Fun Stuff

Must-See Canadian-Owned Cars at the 2023 Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance

Photos supplied by Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance

There are more than 40 Concours d’Elegance automotive events around the world this year, each one celebrating some of the finest, rarest and most beautiful machines to ever grace road or track. The calibre of machines judged and on display at these elegant events represents the pinnacle of collectible automobilia, and while each event draws entrants from an international pool, as the only full Concours event in the Great White North, the Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance features some truly impressive entries owned by Canadians.

David Murphy is the Registrar for the Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance and he has shared some details on a handful of the Canadian-owned entrants to this year’s event that not only showcase the quality of the treasures found in Canadian garages, but also the diversity of the machines to be displayed at this year’s Cobble Beach Concours. This year’s show takes place from Sept. 15 to 17 in Kemble, Ont., 10 minutes away from Owen Sound.

1927 Bugatti Type 39/35B

Owned by Mike Bigioni of Aurora, Ont.

This car is the ultimate 2.3-litre supercharged version of the Type 35 Bugatti. Regarded by many as the “winningest” car in racing history, the Bugatti Type 35’s racing history started at the 1924 Lyon Grand Prix and refined until the arrival of the 1930 Type 51 with its twin-cam engine. This particular car was a 1927 factory team car, and is believed to have competed at both the Spanish and Roman Grand Prix races. Its racing pedigree continues to this day, having won the inaugural Canadian Bugatti Grand Prix at Mont Tremblant in 2013.

1972 Lancia Stratos

Owned by Denis Bigioni of Pickering, Ont.

Mike’s brother, Denis owns one of only 492 examples of the legendary Stratos; the first purpose-built rally car and winner of the World Rally Championship in 1974, 1975 and 1976. This Lancia has enjoyed single-family ownership since 1986 and possesses a known history since new. What’s more, this car is believed to have competed in the 1977 Targa Florio, finishing 11th in class and 25th overall.

1986 Ford RS200 S

Owned by Anthony Polito of Lindsay, Ont.

Keeping with the rally car theme, among the already-rare RS200 machines, this RS200 S is considered by aficionados as the best of the model line thanks to some key upgrades including: a Stig-Blomqvist steering wheel, electric windows, and a pair of air intakes that, among other updates, helped bump power from 250 hp to 350 hp, making the little car a sizzling performer, if quite a handful for drivers. Only 20 of the S models were produced, with four spec’ed as Evolution models, and the remaining 16 as road-going machines, like this example. Only two were originally sold in Canada.

1967 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray 427

Owned by Tim Schell of Queensville, Ont.

Amongst the Corvette faithful, there’s a lengthy list of highly prized machines, but the big-block 427 ‘Vettes are the stuff of legend. Reportedly, there were six 1967 427 Stingrays with the 435-hp engines finished in the desirable black-over-red colour scheme, but only two remain numbers-matching with their factory documentation, and Schell’s car is one of them. Sold new in Halifax, Nova Scotia, this 427 has a full ownership history and documentation from GM Canada, wearing only OEM parts and showing just 25,000 miles, this Canadian beauty is surely one of the hottest-ticket Corvettes out there.

1966 Porsche 906 Carrera 6 “906-128”

Part of a private Ontario-owned collection

Porsche is once again a title sponsor of the Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance, so fans of the marque can expect to see some special examples in a number of classes. As a display car only (not entered in a judged category), this 906 isn’t just incredibly rare, but comes with impressive racing provenance.

As a successor to the stunning 904 GTS, the 906 is 255 lb lighter than its forebear, tipping the scales at only 1,250 lb, and powered by a small, flat-six engine from the 911, the diminutive sports car was known for picking on race cars with considerably more power, and frequently winning. During the famed Targa Florio endurance race of 1966, this 906 earned an overall win, besting even the Ferraris and the factory werks cars. This 906 went on to compete in the 1000 Kilometers of Monza, the Nürburgring 1000 Kilometers, and for the following few years by privateer racers in various competitions. The car has remained in its Targa Florio livery since its restoration in 2002.

1908 McLaughlin Model F

Owned by General Motors Canada, Oshawa, Ont.

One of the most interesting stories associated with this year’s Cobble Beach Concours also has a wonderfully local connection. More than 80 years ago, GM of Canada’s president, Colonel Sam McLaughlin offered a brand new 1937 Chevrolet to a local Bruce County man in exchange for his 1908 McLaughlin-Buick Model F.

In 1908, McLaughlin Motor Company built 154 cars in its first year of production, including this Model F 5-passenger touring car, which cost a not insignificant $1,400 and included a horn, three oil lamps, gas headlamps, a repair kit and jack. The buyer also splashed out an extra $50 for a glass wind shield. Previously known for their coach-building enterprise, the Model F automobile possessed much of the fine wood construction of the earlier buggies.

This car remained in use, and mostly intact, by the original family until Colonel McLaughlin recognized its significance and General Motors acquired it in the ’30s and keeping it safely in their inventory. In 1989, the Model F was sent off for a five-year restoration process, and since then, it has remained a prized example of some of GM’s earliest heritage.

Show Info and Dates

This year’s Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance features exhibits from eight provinces and 12 states. In addition to the fascinating machines listed above, visitors can expect to see interesting and artful entries by Rolls-Royce, Duesenberg, Lamborghini, Ferrari, and of course Porsche, among dozens of other marques, spanning more than a century of motoring history of road and race pedigree. Situated on the manicured grounds of the Cobble Beach Golf Community just north of Owen Sound, Ont., the water-side location helps give an air of elegance to this spectacle not often associated with typical car shows.

The Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance is a full weekend occasion starting on Sept. 15 with downtown Owen Sound playing host to a Saturday morning Cars and Coffee, a Concours de Lemons show that features an amusing take on some of the least desirable cars by their light-hearted owners, as well as automotive-related seminars, a participants tour that enables owners to drive their collectible machines around the scenic region, and of course the Concours event itself on Sunday, Sept. 17.