WESTPORT, Conn. -- A pop-up event in Westport dubbed the Concours d'Caffeine brought together classic cars and coffee as more than 50 vintage autos were lined up for an early morning display before a mini-road rally through Fairfield County.
The event last Sunday was sponsored by the Westport-Weston Chamber of Commerce to promote the Saugatuck neighborhood. It was organized by Bill Sheffler and John Shook, the car enthusiasts who also present the Greenwich Concours.
It started out a bit raw for May, but by mid-morning the sun was out for the event both Sheffler and Chamber Executive Director Matt Mandell called a success.
Concours cars on display included a 1915 Trumbull and a 1909 Locomobile, which were both manufactured in Bridgeport. The Locomobile company existed from 1899 until its demise in 1929. Locomobiles won many of the most prestigious races of the early 20th century, leading the company to proclaims its products as “Easily the Best Built Car in America.”
The 1915 Trumbull was called a “cyclical” because of its small engine. Only 2,000 were made, with three-quarters of them sold in Europe and Australia. The short-lived brand met its match in the Model T Ford. The Trumbull features a hood ornament with the Lusitania, as Isaac Trumbull was a passenger on the ill-fated ship, sailing to Europe in hopes of selling 300 vehicles.
The show also featured a Cunningham, built by sportsman, racer and former Westporter Briggs Cunningham as well as two cars built by racer John Fitch.
Dragone Classic Motorcars, which has a showroom in Westport and a restoration facility in Bridgeport, displayed a 1936 Cord. Cords were superbly designed and technologically advanced but subject to mechanical problems that caused their demise in 1937.
After a few hours, many of the classic cars zipped off for a mini-rally through Fairfield County that ended at the Redding Roadhouse.
Frank Taylor, executive director of Concours Consulting Partners, said planning is already underway for another event in September.
Mandel talked about Connecticut’s roots in the auto industry, including a company called Toquet, which produced cars for about a year in Saugatuck. There was no Touquet on display — it started as a parts manufacturer for Locomobile, then got into the automobile business for a very short time.
Taylor credited the wife of co-director Sheffler for the good weather.
"Nobody dares rain on Ann Sheffler's parade. She showed up and the sun came out," Taylor said.
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