It's 30 Under 30 class should be a roadmap for Pebble and other events.
You might not think of the Newport, Rhode Island area as a car collection and enthusiast haven, but it has been for more than 100 years. The first American automobile race took place there in 1900, now known as the Vanderbilt Cup. "Willie K. Vanderbilt and some of his closest friends traveled to the nearby horse track to race their newly imported automobiles. Little did they realize the impact the Vanderbilt Cup would have on American racing culture," explains the Concours' history page.
Racing continued in the area until the late '60s, but it wasn't until 2014 that the Audrain Automobile Museum was established, and the first Audrain Newport Concours & Motor Week happened five years later. This year, the second annual event after last year's Covid cancellation will again feature the 30 Under 30 class, a competition for builders under 30 years old that spent less than $30,000 on their project.
In 2019 the class was won by Carter Kramer's 1976 BMW 2002, which is a bit more interesting than your average BMW M3 sedan.
The class was envisioned by comedian and dyed-in-the-wool car guy Jay Leno, who's also the Honorary Chairman of the Motor Week. It's the first of its kind in the world. When you think about Pebble Beach, you're probably imagining multimillion-dollar exotics and classics with millionaire benefactors, and you'd be right.
But according to the Audrain team, it "recognizes the importance of involving the younger community of car lovers into the Concours & Motor Week events, acknowledging that a huge piece of keeping the passion for automotive preservation alive is by allowing in and nurturing that love with the younger generations."
The concours wants to improve the inclusivity of the collecting and restoring world, to show that you don't need millions to enjoy the hobby. According to the Concours the class has been very well received and it has already grown to two classes.
Audrain CEO Donald Osborne told us that this year the class will range from a 1922 Franklin to a 1991 BMW 325ic. We're also expecting to see a 1986 Porsche 944, a 1967 MG B GT and a 1941 Graham Hollywood, a car that used the dies from the famous Cord 810/812.
Like the rest of the Concours, these cars will either be rebuilt or remodeled, or restored to stock condition. The youngest entrant to have brought a car was just 20 years old.
We also asked about how the class proves it spent less than $30,000, when many of these restorations spread into the six- and even seven-figure range. Osborne told us that they review the description at entry, and that they also use photographs and the market experience of its team.
The 30 Under 30 class will join 21 other classes, all vying for the Audrain best-in-class trophy, which is styled after Vanderbilt's car. The Audrain Concours d'Elegance takes place September 30 to October 3 with the Under 30 class landing on the final day of Motor Week, October 3, 2021 at 8.30 am on the lawn of The Breakers Mansion in Newport, Rhode Island. Tickets for this event and others can be purchased online.