Events,  Throwback

Throwback: Louisville Concours d’Elegance 2010 & 2011

The Derby is depraved, the Concours was decadent

I attended the 2010 through 2012 editions of the Louisville Concours d’Elegance, thanks to living near the buses which led to the pearly gates and twin spires of Churchill Downs. Never had I witnessed such stunning machines in one setting until then.

What follows are a few favorites from the 2010 and 2011 editions; alas, I lost the photos from 2012.

1983 Wildcat MK9B

It’s not often you have icons from the two bookends of May together, but the Louisville Concours made it happen in 2011 with a trio of IndyCars on the infield of Churchill Downs, including this Patrick Racing Wildcat MK9B briefly campaigned by legend Gordon Johncock.

Back when it was active, the classic STP-liveried machine gave Johncock a win at Atlanta Motor Speedway during the 1983 CART season. The duo would also finish 14th at that season’s Indianapolis 500, while teammate and future team owner Chip Ganassi took eighth, his best finish at Indy as a driver.

The Wildcat, now part of Chip Ganassi Racing’s collection, currently resides with 11 other CGR rides at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles until the end of January 2021.

Bricklin SV-1

Who says you couldn’t have plenty of safety in a sports car? In the mid-Seventies, American entrepreneur Malcolm Bricklin went to Canada to build his gullwinged wonder, the Bricklin SV-1.

The goal was to build a safe car with tons of zazz. Thus, the nose featured an energy-absorbing bumper which, though a bit silly, fit the car better than the railroad ties more mainstream rides had back then. An integrated roll-over structure, meanwhile, kept your neck in check, and the whole thing could be had in five colors, including Safety Suntan (an ironic name), Safety Orange, and this Safety Red example.

Alas, Bricklin’s vision fizzled by the end of 1975, another company finishing off the last of the 3,000 cars on the line the following year. Just over 1,800 exist as of 2020, most residing in the United States.

Tesla Roadster

Before Tesla became synonymous with the shenanigans of co-founder Elon Musk, it was just a California automotive company looking to disrupt the traditional automotive industry. What better way to do so than with a re-bodied Lotus Elise?

Thus was born the Tesla Roadster, an electric car whose styling was neither awkward or dull to prove its green credentials. Instead of the Elise’s Toyota-sourced inline-four, a 248- to 288-horsepower electric motor moved the car to 60 mph in 3.9 to 3.7 seconds, all through a single-speed fixed-gear BorgWarner transmission.

While one of these Roadsters soars through space today, most of the 2,450 built are still on the road. A second-gen Roadster is supposed to debut in 2020, though no Lotus bodies will be used this time around.

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