The 1940-53 Futurliner, from the National Automotive & Truck Museum of the United States, in Auburn, Mich., drew history and car buffs alike. It is one of only four surviving liners of the 12 that led the Parade of Progress displays in the 1940s and early-1950s. Off the Water photo/TERRI GORDON

Archived Story

Auto lovers unite for Concours

Published 6:00pm Thursday, August 9, 2012

Despite the heat and humidity, the eight annual Concours d’Elegance of Southwest Michigan went off without a hitch Aug. 4 at Lake Bluff Park in St. Joseph.

Three Pass-in-Reviews, narrated by F. Edward Lucas II, known in the automotive world as “the voice of Meadow Brook and Amelia Island,” let attendees see and hear the cars in motion, as well as learn each auto’s “story.”

Each year, the Concours gives recognition to what it calls ‘”featured marques.” This year’s featured marque was cars built in Indiana. Into this category fell the 1963 Studebaker Avanti of Benton Harbor residents Shirley and Roy Dost. Roy has admired the car since he was in high school, and, with his children grown, he decided he could finally afford to purchase one. He has owned the auto for 10 years and finished the partially restored vehicle himself. The Dosts recently participated in the Studebaker International Meet in South Bend — along with 135 other Avantis. But the Concours is special — the Dosts volunteer every year.

“I like this show because it’s such a high level of cars,” Roy said.

Sometimes owners dress the part. Such was the case for Cheryl and Bill Haynes, of Batavia, Ill., who coincidentally own a 1919 Haynes.

According to the Hayneses, the Haynes was the first American auto “built from the ground up,”  where others were essentially modified horse carriages. The pair attended a Haynes Festival looking to buy a hood ornament — and came home with a car. They chose the car because of its condition.

“It’s very original,” said Bill, who continues to refine its features. “If something is not correct on it, I correct it.”

“Every time something breaks, you have to have it made,” added Cheryl, “because the factory died in 1925.”

The couple also wears reproduction vintage clothing when they show the car. Bill’s suit was designed following a 1919 Vanity Fair magazine photo, while Cheryl’s four-layer dress of satin and black lace is fashioned after an afternoon tea dress she found in the Cincinnati Museum of Art.

The Concours was founded by Dar Davis, probably the biggest car fan attending the show. He said he was pleased with the 2012 event.

“Each year, we are dazzled by the sculptural beauty of the vintage automobiles brought to St. Joseph for the Concours. This year was no exception,” Davis said. “From the 30,000-pound, three-tone GM Futurliner bus to a tiny BMW Isetta, there was something for everyone. Crowds were the largest ever, which is good news for the area nonprofit cultural groups receiving net proceeds from the fundraiser.”

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