On October 17 & 18, the 19th edition of EURO Auto Festival took place in the Upstate of South Carolina. This event has grown every year and has an entry list that covers most states east of the Mississippi, and even one this year from Texas. As Car Show Director for EURO in 2012, I was asked to take on the Chairman's role for 2013 & 2014. We had set the featured marque for 2013 as Ferrari and I asked if we could plan on having Porsche as the featured marque in 2014. As I have been involved in Porsche ownership and the PCA since 1986, I knew I could put a personal touch to the event as a true Porschephile. As you know, the featured marque for 2014 WAS Porsche and the support from the Porsche faithful was phenomenal.
For those who are not aware, EURO is a completely volunteer run event. To put on a show of this magnitude, 24 volunteer Board members spent 10 months planning and executing the event and an additional 57 volunteers helped out running the event on Friday and Saturday. These are the true unsung heroes who provide the time and effort to make the events of the weekend as enjoyable as possible for the over 400 entries, 15 sponsors and almost 15,000 spectators that came out to the show on Saturday.
A prime example of that is the 18 volunteers that missed seeing the show because they were in the Zentrum auditorium all day reviewing all of the ballots to determine Crowd Pleaser winners for each marque and 1st through 3rd place awards for 428 cars representing 24 marques divided into 47 classes. As a reminder, the classes are "self judged" as the judges for each marque are the entrants within that marque. EURO Auto Festival does not do the judging. On top of that, any entrant or spectator could vote for the People's Choice award. A truly daunting task to accomplish in the 1 hour and 45 minutes from the time voting ended to the announcement of the first awards.
The weather was perfect for the entire weekend. Friday there were two wine tours to various wineries in the Upstate of South Carolina and the mountains of North Carolina. There were multiple stops to enjoy the scenery and sample the wares of the vineyards and a lunch was provided for the participants. Friday afternoon saw 5 workshops being held at the host hotel, the Embassy Suites, where attendees could learn about what it takes to be a concours judge, how to choose the right tire for their vehicle, the proper way to detail a car and the benefits of oil additives for classic cars. This also gave attendees a the opportunity to socialize and to view the many show vehicles assembled in the parking lot set aside for EURO entries. This was a car show of merit in and of itself.
Friday evening started with the hospitality suite sponsored by Glasurit. While registered participants enjoyed the refreshments and socializing, finishing touches took place in the pavilion area next to the hotel for the Meet and Greet Reception presented by Porsche of Greenville. A display of one of every generation of 911, along with a 356 Speedster, was fanned out on the lawn next to the pavilion. These cars were provided mostly by Carolinas Region PCA members. Porsche of Greenville brought out 10 new Porsches, representing the current Porsche product line. In addition to the cars on display, there was a photo booth, driving simulator and fire pit for people to enjoy. The reception itself was attended by over 225 people. There was plenty of food and drink on hand, a live band and a presentation by a local dance company. After the reception ended, it was back to the hospitality suite to wind down from the busy day and prepare for the main event on Saturday.
Saturday morning started out crisp and sunny. As the 428 entries made their way onto the field, the temperatures continued to climb into the 70's. What a gorgeous day for a car show. Almost all European marques were represented at the show, including a tribute to the 100th anniversary of Maserati and the 25th anniversary of the BMW 8 Series. The stars of the event were the 140 Porsches representing the Featured Marque. Porsche entries ranged from a 1951 356 Coupe to a 2015 Macan and everything in between. The display of 14 930 Turbos in one line was impressive. This group was capped off by the light blue and gold metallic 1979 930 Turbos at the head of the line. When the owners started talking, they discovered they had consecutively numbered VIN's from the factory. In addition to the Porsches entered for judging, Bob Ingram, the event's Keynote Speaker, brought his Porsche 959 and Trans Am 911 for display. Bob's sons Cam and Rory joined him and they were selling their new book, Porsche Unexpected, covering their journey in Porsche collecting.
This year there was a super car category that included a Porsche Carrera GT, McLaren 650S, BMW Z8 and a McLaren MP4-12C. The Best of the Best category, a bi-annual class made up of winners of three or more Crowd Pleaser or Corporate awards at past EURO events, included a 1958 356A Speedster, 1965 356C Cabriolet, an all original 1973 911 Carrera RS 2.7 and 10 other entries including the immaculate class winning 1972 BMW 3.0 CS. The show had a record number of sponsors and their displays gave all in attendance an interesting diversion from the eye candy spread out before them. BMW Manufacturing opened up the Zentrum Museum and provided everything we could ask for from a host venue. The BMW Performance Center made available both off-road experiences where you drove an X5 or X3 or high speed ride alongs in an M5 driven by one of their instructors at 150 MPH on their test track, what a rush. To help put things over the top, the record crowd of almost 15,000 was treated to a fly-over by three planes trailing multi-colored smoke.
As the show came to an end, the Crowd Pleaser and class awards were presented in front of the Zentrum. For the most part the awards ceremony went smoothly. I am aware we had some issues with getting the Porsche awards announced and there was a 15 minute delay and premature end of show announcement. We did rectify the situation and got the awards announced and distributed before the show actually ended. Again, situations like this can occur when trying to tabulate votes for 428 cars, representing 24 marques, divided into 47 classes, along with a ballot for People's Choice that was open to any one in attendance. All in all, I hope we minimized any inconvenience to the 36 Porsche entrants that took home awards.
