Ken Gross

Ken  Gross
Author, Historian, Curator and Concours Judge

Ken Gross and our 1947 Kurtis-Omohundro Comet


Formerly Executive Director of the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, Ken Gross has been Guest Curator for fourteen highly-acclaimed exhibitions of extraordinary automobiles and motorcycles in fine art museums, including: “The Allure of the Automobile,” High Museum of Art, Atlanta (2010) and the Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR, (2011); “Speed: The Art of the Performance Automobile,” Utah Museum of Fine Arts, in Salt Lake City (2012) “Sensuous Steel: Art-Deco Automobiles” at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville (2013); “Porsche By Design: Seducing Speed,” at the North Carolina Museum of Art (2013); “Dream Cars: Innovative Design, Visionary Ideas,” (2014) at the High Museum of Art in Atlanta and the Indianapolis Museum of Art (2015), and “Sculpted in Steel,” at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston (2016).

Ken curated “Bellisima! The Italian Automotive Renaissance, 1946-to-1975,” for the Frist Museum in Nashville in mid-2016, and presented “Rolling Sculpture” at the North Carolina Museum of Art in Raleigh, NC, in 2017. He curated a 2018 exhibition of Streamlined Moderne automobiles for the Portland Art Museum in Portland, OR, which was followed by “Drive! Iconic American Cars and Motorcycles,” held at the Taubman Museum of Art, in Roanoke, VA (2018). Ken’s exhibitions of fine cars in fine art museums have attracted over 1 million visitors. He was the Co-Curator for “Viva Viclas!,” an exhibit of Lowrider Motorcycles at the Contemporary Art Museum in Raleigh, NC (2020-2021). He developed the opening exhibitions for the new Savoy Automobile Museum, in Cartersville, GA, which opened in December 2021. His latest exhibition, “Rolling Sculpture” opened in January 2023 at the Vero Beach Museum of Art.

Along with exhibition catalogs, Ken’s 25 automotive books include “Ferrari 275 GTB,” “Vintage Cars,” “Hot Rods and Custom Cars: Los Angeles and The Dry Lakes;” “So-Cal Coupe,” “Art of the Hot Rod,” “Milestone Hot Rods,” “The Illustrated BMW Buyer’s Guide,” and “Ferrari 250GT SWB.” Ken co-wrote “Rockin’ Garages” in 2013, with Tom Cotter. He’s also the author of “Behind the Headlights,” an acclaimed SPEED/TV educational series. Recent books include “Iconic: Art Design, Advertising and the Automobile,” published in December 2016, and “RVM Classics,” a privately released volume in 2018 on the historic hot rod collection of Richard Munz. His newest books include “Concours d’Elegance,” and “The Lane Motor Museum, a Hobby Gone Wild.” “Deuce!,” a new book on the 1932 Ford hot rod collection of Bruce Meyer, was released in 2021.

A member of ICJAG, the International Chief Judge Advisory Group, Ken has been a Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Chief Class Judge for 31 years. He serves on the Pebble Beach Selection Committee. He is the Chief Judge for the Greenwich (CT) Concours d’Elegance. Ken has judged at Amelia Island, Cavallino, St. Michaels, Boca Raton, Radnor Hunt, Keels and Wheels, The Elegance at Hershey, Pinehurst, Forest Grove, Kiawah Island, The Greenbrier, the Concours of America at St. Johns, Hilton Head Island, and the Concours on Rodeo Drive.  He has judged overseas at Zoute Grand Prix Concours, Knokke-Heist, Belgium; the Ferrari 70 Concours in Modena, Italy; the Concours Suisse in Coppet, Switzerland, and the 21-Gun Salute Concours d’Elegance in Delhi, India.

