What is Concours d’Elegance

car show

Concours d’Elegance (contest of elegance) is an event where prestigous vehicles are displayed and judged. Today, most events are for motor cars, but the hobby has its roots in 17th century Paris where aristrocrats showed off their illustrous horse-drawn carriages.

The vehicles that compete in modern concours d’elegance events are usually driven very little, since there is an effort to preserve the vehile in its original condition. They are often transported in a trailer to the site of the event, spending the rest of their time staying put in a museum or with a private collector. After being driven the short distance from the trailer to the show spot, the vehicle will be meticolously cleaned. It is for instance common to wipe away all traces of mudd, dirt and pebbles from the tires.

Concourse d’Elegance events are often arranged at automobile shows or in connection to car racing competitions.


At a concours d’elegance event, specially trained judges will inspect the vehicles very thoroughly and rate each individual component. Only vehicles that are judged to be very close to perfection are eligable for trophy class.

It is common for vehicles at concours d’elegance events to actually be in better shape then when they originally left the factory, although without being altered in a way that is deemed to deviate to much from the original configuration. For classic cars, using components that are suitable for the year and model of the vehicle is very important.

Some contests will allow after-market equipment and accessories if they are of the correct period.


In 17th century Paris, aristocrats would parade their luxorious horse-drawn carriages through the parks in the summertime. From this, the modern concours d’Elegance developed.

The oldest recurring concourse d’elegance that is still held every year is the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este in Cernobbio in Italy’s Lago di Como district. This event can trace its roots back to 1929, although it has skipped some years.

Examples of well known events

Month Event Location
February Boca Raton Concours d’Elegance Boca Raton, Florida, USA
March Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance Amelia Island, Florida, USA
April Concours d’Elegance of Texas Montgomery, TX, USA
May Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este Lake Como, Italy
June Concours d’Elegance at Hershey Hershey, PA, USA
July Masterpieces & Style Dyck Castle, Germany
August Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance California, US
August Concours d’Elegance “Zurich Classic Car Award” Zurich, Switzerland
September Salon Privé Oxfordshire, UK
September CBA Africa Concours d’Elegance Nairobi, Kenya
September Dayton Concours d’Elegance Dayton, OH, USA
October Zoute Concours d’Elegance Knokke-Heist, Belgium