PAPA gets Arizona Concours update at the Martin Museum

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Posted 23 Feb 2015 in Scrap Book

unnamed (6)By Nicole James

The February meeting of the Phoenix Automotive Press Association was held at the Martin Auto Museum, where the members explored the museum’s collection of cars, ate dinner and received updates on the recent Arizona Concours d’Elegance, as well as a talk by museum founder Mel Martin.

The evenings festivities included a catered dinner and a recap of the PAPA award given at this year’s Arizona Concours d’Elegance held at the Arizona Biltmore as well as the privilege of hearing from Kevin Cornish, one of the key founding members to establish the Arizona Concours d’Elegance, and Mel Martin, the owner of the museum.

Larry Edsall broke the ice by sharing details of the inaugural PAPA Award given to the car at the concours judged to have the best story.

PAPA member and concours public relations director pre-selected nine cars for consideration. Three teams of PAPA members interviewed the car owners and, after long deliberation, the trophy was presented to a 1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona owned by Todd and Stan Reeg.

When Stan was a youth, he had a paper route in Iowa and heard the car as its owner, a dermatologist, drove to work each day. The doctor had taken delivery of the car in Italy, drove it in Europe for three weeks and then shipped it home to Iowa. He went back to Europe several years later, shipping the car back and forth on the Queen Elizabeth II. Eventually, Stan Reed bought the car of his childhood desire and now shares it with his son, Todd.

unnamed (7)One of the concours founders, Kevin Cornish, spoke to members next about the success and future plans of the event.

He said his secret to a good concours is establishing credibility early on, with  the ultimate goal for the Arizona Concours to be considered in the same breath as Pebble Beach and Amelia Island.

Part of organizing the event was interviewing those who had played significant roles in the production of other concours all over the country, to discover what did and did not work. One of the things Cornish learned was the importance of location. In Arizona, the classic cars are displayed on the grounds of the Arizona Biltmore, which provides a  luxurious atmosphere and underscores that the event is exclusive, but not unattainable.

Another factor that contributed to the success of the concours is the quality of its judges. John Carlson is the chief judge and recruits other judges, several of how also grade the cars at Pebble Beach and Amelia Island.

Cornish told members that in 2016 the featured classes will be cars bodied by Zagato as well as Duesenbergs. The 2016 Concours will be held January 24.

unnamed (8)Martin, the owner of the Martin Auto Museum. said he sees more exposure for the museum and the classic car hobby. The museum is located along the I-17 freeway on the west side of Phoenix, but on weekends still only draws a few hundred people through its doors.

Martin said particularly enjoys showing the collection to military veterans and to school children from around Arizona.

Martin recently added seven cars to the collection, including a 1977 Lincoln with only 450 miles on its odometer. The museum also houses an historic Duesenberrg and a Shelby Cobra that has been driven only 6 miles.

The museum also has its own carousel. When asked why he has it, Martin told a heartwarming story about how he grew up in Cedar Rapids and used to ride the local carousel with his friends, at least until they became rowdy and were banned from the ride.  all around the age of 13. The young boys got rowdy and Mel found himself tossed off the carrousel.

“Just watch,”Martin said, “one day I’m going to own one of those!”