ST. JOSEPH, Mich. — Now in its eighth year, the concours at the Krasl Art Center in this old port city on Lake Michigan has come of age.
The former Krasl Art Center Concours in 2012 wears the title Concours d’Elegance of Southwest Michigan.
And why not? Its hard-working organizers and patrons worked diligently to assemble some 80 special cars, plus antique bicycles and unusual motorcycles. Even the GMC Futurliner, which once took GM’s finest ideas around the country to auto shows, was up from its museum home in Auburn, Ind., to add to the celebration.
In fact, Indiana was a theme for the 2012 event, and vehicles built in the Hoosier State like Cord and Auburn plus those owned by Hoosiers like Hudson collector Eldon Hostetler of Middlebury were honored.
David and Kathryn Hans’ 1954 Arnolt-Bristol Bolide Roadster was powered by a British Bristol engine under an Italian Bertone body. But it was a Chicago dealer with a racing department in Warsaw, Ind. who brought some Arnolt-Bristols to the States over half a century ago, David Hans said.
And Hans, of Barrington, Ill., did business with a company in Warsaw (Ind.) back in 1970 shortly after he bought the unusual two-seater from a used-car dealer in Illinois and needed spare parts for its restoration.
“Only 142 of these cars were made,” said Hans, who owns other unique vehicles. His Arnolt-Bristol has special knock-off wheels, a steel body and aluminum hood, deck, trunk and door skins, he said.
Shawn Brozovich of Farmington Hills, Mich. was showing his 1940 Dodge VD-15 Long-bed pickup. When Brozovich, an auto body professional, purchased the truck, the front end of mashed. His painstaking restoration included pressing out and making perfect a Dodge nameplate with raised letters on the nose of the bright-red work truck. The truck had but one windshield wiper on the driver’s side and a small metal-bladed fan on the dash to keep the windshield clear.
The 1932 Buick 97 owned and driven by John Welby and David Bothamly of Oxford, Mich. was designed and built (in Flint, Mich.) primarily for taking patrons to the theater, according to Welby.
“The 90 series was top-of-the-line for Buick,” he said. “There are only five of these 97 series left. Ours has opera lights, bud vases, shades for the rear windows.
“The lower front fog lights turn with the steering wheel,” said Welby, who with Bothamly has owned the Buick for about 15 years. The suspension can be adjusted for various road surfaces by means of a dial to the left of the steering column. And it really works, he added.
The 1909 Economy G Surrey Model 6 was built in Joliet, Ill. between 1909 and 1911, according to information posted by its owners and restorers Brady and Emily Mann of Roanoke, Ill.
The Manns said the car, which can be converted from a passenger car to a pickup, was purchased by Henry Brown of Secor, ill. at the factory for $950. It has always been in the family.