information about an upcoming Concours d’ Elegance in the first half of the year that will feature Forgotten Fiberglass cars in Houston, Texas. Click here to review the earlier story about the Classy Chassis Concours d’ Elegance and consider celebrating your fiber-gem with others at a spectacular event in the Lone Star State.
The second half of the year will not disappoint. Forgotten Fiberglass is helping stage a magnificent event in the Midwest again this year 🙂
We’ve begun working with good fiber-friend Bob Cunningham and the folks at the Salisbury Concours d’ Elegance to coordinate another appearance of Forgotten Fiberglass cars in the most glorious of estate settings in Des Moines, Iowa.
How much better can 2012 get?
I asked Bob Cunningham to put together a story telling us a bit about the Salisbury Concurs d’ Elegance as well as the invitation process. Without adieu, take it away Bob….
Forgotten Fiberglass to be featured at the 2012 Salisbury Concours d’Elegance
By Robert D. Cunningham
DO IT NOW, BEFORE YOU FORGET.
Circle the dates on your calendar: Saturday and Sunday, September 8 and 9. On that important weekend, nestled between summer’s last bloom and autumn’s first leaf, Forgotten Fiberglass will create new memories at the annual Salisbury Concours d’Elegance, in Des Moines, Iowa.
If you’ve never been to the Salisbury House, you should know that they host no ordinary ‘car show’.
A single crimson ray will pierce the oak leaves as morning dawns. The new light will betray a trio of plump raccoons, up to no good, huddled against the ancient manor’s weathered foundation. Rabbits will scamper. Squirrels will bury their bounty beneath the spent roses.
A Whitetail doe will be first to hear your distant growl. She will stop chewing her breakfast of acorns, twist her ears toward the intrusion, and then bound into the woods. Moments later, you will make your grand entrance–you in your magnificent machine–your Forgotten Fiberglass.
Your engine will belt its deepest baritone as you motor up the steep south drive. Others will follow. Perhaps a 1910 Sears Model K “highwheeler” will sputter onto the cobblestone courtyard. A parade of Packards may rumble across the estate, up the winding east entrance, engines echoing against the retaining walls.
Yours may be among the first of the automotive artifacts to arrive. The stately Salisbury House & Gardens will come alive. In a matter of minutes, nature’s menagerie will acquiesce to Gullwings, Silver Ghosts and Phantoms. More than 130 vintage vehicles will ascend with you to the manicured lawns.
“This may be the most difficult concours to stage in the country,” says Salisbury Selection Committee Co-chairman David Baum. Yet, he has become a master choreographer directing automobiles to their assigned positions on the oak-covered tract. For more than a dozen years, Iowa’s premier display of rolling sculpture has amassed at this unlikely venue off Tonawanda Drive in a secluded neighborhood of stately Tudors.
The Salisbury Concours d’Elegance is a celebration of fine art, creative design and excellent craftsmanship. Indeed, unlike a local cruise night, potential exhibitors are invited to submit applications in advance. Only the finest example of any marque will be selected, and preference will be shown to those that best represent the types of vehicles once driven by Carl Weeks.
Born the son of a hog farmer in 1876, Weeks had dropped out of public school at age 13 and enrolled in Des Moines University’s Highland Park College of Pharmacy. By 1923, he had launched the wildly successful Armand line of cosmetics and married Edith Van Slyke.
With a family of four children in a tiny bungalow, the couple assembled an army of architects and craftsmen to build a 28,000-square-foot Fifteenth-Century English Tudor mansion upon the urban hilltop. Five years later, nearly 10,000 works of fine art and tapestries adorned the walls; rare books and antique furnishings filled 42 rooms. The Weeks’s garage stabled prestigious convertibles and cabriolets purchased from the local Cadillac and Packard dealerships.
