Audrain Motor Week: The ingredients for a perfect event.

  • 14 October 2019
  • 5 min read
  • 10 images
Audrain Motor Week: The ingredients for a perfect event. image

The Classic Car Trust was present at the first edition of the Audrain Concours & Motor Week in Newport, Rhode Island. With a young and modern approach and a blend of new original ideas, Audrain Motor Week plans to become a new reference point for this type of event.

History, Luxury, Sport. The core values of the lifestyle of Newport. The values that inspired the vision of Nicholas Schorsch to create an elegant, prestigious and international Motor Week on the American East Coast. A self-made businessman, philanthropist and respected collector of classic cars, he created an event that would encompass a Concours of Elegance, Seminars, Car Exhibitions and more. In short, a Motor Week in the style of that of Monterey, in the rich and elegant Newport, the place where motor racing was born in America in the late 800s. Together with him, Jay Leno and Donald Osborne, famous TV stars beloved throughout the country, were called on board as chairmen of the event. Thanks to their support, knowledge, and prestige in the community, the car week has certainly had extra gear since its very first edition.

Donald Osborne and Jay Leno, the two minds behind the Audrain Motor Week and Concours. A very successful combo!

Jay Leno and famous model Emily Ratajkowski unveiling the special Bugatti Chiron built for organizer of the event Nicholas Schorsch.

Key elements of Motor Week are certainly the locations of great historical value. Newport, Rhode Island, is famous worldwide for being the exclusive vacation spot for wealthy American families from the East Coast. A city that holds among the oldest and most prestigious mansions in America. It is also famous for having been the summer residence of the Vanderbilt Family, the richest family in the US back in time. They counted among them Willie K. Vanderbiilt, one of the the initiators of car racing in the United States at the end of the 19th century. Newport oozes car history from every pore. The Concorso d’Eleganza of the Audrain Motor Week took place at the Brakers Mansion, the summer cottage of the Vanderbilt family. The 200-room mansion, built at the end of the 19th century, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean, was the perfect location for the Concours d’Elegance, which attracted world-class collectors such as Joseph Cassini, Miles Collier, Lawrence Auriana, Peter Mulling (all part of the Top 100 Ranking of the Key). The Best of Show car, an Isotta Fraschini 8S Fleetwod that was once owned by Rodolfo Valentino, was definitely the car that best represented the values of History, Luxury and Sport.

The splendid settings of the Audrain Motor Week: elegant, timeless, luxurious. In the slideshow, the Best of Show Isotta Fraschini 8A Fleetwood owned by Collector Cassini. The car that reflects Newport’s lifestyle at best.

At the Concours of Elegance, to attract and encourage a younger audience and “next – generation” participants, the organizers created a “30 under 30 class”, designed for collectors under thirty years of age who have not spent more than $30,000 on their car project. This has been developed to encourage young people to get enthusiastic about the hobby of collecting classic cars and restoration. By having this officially judged class, it is their goal to foster growth within the collector hobby, by showing young people that collecting and restoring is not just for the wealthy, and isn’t limited to cars worth millions of dollars.

The “30 under 30 class”, which attracted incredible attention over the weekend, being the first time ever an official concours accept such cars at an event.

The happy winner of the “30 under 30 class” with his orange, freshly restored BMW 2002. The next generation is coming!

As Jay Leno said repeatedly, the world of classic cars is often inaccessible to most for the exorbitant cost of owning collectible cars. This is the first time an international Concourse d’Elegance allows Youngtimers to enter the field, a choice appreciated by the public of the event. Definitely a step forward for Concourses to attract the next generation in participating actively in such events. A key aspect of the whole event was to make it accessible to everyone, not just the elite. For this reason, a great portion of the activities of the Motor Week was deliberately affordable or free, such as the children’s pedal car race sponsored by Hagerty, or the passage of the Tour d’ Elegance of entries from the Concours in the city of Newport. For this reason it was fully accepted and supported by Newport’s residents. The number of volunteers that helped in the realization of the show was really impressive.

To attract a younger audience, on Friday night, the organizers called on world-class music star John Legend to play in Newport’s Tennis Hall of Fame at the Village. A highlight of the whole week and a great idea to make these events more lively and dynamic.

What’s better than Grammy-Oscar awards winner John Legend playing a special live concert for the Audrain Motor Week guests?

Moments from the Audrain Motor Week: the cars driving on the Tour, the Kids’ Pedal Race, the people of Newport come to see the cars of the Tour in the centre. An event open to all.

The Audrain Concours & Motor Week is also a cultural hub for the exchange of ideas and opinions on car-related topics. Several seminars were organized throughout the week. one that impressed a lot was the one concerning the impact that car design had on the public. Moderated by Jay Leno and Donald Osborne, the guests included the likes of Michael Simcoe, General Motors Vice President of Global Design, Stewart Reed, chair of the Transportation Design Department at the ArtCenter College of Design, and Pixar's Jay Ward, who shared his insights from the creation of Cars animation movie. A llively conversation on the topic and an active question and answer session touched on many important points of the future of the car.

The idea of the Motor Week is to also offer the opportunity to visit unique and exclusive exhibitions inside the Audrain Automobile Museum, an institution founded by Nicholas Schorsch five years ago. For the occasion of the Motor Week, Donald Osborne has co-curated an exhibition with museum Executive Director David de Muzio dedicated to the greatest concept cars built by GM group, for the first time shown outside of the GM Heritage Collection facility.

The exhibition featured twelve GM influential concept cars that impacted American Automotive design. Highlights were the revolutionary 1938 Buick Y-Job, widely considered to be one of the first concept cars and the 1973 Corvette Aerovette, a concept to showcase GM’s newly developed technologies. Together with the cars, original drawings, scale models and exclusive material from the GM archives were on display.

The GM Firebird III, the incredible jet-inspired concept car that looks much more like an airplane than a car!\_5616.jpg

Jay Leno moderates the seminar on “how car design impacted the public”. The discussion spans over various topics, such as how design will change with the electrification of mobility.

The Audrain Concours & Motor Week is a truly unique event.

The organizers have understood that to be far-sighted you have to be different and know how to stand out. Concourses all over the world have more or less similar formats and, apart from prestigious locations and special cars, they struggle in offering a new and intriguing experience, especially to the younger generation. The Audrain Concours & Motor Week, on the other hand, with its unique mix of rock star concerts, seminars, exclusive locations of great historical prestige, concours classes for young collectors, famous personalities as organizers, openness to a wider audience and a very inclusive approach, is set to become a new worldwide reference point for passionate lovers of the Automobile.

Photo courtesy by Audrain Concours