Through the years, automotive designers have created concept or dream cars that were essentially three-dimensional renderings of vehicles and concepts of what the future may hold. Some were whimsical and some were lightly disguised versions of future production cars, but all have an interesting story.
The ninth annual Art of the Car Concours will feature 18 mid-century concept/dream cars as part of the display of 200 classic cars, pedal cars, trucks, motorcycles and special-interest vehicles that will be shown from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 28 at the Kansas City Art Institute. General admission is $20 and children under 16 are free. For online purchases or other ticket information, check the artofthecarconcours.com website.
Vehicles from 15 states will grace the institute grounds at 4415 Warwick Blvd., Kansas City. The fact that there are no vehicle classes or formal judging makes Art of the Car unique among major national concours. The event, founded by Marshall V. Miller and operated by a huge cast of volunteers, is a benefit for KCAI’s scholarship fund. Last year’s donation was $185,000.
Some of the more interesting vehicles are:
▪ In the 1940s, General Motors created 12 huge Futurliner buses for the company’s Parade of Progress tours. Bus No. 10 that has been inducted into the National Historic Register will be on the show field.
▪ New Jersey collector Ralph Marano is bringing four Packard concept cars. One of the most notable is the two-seat Panther, designed in response to the Ford Thunderbird and Chevrolet Corvette.
▪ The rear-engine Aerovette concept, with gull-wing doors and a 400-cubic-inch Corvette V-8 tucked under its sleek tail, was originally slated for production in 1980 but was cancelled at the last minute. The GM Heritage Center is sending three other vehicles, and Buick will display the 2016 Cascada convertible.
▪ The 1960 Pinin Farina X car, currently owned by Mark Hyman of St. Louis, reflects an attempt at streamlining that was more like an airplane than a car. It has one wheel in front and one in the rear, with two on the side for stability.
▪ The Ghia Ford Brezza was one of the first cars completely designed by a woman, Marilena Corvasce. Ghia is an Italian coachbuilder, and the car never did see production. Other Ford concept cars include the Probe 1, the Ghia Barchetta and the Ghia MiniMax.
▪ Peter Mullin’s 1937 Delahaye 145 V-12 Grand Prix car is known as the “Le Million” because it won a million-franc prize for beating the time of the fastest French Grand Prix in September, 1937. This car beat the German Mercedes-Benz and Audi teams in the first Grand Prix of 1938.
▪ The Chrysler Turbine car, one of two still running, from the Museum of Transportation in St. Louis, will also be on hand.
A few select show cars will be parked in front of Tivol Jewelers on the Plaza from 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, June 27.
A Meet the Legends panel discussion will be held at 1 p.m. June 27 in Epperson Auditorium at the Kansas City Art Institute. Wayne Carini of the Velocity Channel’s “Chasing Classic Cars” will be joined by collector Ralph Marano and Howard Sullivan, a member of the team that restored the Futurliner. The moderator is noted historian Michael T. Lynch. Admission is $25, and tickets are available at artofthecarconcours.com.
Hagerty Insurance is sponsoring a youth judging for kids 16 and under. Space is limited. Applications are available at artofthecarconcours.com.