Ken has received the Automotive Hall of Fame Distinguished Service Citation, the Lorin Tryon Trophy at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the Ken Purdy award from the International Motor Press Association, the Dean Bachelor Lifetime Achievement Award, from the Motor Press Guild in Los Angeles, the Lee Iacocca Award, the Pinnacle Award at the Hilton Head Concours d’Elegance, the Nicolas Cugnot Award from the Antique Automobile Club of America, and the IAMA Lifetime Achievement Award. He is the Concours Director for the Chattanooga MotorCar Festival and he serves on the Advisory Boards of the American Hot Rod Foundation and T.R.O.G. (The Race of Gentlemen).

His publications include: Collier AutoMedia, Road & Track, AutoWeek,, Playboy, The Robb Report,, American Car Collector, Porsche 356 Registry, Automobile Magazine, Hagerty’s Magazine, Sports Car Market, Forbes, Modern Rodding,  Motor Trend Classic, The Rodder’s Journal, Street Rodder Magazine, Hot Rod Magazine, Hot Rod DeLuxe, Bimmer,, Magneto, WM Brown, and Old Cars Weekly. Ken has been a North American Car of the Year juror (NACTOY) since the award’s inception, and he’s judged the International Engine of the Year.

An admitted “Italophile,” Ken has owned four Ducati’s, two Ferraris and a Lamborghini. He presently owns an award-winning ’32 Ford highboy roadster, a ’39 Ford convertible coupe (with a Chrysler Hemi V-8) a ’40 Ford DeLuxe coupe, a ‘61 Porsche 356B T5 Super 90 coupe and a ’73 Ducati 750GT motorcycle.

Ken lives in Hamilton, VA with his wife, Trish Serratore, Vice-President of ASE, (The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence). He has four children: Jake, 27, a 2017 graduate of James Madison University, and Kayla, 26, a 2018 graduate of Liberty University. Ken’s son Christopher, 55, is the lead singer for the acclaimed rock group “Spin Doctors;” he lives in New York City. His son Jeremy, 53, is a computer scientist, in Wenham, MA.

Ken  Gross  Interview
Listening Time: 36 Minutes
Cars Yeah!  September 9, 2015

Personality Profile
Hemmings Classic Car: December, 2013

Articles  Authored  About  Undiscovered  Classic  Cars

Those Marvelous Mercury Lead Sleds
Author: Ken Gross
Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Program: August, 2015

1955 Glass Wonder Show Car
Breaking the Mold
John Dragich Special (3 made)

Author: Ken Gross
American Car Collector: July-August, 2014

Glass Act: Woodill Wildfire
Author: Ken Gross
Motor Trend Classic: Summer, 2014

Land  Bound  Pegasus:  1952  Maverick  Sportster
Author: Ken Gross
Motor Trend Classic: Fall, 2013

The Comet’s Tale:
The 1947 Kurtis-Omhundro Comet

Author: Ken Gross
Motor Trend Classic: Spring, 2013

Norman  Timbs  Roadster:  A  Seamless  Restoration
Author: Ken Gross
Octane Magazine: January, 2013

1952 Astra Coupe
Entry-Level Price For A Trend Setter
Ken Gross – American Car Collector: November/December, 2012

1950 Templeton Saturn: Feature Article
Running Rings Around All Others
Author: Ken Gross
Motor Trend Classic: Winter, 2012

Affordable Style:
The Short, Sweet Life of the American Sport Custom
Author: Ken Gross
Pebble Beach Concours Program: August, 2012

1949 Norman Timbs Special: Feature Article
Author: Ken Gross
Motor Trend Classic: Spring, 2010

1948  Norman  Timbs  Special
Author: Ken Gross
The Rodder’s Journal #48, 2010

Taildraggers:  On  the  Lawn  at  Pebble  Beach
Author: Ken Gross
Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Program: August, 2005

Books  Authored

Art of the Hot Rod (2012)
By Ken Gross and Peter Harholdt

The Allure of the Automobile (2010)
By Robert Labaco and Ken Gross

Hot Rod Milestones (2005)
Ken Gross and Robert Genat

Illustrated BMW Buyer’s Guide (1994)
By Ken Gross