Crescent Beach Concours d'Elegance chair Brad Pelling poses with a 1932 Auburn that will be part of the Sept. 5 event at Blackie Spit Park. Featuring vintage automobiles and motorcycles

‘World-class’ South Surrey event driven by passion

The Crescent Beach Concours d'Elegance, set for Sept. 5, 'isn't just another car show,' organizers say.

South Surrey’s Kirk Stevenson owns dozens of vintage cars, but when it comes to naming a favourite, he doesn’t hesitate – his 1932 Auburn Boattail.

“It is so esthetically attractive and so nice to drive,” Stevenson said Friday, during a chat at the Crescent Beach home of Brad Pelling, the driving force behind the upcoming Concours d’Elegance.

Set for Sept. 5 at Blackie Spit Park, the Concours will showcase one of Stevenson’s Auburns – though not the Boattail – among about 90 collector automobiles and motorcycles from across the west coast of Canada and the U.S.

In its fifth year locally – after an eight-year run in Vancouver’s Gastown ended when city officials imposed exorbitant rates for the necessary road closure – the event is world-class, Pelling, 54, said.

Concours d'Elegance“This isn’t just another car show. There’s no other car show like this – maybe one other in Canada,” he said, describing an affair that draws in the neighbourhood of 6,000 car enthusiasts to the South Surrey waterfront for the chance to peruse some of the world’s most prized vintage vehicles.

“This is a lot different than any other show around.”

Pelling – who can trace his love of the cars back 50 years – wouldn’t disclose all of the gems in store for attendees, but is confident the highlights will not disappoint. In past years, they have included the 1933 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 Gran Sport, a winner at Italy’s 2012 Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este; a 1928 Isotta Fraschini 8A SS from Pennsylvania; and a 1983 Porsche 953 prototype from the Porsche Museum in Germany.

One confirmed for this year is the 1959 Watson Indy Roadster owned by Larry Pfitzenmaier from Scottsdale, Ariz. The fifth of 23 roadsters built by A.J. Watson, it was one of only two built for the 1959 racing season, and took second place at that year’s Indianapolis 500.

Pelling said the fact the roadster is coming from Scottsdale to the Crescent Beach Concours speaks to the event’s calibre.

“For someone to bring a car 1,700 miles to an event…”

He said the selection of cars was vetted from more than 1,000 applications, to curate a list that includes Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Aston Martin. The vehicles – which can’t return to compete for six years – will be evaluated in 10 competition classes, for their historical significance, rarity and condition, by a panel of 25 judges, with chief judge John Carlson to award the best-in-class in each category.

“A lot of the cars are considered art,” Stevenson noted.

Concours attendees will also have the opportunity to take some of Porsche’s latest models for a spin – a highlight Pelling said is another testament to the show’s calibre, as Porsche only offers it at three other Concours events in North America.

Stevenson, who has been a collector for about four years and owns a vintage vehicle restoration shop in South Surrey, said for him, the show is an opportunity to share his passion, and learn along the way.

“There’s more joy in showing it off… in sharing your car with other people,” Stevenson said. “You meet a lot of neat people and the more times I talk to people, the more my education grows, too.”

Proceeds from the event – which runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. just east of the pier, with admission by donation – will benefit Alexandra Neighbourhood House, as well as Langley’s R.E. Mountain Secondary’s shop class.


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