rolling architecture

I’ve loved architecture and building since a young age, but my true first love will always be cars. My dad and I have visited the Dallas Auto Show since I was 4 years old, only missing a few years right after college. Lately, my friends and I regularly attend the local Cars & Coffee gathering. When I heard about the Concours d’Elegance of Texas that took place in Arlington this weekend, I had to go see it for myself. Needless to say, it was well worth the price of admission.

The caliber of automobiles represented at a typical Concours d’Elegance are second to none and these vehicles rarely see the road. However, the Texas show was a bit different. Concours shows like the world renowned show in Pebble Beach are judged on a points basis that reward owners for spending the most money on a restoration. But at this show, vehicles are judged on a holistic basis that rewards original condition cars. With that said, there were still several vehicles that are not driven but are pretty to look at.

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There were a fair share of modern cars at the show, but the real show stoppers are the exquisite pre-war cars from Duesenberg, Rolls-Royce, Auburn, and Cadillac to name a few. Modern head-turners made an appearance like a beautiful 1967 Lamborghini Miura, a 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429, a 1989 Ferrari Testarossa, and – my childhood favorite – a Jaguar XJ220.

Cars aren’t built like this any longer and they’re definitely not designed like this any more. I love the expressive lines of the body work; the appropriate and careful use of chrome trim; and especially the bold colors used on the body, the wheels, and the engine.

In a sense, these cars are rolling architecture. They were designed to be beautiful, expressive objects that are also functional. Usually, vehicles like these are compared to artwork or sculpture. But, they have more in common with architecture. They have aesthetically pleasing exteriors that are designed to keep the elements out while the occupants enjoy comfortable interiors. Like buildings, these cars were meant to be used and enjoyed. They were designed for specific purposes with an idealized client in mind. Maybe I’ve really been passionate about architecture longer than I thought?

The Concours d’Elegance of Texas was a great way to spend a beautiful spring afternoon in Dallas. I enjoyed speaking with the judges and owners of the vehicles. I’m already planning to make a return visit next year and the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is for sure on my bucket list.

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