Concours du Soleil 2017 Automobile Expo
Admittedly, I have never been what you would considered a “car guy”. A love for automobiles is often passed down through family and close friends, a passion that was not passed down to me. However, I have always had a great appreciation for artistic beauty, finely tuned design, and excellent craftsmanship. The wonderful vehicles on display at the 2017 Concours du Soleil embodied all three of these characteristics and more. If you have little interest in fine art for example, I would challenge you to visit the historic Georgia O’Keefe museum in downtown Santa Fe, and would expect that you would walk out with a great deal of respect for her work. That is how I felt as I left the Concours du Soleil. It is a wonderful car show for seasoned enthusiasts as well as fresh newbies like myself. A great way to spend a Sunday afternoon with family and friends.
Back in 1997, Concours du Soleil began as a small, informal get together of the New Mexico Viper Club. Held at a local resident’s house, it was little more than a group of car lovers joining each other for an afternoon of engine revving and test drives. Very quickly, this humble gathering grew in notoriety, attracting a larger audience every year. In 2005, organized with the support of the Carrie Tingley Hospital Foundation, the first official Concours du Soleil was held at a beautiful location in Los Ranchos. It was a two day event with a Saturday evening Gala, followed by the public show the following afternoon. All proceeds went towards various charities promoting growth in the local economy. The event is still held at the same location to this day.
The 2017 show featured a plethora of exquisite vehicles; an American classic, the 1957 Ford Thunderbird, the exotic 2015 Ferrari 458 Spider, and an eye-catching one-of-a-kind 1965 Lotus Elan Convertible. These are just of a few of the cars I had a tough time walking away from. Classics like these are to be expected at a show such as this, but one thing particularly enticing at this years Concours du Soleil were the brand new hybrid and electric vehicles on display. Once the butt of many jokes, notably the Toyota Prius, these eco-friendly vehicles prove that helping the environment does not mean sacrificing style. One vehicle in particular seemed to attract the largest crowd of the show, a 2016 Tesla Model X, owned by show supporter Kevin Cooper. Completely electric, the Model X somehow goes from 0-60 in 3.2 seconds. Without a doubt the greenest car of the show, and to my surprise also one of the fastest!
In what was perhaps the most talked about exhibit at the show, the City of Albuquerque Transit Department unveiled one of its brand new A.R.T. buses. Short for Albuquerque Rapid Transit, the A.R.T. bus is completely electric, and one member of a fleet of 20 the city purchased for the hefty price of $22.9 million. The A.R.T. project, a three year long construction endeavor along miles of Central Avenue, has been highly controversial here in Albuquerque. Residents near the area have been greatly inconvenienced by an endlessly changing slew of construction cones and torn up roads. Local businesses in the surrounding area, particularly the Nob Hill district, have seen serious declines in business during construction. However, the city encourages those opposed to the project to have patience, as they assure them that upon completion the project will bring new life and increased business to Albuquerque’s famed Route 66. No matter what side you’re on, seeing the bus first hand was informative. Another excellent aspect of the Concours du Soleil.
Since its inception, Concours du Soleil has always been an event for the better of the local community. Proceeds have gone to various local non-profit organizations throughout the years, with over $750K awarded in the last 10 years alone. Visit their website at www.SEEHOTCARS.com for more details, as well as information on how to get involved in supporting the local economy. To all the car enthusiasts, start polishing up your prized automobile now. 2018’s show is sure to be even better, and only the finest of vehicles will do. I can’t wait to see what the show has in store for us next year.
Written by Byrd
Photos by The Girl
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