The Radnor Hunt Concours d'Elegance Brings Back the Automotive Pageantry of Yesteryear

The cars at the Concours symbolize the journey to freedom.

All photos courtesy of the author.

The faint barking of a few dozen hounds sets the background soundtrack to Pennsylvania's Radnor Hunt, a 6,000-acre piece of land dotted with stables and kennels in the Philadelphia suburbs that has remained mostly unchanged since the inception of our beautiful nation. In 1883, an annual hunt was established on the grounds; hounds would scour the pastures in hopes of uncovering a wily fox. That tradition still continues to this day. The pomp and ceremony, grandeur and elaborate dress may seem like an anachronism, but for Main Line residents it’s a local tradition.

And so is the Concours d'Elegance that has been taking place in September for the past nine years. Celebrating the joy of motoring is a logical progression for Radnor Hunt — foxhunting transports Main Line  to another place in time, recalling the days when motorized carriages were used to picnic in the pasture on Sundays. To own a classic car is to participate in a part of the American Dream that modern society has overlooked.

Every man and woman had a fantastic story behind the car they were showing; one had been safely buried under bales of hay in a remote European farmhouse in order to evade repossession by the Nazis during WW2.

IMG_5205.jpgThis Porsche 356 was owned by legendary driver Lake Underwood, a legend in America’s Porsche world.

The Porsche 356 driven by Lake Underwood was on full display. Underwood taught Paul Newman how to drive but was a giant in his own right; a lauded racer, he’s credited with leading the force that put Porsches on the podium in the US for the first time.

IMG_5122.jpgJohn Campion loves Group B cars. His Lancia is no exception.

A 1983 Lancia 037, owned by John Campion, was shown standing still — a rare sight for a car that’s participating in more than 20 Group B rally events across the world.

IMG_5144.jpgB.R.M. watches are closely tied to motorsport — no wonder John Campion sports one.

The cars at the Concours symbolize the journey to freedom: To care for an iconic automobile is to own a stake in this liberty that Americans are able to enjoy. Driving one and showing it is exercising a forgotten piece of this country’s spirit.

IMG_4986.jpgThe Alfa Romeo Duetto is Italian design perfection.

IMG_4996.jpgThe '66 Chevrolet Corvette L88 coupe owned by Kevin Mackay that competed in the Daytona 24.

IMG_5030.jpgThe Pontiac GTO was Motor Trend’s Car of the Year in 1968.

IMG_5099.jpgThis 1921 Duesenberg 183 Grand Prix race car competed in the Indianapolis 500

Cole Pennington
Cole Pennington

After spending half a decade exploring the far-flung corners of Asia as a travel writer, Cole returned to New York City where he’s currently enrolled at Columbia’s Graduate School of Journalism. He writes about horology, classic motoring, exploration, and aviation. You’ll find funky and chunky ‘60s divers and far out ‘70s chronos on his wrist, and a modified '74 Datsun Z-car in his garage.

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