Saturday evening again started with the hospitality suite where people had a chance to compare notes from the busy day. At 7:00 the Awards Banquet started with over 350 people in attendance. Bob Ingram was our Keynote Speaker and he gave a great talk that touched on his history as a Porsche collector, the scope of his collection and the true reason we are all a part of this hobby, developing lasting friendships. After his talk, the EURO Board presented him with an award and as a special surprise, the Carolinas Region of PCA presented a special award in recognition of Bob's long term support of the Porsche Club. It was then time to present the Corporate Awards, where Porsche owner's took home 5 of the 11 awards. These special awards included "Open Road" won by G. Dennis Leadbetter's 1958 356A Speedster, "Best Old Timer" won by Erskine Kirksey's 1961 356B Roadster, "Keynote Speaker" won by Joseph R. Esposito's 1972 911E, "I Know You Got Soul" won by Hartmut Von Seelen's 2005 Carrera GT and finally, "People's Choice" won by Pete & Michele Archibald's 1951 356. A great haul for the Porsche group.
The evening closed with the announcement that BMW would be the Featured Marque for the 20th Anniversary of EURO Auto Festival in 2015. We will also be celebrating the "Cars of France" at the event, so get out those Citroens, Bugatti and Renaults and start getting them ready for the third weekend of October, 2015. The announcement was accompanied by a BMW I3 and Citroen Traction Avant being driven into the banquets room to the applause of the crowd in attendance. Then it was off to the hospitality suite one more time to say goodbye to old and new friends and to plan for the 2015 event.
As I wrap up my tenure as Chairman of EURO Auto Festival, I hope you have had the chance to enjoy the show as much as I have enjoyed being involved in putting it on. The show has surely grown over the past 4 years and I am sure it will continue to grow and get better in the future. We hope to see you there next year as EURO Auto Festival celebrates its 20th Anniversary. Until then, be sure to get out and enjoy your Porsche as it was meant to be enjoyed.
|Porsche||Pete & Michele Archibald||1051||1951||Porsche||356|
|G. Dennis Leadbetter||2971||1958||Porsche||356A Speedster|
|Amy Lester (Class Winner)||2991||1972||BMW||3.0CS|
|Annette & Jack Porter||3691||1967||Austin Healey||BJ8|
|Billy Weaver||4691||1973||Porsche||911 Carrera RS 2.7|
|Bob & Dolores Barton||1171||1965||Porsche||356 C Cabriolet|
|Bruce Gorsak||2321||1985||Mercedes Benz||380SL|
|Dean Stribling||4321||1972||Ferrari||246 GT Dino|
|Gary & Yvonne Arrowood||1061||1964||Aston Martin||DB5|
|Ivan & Myrna Ruiz||3971||1977||Maserati||Bora|
|People's Choice||Pete & Michele Archibald||1051||1951||Porsche||356|
|Best of the Best||Amy Lester||2991||1972||BMW||3.0CS|
|Open Road||G. Dennis Leadbetter||2971||1958||Porsche||356A Speedster|
|Best Old Timer||Erskine Kirksey||2792||1961||Porsche||356 B Roadster|
|Keynote Speaker||Joseph R Esposito||1951||1972||Porsche||911 E|
|Know You Got Soul||Hartmut von Seelen||4666||2005||Porsche||Carrera GT|
|POR1||1st||Jim & Barbara Phillips||3651||1958||Porsche||356 Speedster|
|POR1||2nd||Julian & Mady Hardy||2421||1955||Porsche||356 Speedster|
|POR1||3rd||George Ward||4861||1963||Porsche||356 Super 90 Cabrio|
|POR2||1st||Tim & Andree Herman||2481||1965||Porsche||356C|
|POR2||2nd||Pete & Michele Archibald||1051||1951||Porsche||356|
|POR2||3rd||George & Susan Kehler||2691||1955||Porsche||356|
|POR3||1st||Joseph R Esposito||1951||1972||Porsche||911 E|
|POR3||2nd||Terry Keisler||2701||1973||Porsche||911T Targa|
|POR3||3rd||Gordon & Sue King||2751||1973||Porsche||911 T|
|POR4||2nd||Mel & Jim Flanagan||2071||1974||Porsche||914 LE|
|POR5||1st||Toni Robinson||3911||1987||Porsche||911 Carrera Cab.|
|POR5||2nd||Daniel Simonson||4171||1988||Porsche||911 Club Sport|
|POR5||3rd||Ken Vas||4631||1987||Porsche||911 Carrera Cab.|
|POR6||1st||Bill Funderud & Linda Funderud||2191||1994||Porsche||RS America|
|POR6||2nd||Stan Simm||4161||1998||Porsche||993 C2S|
|POR6||3rd||John Babinski||1091||1998||Porsche||993 C2S|
|POR7||1st||Lauren Lopez Boylston||1331||2014||Porsche||911 S|
|POR7||3rd||Mike Jones||2641||2008||Porsche||911 C4S|
|POR8||1st||Alan & Janet Boe||1271||1979||Porsche||930 Turbo|
|POR8||2nd||Scott A. Clark||1601||2007||Porsche||GT-3|
|POR8||3rd||Scott Hixon||2531||2014||Porsche||911 Turbo|
|POR9||1st||Edward Coon||1641||2008||Porsche||Cayman S|
|POR9||2nd||Otto & Christy Morgan||3422||2014||Porsche||Boxster S|
|POR9||3rd||Barbara & Dale Whitney||4771||2008||Porsche||Boxster RS 60|
|POR10||1st||Michael & Jane Vittorio||4651||1994||Porsche||968 Coupe|
|POR11||1st||George F Ducker III||1871||2013||Porsche||Cayenne GTS|