Premier event is about to celebrate a dozen years of car lovers’ dreams

Cadillacs, E-Type Jaguars, Mustang designer to be highlights

Next weekend promises to be a big one in the Miami Valley as the 2018 Dayton Concours d’Elegance celebrates its 12th year at Carillon Historical Park.

The event may have a fancy name, but it’s anything but stuffy. A full schedule of family-friendly happenings will offer something for everyone. Here it is in chronological order:

Saturday morning fun

The weekend will kick off Sept. 15 with a special edition of Dayton Cars and Coffee. This morning gathering, which is free and open to any car, will take place in the parking lot of the Carillon Brewing Co. at the park, 1000 Carillon Blvd., from 8 to 11 a.m.

Saturday evening is for grooving

Saturday evening brings the dressy casual Preview Party, open to the public, on the grounds of the Carillon Historical Park.

The party will preview Concours automobiles and feature an automotive art pavilion, music, silent auction, food and adult beverages. Brock Masterson’s will provide catering and there will be craft beers, premium wine and artisan spirits. The Preview Party is held from 6:30 to 10 p.m. Tickets are $85 per person, or $75 for Dayton History members. Reservations are required. Go online to or call 937-293-2841 for more information or to purchase tickets for the Preview Party.

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday

The concours, presented by AAA Miami Valley, will showcase 200 antique and classic automobiles, motorcycles and scooters. Featured marques are Cadillac and the E-type Jaguar as well as a special class, “Eight isn’t Enough”, highlighting cars with more than 8-cylinder engines.

Gale Halderman, former Ford design director and creator of the 1965 Mustang, will serve as this year’s Concours grand marshall. Halderman is scheduled to bring a 2018 Mustang and have his own tent, naturally next to a display of first-generation Mustangs, in which show-goers can visit him and ask questions.

Vehicles will be judged for awards in 28 classes, said Concours Chairman Skip Peterson. In addition, a number of specialty awards will be presented, including the R.H. Grant Best of Show, Col. Edward Deeds Judge’s Choice, Charles F. Kettering People’s Choice, Jeffrey Siler Spirit Award, The Taj Ma Garaj Award and The Hagerty Youth Judging Award. Last year a new award was added to honor the memory and many Concours contributions of Chic Kleptz, a noted Marmon collector from Union. New this year is an award to honor longtime AAA Miami Valley president and Concours supporter Ray Keyton, who passed away last year.The Ray Keyton American Icon Award will be presented to an American automobile chosen by Keyton family members.

The parade of class-winning cars, motorcycles and major award winners will be presented at 3 p.m.

“The Concours d’Elegance has long been one of our biggest fundraisers,” said Leo DeLuca, Dayton History’s media coordinator. “But not only is the event integral to Dayton History, it is also one of the most visually captivating. Near the onset of autumn, while the leaves are starting to turn, classic and antique automobiles and motorcycles dot Carillon Historical Park – under sprawling sycamore trees, alongside 19th-century structures and across the park’s beautiful 65-acre campus.”

Dayton Concours d’Elegance has become one of the Midwest’s premier classic and antique automobile and motorcycle events, DeLuca finished.

Other attractions

An increasingly popular part of the event is the Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild reunion during which hand-built model cars will be shown in the Dicke Transportation Center. Guildsmen from across the country will display concept car models they built as teenagers in the ’50s and ’60s as entries in a General Motors-sponsored contest of that era.

Live entertainment, an automotive art pavilion and a variety of local food at a food court and beverages will be featured. The park’s 65-acre campus is home to more than 30 historic structures and cares for 3 million-plus artifacts, and all exhibits will be open.

Recent announcement

Dayton History announced Aug. 31 that its Wright Brothers Aviation Center is now the Wright Brothers National Museum — with an official national designation. The John W. Berry Sr. Wright Brothers National Museum at Carillon Historical Park is open to the public. Formerly named the Wright Brothers Aviation Center, the exhibit includes the 1905 Wright Flyer III: the only airplane designated a National Historic Landmark, the first practical flying machine, and what the Wright brothers considered their most important aircraft.

“This aircraft is the crown jewel of the park,” DeLuca said.

What it adds up to

All proceeds from the weekend go to Dayton History, Montgomery County’s official historical organization, to underwrite various programs for thousands of schoolchildren, and maintain facilities.

How to go

General Concours admission is $20 at the door, or $15 in advance, $5 for children 17-3; children younger than 3 and members of Dayton History are free. Go online to or call 937-293-2841 for more information.

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