Although the Weeks family has long since moved on, the historic Salisbury House and Gardens are still stocked with their magnificent collections. In the garage rest a green 1929 Packard Model 626 sedan; a tan 1932 Cadillac 335b Dual Cowl Sport Phaeton; and a red 1933 Packard Super Eight 1004 Model 656 Club Sedan.
These treasures, and more, have been gifted to a foundation dedicated to their preservation. Visitors who attend the Salisbury Concours d’Elegance will have access to the home as part of their ticket price, and proceeds will benefit the educational programs and restoration work of the Salisbury House Foundation.
Applicants whose automobiles are selected for this year’s event will enjoy the same privileges as ticket holders, but will pay no entry fee; they will be honored guests. Cars accepted for this Concours d’Elegance are not ‘judged’ in the traditional manner. Perfection of restoration takes a respected back seat to artistic grace and beauty.
For example, at last year’s event, the Salisbury fleet was joined by a freshly renewed yellow 1928 Packard 526 Sedan. According to a team of blue-blazored judges, it ranked best among the twenty-two Packards on the grounds. Its owner took home a beautiful crystal memento.
“My dad bought this one at an auction in 1971,” said a fellow of his 1928 Cunningham V5 Dual Cowl Phaeton. A group of car buffs had gathered around the Cunningham trying to figure out how its massive tires could be changed. Most modern tire shops are not equipped to loosen its clincher rims. “If handled improperly, the rims can spring open and take a man’s head off,” said an attendee from Cedar Rapids.
Suddenly, an uneven staccato began popping from within the courtyard. A 1910 Maytag Mason had come to life. A crowd instantly gathered. On the south driveway, one exhibiter allowed a little boy to slide behind the wheel of his yellow Ferrari F430 F1. “Oh, wow!” exclaimed the boy’s father as he snapped a photo. “He will remember this day for the rest of his life! Thank you so much.”
Dozens of similarly precious moments will occur this year for you, and nearly 2,000 visitors. And then, at five o’clock, the last bus will depart, taking the last of the visitors away. The music will end. Exhibitors will gather for a light meal, perhaps poultry and vegetables on the terrace.
Prestigious awards will be distributed in each of several judged classes. Backs will be patted. Wine and chocolate strawberries will be consumed. Soon after, lawn chairs will be packed into cavernous automobile trunks. A hundred engines will growl and the estate will empty of motorcycles, sedans, coupes, convertibles, landaulets and phaetons.
Forgotten Fiberglass will be forgotten, no more.
Inside the mansion, a few committee members will linger to plan the 2013 itinerary. Outside, the Whitetail doe will return to her acorns. And raccoons will clean the lawn of stray popcorn.
SUBMIT YOUR APPLICATION TODAY.
The Forgotten Fiberglass class is tentatively set at twelve vehicles. The committee is seeking the finest examples of Kaiser Darrin, Glasspar, Woodill Wildfire and other early fiberglass-bodied automobiles. To apply, visit www.SalisburyConcours.com and click on ‘APPLICATION’ near the top of the page.
For questions about Salisbury House & Gardens, please contact Katie Wengert, Salisbury House & Gardens, 4025 Tonawanda Drive, Des Moines, Iowa 50312. Phone 515-274-1777.
No doubt, Bob Cunningham has written the most poetic article ever featured on our website. I can’t wait to go to Salisbury this year – if just to spot that trio of plump raccoons! 😉
The team at Forgotten Fiberglass is honored to join such a prestigious event as the Salisbury Concours d’ Elegance and is excited to be part of a tradition in the making. I encourage those of you who would like to participate and attend to submit your application today following Bob’s instructions above.
Hope you enjoyed the story, see you at Salisbury, and until next time…
Glass on gang…
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~ good report, Bob. i grew up in DesMoines and went to school with the grand daughter of Carl Weeks. been to the Salsbury Mansion many times. i hope everyone who can will attend this great event and i look forward to meeting you all there. thanks, scot
What an exciting venue! I look forward to learning more, and seeing whose Forgotten Fiberglass creations will be remembered.