A History of Concours d’Elegance Beginnings...
“Concours d’Elegance” is a French term meaning literally Parade of Elegance. The event originated in the French capital, Paris, around the beginning of the twentieth century. European couture houses showcased fashion collections in combination with exquisite custom coachwork on automobiles of the day. Fashion models dressed in the latest garments would drive new automobiles up to a reviewing stand.
Usually, the cars were expensive, being adorned with custom coachwork. In many cases they were one-of-a-kind. The models would then step out and show the car and fashion to the crowd. Both the cars and the fashion were judged and awards were given based on beauty, style, and design. The event grew in popularity and spread around Europe, with similar premier events in Italy and England, both of which had World class automotive and fashion industries.
The Second World War (1939-45) redirected all industrial efforts in Europe and the US towards the machinery of war – the automobile industry ground to a halt while production of military vehicles took precedence. This resulted in the cessation of concours temporarily. But with a new generation came renewed interest and in the 1950s and 60s Concours d’Elegance reappeared in Paris and soon began to appear in countries around the world including the United Kingdom, Italy, Australia, Philippines and the United States.
The Jaguar Affiliates Group of Michigan, Concours d’Elegance is typically held in late Summer, at various locations. This event is considered by the great majority of JAGM members to be our premier event and many of us consider it to be a celebration of Jaguar.