For the past 18 years, automotive and aircraft collectors, together with car enthusiasts have gathered for the annual Savannah Speed Classic, making their way to Hilton Head Island to experience the “Flights & Fancy” Aeroport Gala and Expo, Car Club Showcase, then onto the finale, Concours d’Elegance. America’s top endurance racer, Hurley Haywood, was featured at the kick-off event, the Vintage Auto Film Exhibition at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina.
Savanna, the birthplace of Grand Prix racing in the United States, hosted the first American Grand Prix race in 1908 and continued the annual tradition with the SVRA (Sportscar Vintage Racing Association) “Gold Medallion” showcasing the history of motorsports. With a distinctive road track of ten turns stretching two miles in length on Hutchison Island, the Savanna Speed Classic (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCEObdWOQ14) sponsored endurance and sprite series with cars ranging from a 1959 Austin Healey to a 2015 Ferrari 458. Participants and spectators enjoyed an amazing weekend in the race pits and on the track.
Next stop was Hilton Head Island, just an hour away, for the Concours d’Elegance events starting with the “Flight & Fancy Aeroport Gala”. Vintage aircraft flew to Hilton Head from across the country to show alongside pristine Concours automobiles. Live music was provided by electrified dueling violinists as guests enjoyed fine dining and libations catered by Hilton Head eateries creating a night to be remembered.
Adding to the experience, a Vintage Auto Film Exhibition was held at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina, featuring the documentary “Hurley” about America’s greatest sports-car driver, Hurley Haywood (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kApC5rioUM). After the viewing of the film, the personable, soft-spoken Hurley came on stage to talk about endurance road racing from the 1970s to today, highlighting his historical achievements as the Grand Marshal at the 2019 24 Hours of the Le Mans. As an inductee into the Motorsports Hall of Fame, the living racing legend has won multiple events including three 24 Hours of Le Mans, five Rolex 24 at Daytona, two 12 Hours of Sebring and additional wins too many to list. As one of racing’s biggest stars with wins around the world circuits, women by his side drinking champagne in victory lane, and the macho image of Hugh Hefner, Hurley kept his private life away from the racetrack and held a secret only revealed recently, “I am gay”. Today, unlike the 70s and 80s, everyone is more open-minded. “Listen, it’s not what you are, it’s who you are. That’s what people remember”, commented Hurley, a sports car racing legend forever.
From road racing to the Concours d’Elegance, automotive enthusiasts and collectors gathered at the Port Royal Golf Club on Hilton Head Island to celebrate the finest vehicles ever manufactured from the early 1900s to today. Car clubs throughout the country showcased over 150 cars with owners sharing stories about the cars’ history, restoration process, and everything from sourcing original parts to the type of wax used to polish the car. As more than 200 cars competed in the Concours d’Elegance, everyone enjoyed viewing the cars as they envisioned driving such cars along a leisurely country road on a sunny day.
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