Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance Preview

Ghia Gila

Nicolas Cage, Jerry Seinfeld, Patrick Dempsey and Jay Leno all have shown cars in the annual super-luxe event.

The first Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance started with Sharon Stone and Ferrari chairman Luca di Montezemolo celebrating the launch of the then-brand-new Ferrari 348 Spider. Stone and di Montezemolo auctioned off the first model for more than $1 million – and in typical Hollywood fashion, the money went to charity. In 1994 the event was moved to Father’s Day, and a Rodeo Drive tradition was born. 

Nicolas CagePatrick Dempsey and, of course, Jay Leno, have all shown cars in the super-luxe show, which takes over the famed street from Wilshire to Santa Monica boulevards, and last year Porsche collector Jerry Seinfeld stopped by the show to kick the tires.

In honor of the 50th anniversary of Learjet, this year’s show, sponsored by Flexjet, is themed "The Jet Age” and will feature the public premiere of the all-new $18 million dollar Learjet 85 Aircraft by Bombardier. To continue the Jet Age theme, a custom supersonic-inspired motorcycle, the Moto Guzzi Dustbin 750 owned by Storage Wars' Barry Weiss and customized by Glendale-based Pro-Italia Motorcycles will be on display at the show. The Dustbin looks like something out of Buck Rogers – all chrome and red with a vintage streamlined feel to it.

Also showing this year is Airstream’s new Land Yacht model. Starting at $130,000, the Land Yacht is the product of a collaboration between Airstream; Tecnoform S.p.A., maker of fine cabinetry; and the design studio of Officina Italiana Design. The Land Yacht was designed in partnership with Mauro Micheli, the longtime designer for Riva yachts, and incorporates elements from the luxury watercraft world.

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“The Airstream spirit is about bringing family and friends together through adventure and travel. We are excited to show Airstream’s Land Yacht on Father’s Day, when generations come together to celebrate,” said general manager of Airstream Los Angeles Ken Baker. “The Land Yacht is a prime representation of Airstream’s founder, Wally Byam, and his love of all things nautical, which led him to create a parallel experience of adventure travel on land, through his iconic Airstream trailers.”

This year's Concours will also feature one of the original six Batmobiles built for the 1966 TV show. “The original Batmobile was sold a few months ago for a world-record $4.6 million dollars, surpassing the price paid for the 1960s original James Bond Aston Martin,” says Edward Lozzi, spokesperson for Barris Kustom and George Barris, the designer of the original Batmobile.

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In a nod to classic Hollywood and the Jet Age theme, noted car restorer Scott Grundfor will be showing his Ghia Streamline X Coupe, nicknamed the “Gilda” after Rita Hayworth's character in the 1946 film of the same name. In 1955, Chrysler executives commissioned the Streamline X Coupe, which was designed by Giovanni Savonuzzi of Italy’s famed Ghia coachbuilding firm. The Ghia Streamline X Coupe was the genesis of Chrysler’s “Forward Look” and became one of the most important designs in the evolution of American cars. The “Gilda” features a gas-turbine engine and looks like something George Jetson would drive. “Gilda” is a truly amazing car and is rarely shown. To keep the Jet Age theme alive, Jay Leno will be attending the show with his EcoJet concept. A collaboration between Leno and GM, the EcoJet runs on biofuel and is powered by a Honeywell LTS101 engine – usually seen in helicopters, not cars. The EcoJet looks exactly like you’d expect from a concept car – a nod to the future with sleek angular lines that evoke speed and power.

When asked why Rodeo Drive was chosen for the show, Bruce Meyer, chairman of the Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance and owner of one of the greatest collections of automobiles in Los Angeles, said, “Rodeo Drive symbolizes quality, style and cutting-edge fashion. It’s hard to be stealth on Rodeo Drive.” When the streets are lined with multimillion dollar classic cars, it’s easy to see why.

Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance is free and open to the public on Sunday, June 16, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.