For enthusiasts, cars have a way of bridging continents, ages and genders, and last Sunday’s seventh annual Art of the Car Concours made that clear.
By TOM STRONGMAN
The event, founded and directed by Kansas City attorney Marshall V. Miller, featured 200 cars, motorcycles and pedal cars plus special guests Sir Stirling Moss and his wife Susie from London, and renowned Kansas-born racer and automotive journalist Denise McCluggage. The concours is a benefit for the scholarship fund of the Kansas City Art Institute.
The weekend began with an appearance by Moss and McCluggage at the Kansas Speedway on June 21. On June 22, they shared anecdotes of their racing history with an audience of more than 350 people in the Meet the Legends panel discussion at Pierson Auditorium on the University of Missouri Kansas City campus. They also recalled the racing history and paid tribute to Kansas City’s Masten Gregory who was a peer. Gregory died in 1985 at the age of 53. His brother, Riddelle, from Blue Springs, added stories of his own.
One of Gregory’s most notable victories was the 1965 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the car he drove, a Ferrari 250 LM now owned by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame Museum, was at the concours. Gregory’s win happened 48 years ago to the day.
The Legends’ crowd witnessed a delightful repartee as Moss and McCluggage painted a picture of sports car racing in the 1950s and 1960s. Moss, often considered the best racing driver never to be crowned Formula One World Champion, raced 107 different types of cars in nearly every class of auto racing. He was the Formula One runner-up for four years, but he retired after a near-fatal accident in 1962.
McCluggage, born in El Dorado, Kan., went to Mills College in Oakland, Calif., covered racing for the New York Herald Tribune and began racing sports cars in the 1950s. She was instrumental in forming Competition Press that later became AutoWeek.
The eclectic gathering of nearly 200 vehicles on the show field ranged from a 1903 St. Louis to a 1957 Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France owned by Fred Fischer of St. Louis.
Other memorable cars included the 1929 4.5-liter Bentley Open Tourer of Roger Morrison from Salina, the 1950 Diedt originally owned by Eddie “Rochester” Anderson of the Jack Benny Show, a 1921 Sunbeam owned by Whitney Kerr, a 1960 Tipo 61 Birdcage Maserati once raced by Stirling Moss and Steve Hobbs’ 1934 Morgan Three-Wheeler from Darien, Conn. His Morgan was Moss’ first road car.
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