Dan Engel looked longingly at the the 1964 Thunderbird, a black convertible with red leather upholstery, as shiny as new.
He has three cars of his own, including a 2012 Lexus, but “I would trade any of them for that.”
Engel, 70, of Overland Park, said he was born a car buff.
And that’s why he came out to the Kansas City Art Institute Sunday morning for its ninth annual Art of the Car Concours.
“I never miss this one,” Engel said. “There are cars here you’ll never see anywhere else.”
Altogether, the event features 210 vehicles, Concours founder and chairman Marshall Miller said, of “every kind and variety” from museums and private collections across the nation. This year’s focus was concept cars from major manufacturers.
Over the years, the Concours has raised nearly $1 million for Art Institute scholarships, Miller said.
Spread out over the institute campus were race cars, sports cars, sedans and hot rods. There were super cars designed to run at 200 miles per hour and others with more modest expectations like the Citroën 2CV, which stands for “deux chevaux.” Translated, that’s two horses.
There was a ‘56 Chevrolet Bel Air hardtop in its classic aquamarine and white and a red ‘60 Cadillac with fins like a shark.
A theme of the Concours this year was mid-century vehicles. At one end of the campus, people lined up to enter the cab of a 1950 GM Futurliner, part of a fleet of mammoth futuristic buses that traveled the country with displays of the industrial and consumer technologies that were remaking America.
Seven-year-old Madison Boyle of Lenexa was at the Concours with her 11-year-old brother, Anthony, and parents Ryan and Sherri. She enjoyed the wide-open view from up high in the bus cab. She mischievously said she’d like the opportunity to drive it herself “because I want to run everyone over.”