Nostalgia at Meadow Brook Concours

1939 Delahaye 165 Cabriolet

1934 Dietrich-bodied Packard V-12 Sport SedanI guess Pebble Beach may be more dramatic, at least geographically, but no one does a concours d’elegance better than Meadow Brook in suburban Detroit. Just concluded at Meadow Brook Hall, the 1920s residence of John and Matilda Dodge, this event attracts many of the world’s great classic cars, as well as race cars, theme cars, concepts, and design cars.

The two best-of-show winners were a 1939 Delahaye 165 Cabriolet by Figoni & Falaschi, which is simply a knockout, and the more stately 1934 Dietrich-bodied Packard V-12 Sport Sedan—both shown here. Looking at these cars, one wonders where all this marvelous individuality and passion has gone. Up in smoke, as Cheech & Chong once observed.

The essence of nostalgia, I suppose, is looking back to an irrecoverable past and a simpler, more “classic” world. Well, Meadow Brook gives you that in spades, whether your nostalgia runs to ’64 GTOs, ’59 Cadillac tail fins, or cars like these, on the MB website.

Looking at these pix, I had my own nostalgic moment, remembering a conference I was part of years ago at Meadow Brook. The furnishings and details of the mansion are still intact, courtesy of Oakland University, and nothing I’ve seen evokes the opulence and style of the ‘20s more than this 110-room palace built for the widow of one of the Dodge brothers who founded an empire.

It’s the perfect setting to recreate, among other things, the contributions of Detroit to the history of the automobile. Some of this can be seen in the video below, courtesy of Freep.com.

Do our present cars – any of them – still have the kind of individuality and strength of purpose these cars do? Leave us a comment.

—jgoods

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