Welcome to Hillsborough Concours d'Elegance 2009!

Hillsborough Concours is the longest continually running car show west of the Mississippi. Now in it's 53rd year, we acknowledge this year the engineering innovations of German manufacturers in the Post-War period.

A special focus in 2009 is our Green Car display, with the largest collection ever shown in one place in California.

All proceeds benefit the Hillsborough Schools and the 49er Foundation.

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009, 10-4pm.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Greenlight Initiative

For over 100 years AAA has been helping people get where they’re going safely, reliably and efficiently. Today AAA continues to lead the way by supporting efforts to decrease fuel consumption and reduce the impact of automobiles on the environment. They call it the AAA Greenlight Initiative.

AAA invites you on to a new road - where cars run on cheaper fuel, where the air is cleaner, and the rewards of new freedom are enjoyed by all. AAA is ready to help you discover a more sustainable future.

Please visit AAA's Greenlight Initiative on the upper field of the Hillsborough Concours, which will include an educational display of various alternative fuel and car choices, as well as a Volkswagen Jetta TDI that runs on vegetable oil and biodiesel.

For more information on the Greenlight Initiative, please visit www.aaa.com/greenlight.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Miss Lu Lu II - a 1956 Chris Craft

Miss Lu Lu II-1956 Chris-Craft 21’ Capri 250 HP 8 cylinder Chrysler Hemi; The Hein family, Hillsborough, California.

Miss Lu Lu II, named after the late Claire Hein (whose nickname was Lu Lu), is hull number 121 of 170. She is an original Tahoe boat built in the Chris Craft plant at Algonac Michigan. Chris-Craft shipped her to the Tahoe Boat Company, Truckee, California on February 1, 1956. Little is known about her past except that she was rescued from a gas station in the Santa Clara, California area. After undergone a keel up restoration at the hands of a series of master craftsmen, Miss Lu Lu II made her debut at the 2005 Tahoe Concours d’Elegance where she won a first in class and best of show under 23 feet. Miss Lu Lu II then went on to win Best of Show 22 feet and under at the 2006 Shriner’s Hospitals Concours d’Elegance and best of show restored at the Antique and Classic Boat Society 2006 International Boat Show.

Miss Lu Lu II will be on display on Concours Day, May 3, 2009 as part of our Boat Display, which showcases other forms of transportation that have beautiful lines and design integrity.


Friday, March 6, 2009

It's Not Easy Being Green, Part 3

By Laurel B. Miranda

Knowing that his wife Lilli Rey wanted a “greener” lifestyle and looking to find her a special birthday present, Val Vaden researched various environmentally friendly car options on the Internet. He was impressed with the unique look of the electric Tango, as well as its "over-engineered" performance and safety features.

Unlike many electric cars that are based on sport car styling, the Tango is designed to be narrower than many of the wider motorcycles, allowing two Tangos to drive side-by-side on the freeway in the same lane. Like the Smart car, a Tango accommodates two passengers, but instead of sitting next to each other like in the Smart Fortwo, they sit one behind the other, more along the lines of an enclosed motorcycle.

While built to allow more cars on the freeway at once, do not be fooled…the Tango is not just a commuter car. It uses two electric motors to go zero to sixty in four seconds, putting it in the sports car performance category. Moreover, it uses many of the same safety innovations as race cars, including a stainless steel chassis with a chromium molybdenum roll cage.

But what finally sold Val on the Tango was its appearance on the cover of the Christmas Hammacher Schlemmer catalog in 2006. Val figured this meant the Tango would be ready for delivery in just a few weeks.

Val contacted Commuter Cars in Spokane, Washington and put down a deposit on the Tango. In terms of ordering the car, his only decisions were the type of battery and the color of the car (green – of course!). But as with other early adopters of green car technology, Val and Lilli would have to learn patience.

After two years on the wait list, the car has been shipped as a kit and is being assembled at Mechanically Speaking in Burlingame. To register her car with the DMV, Lilli is working with a firm that specializes in registering hand-built cars.

While Lilli anticipates having a lot of fun maneuvering around town and parking in her new car, she confesses to being a little bit nervous about receiving too much attention from crowds of onlookers. Lilli would probably do well to follow the advice of fellow early adopter Jon Mittelhauser and avoid driving the Tango to Fry’s Electronics, unless she has a lot of extra time on her hands to answer questions from the many admirers her car is sure to attract.

Come see Commuter Car's Tango at the 53rd Hillsborough Concours d'Elegance on Sunday, May 3rd.

It's Not Easy Being Green, Part 2

Jon Mittelhauser
and his Tesla

By Laurel B. Miranda

After being on the wait list for over two and a half years, Jon Mittelhauser, one of the founders of Netscape Communications, has a new car in his garage…the highly touted Tesla Roadster.

Based on a Lotus chassis, the Roaster is an all-electric sports car that can accelerate from 0 – 60 miles per hour in 3.7 seconds and can travel over 240 miles on a single charge of its lithium-ion battery pack.

When Jon called the Tesla sales department in 2006 to put his name of the waitlist for one of the company’s first production cars—known as the “Signature 100 Series”—he had not even seen a Tesla Roadster in person; he had only read about it on the Internet.

Nonetheless, Jon’s years of patience paid off; he loves his new car, saying “It really opens your eyes to the future of automobiles. No gas-powered car can even come close to the feel provided by instant torque at any speed. It still amazes me that a car which is so much fun to drive can have zero emissions.”

The only thing that is not ideal for Jon about his new car is trying to squeeze his 6’3” frame into the Roadster. However, in Tesla’s defense, Jon would probably have similar issues with any high-performance sports car. Jon is actually pleased he fits as well as he does in the Tesla’s interior.

Because Teslas are still relatively rare, people stop Jon in public parking lots to ask him questions about his new Roadster. Blessed with unusual good humor, Jon generally enjoys talking with curious bystanders about his new car and the advantages he sees in electric versus gasoline-powered engines.

However, even Jon has his limits. He has decided that he can no longer drive the Tesla Roadster to Fry’s Electronics. The last time he was there, it took him over thirty minutes to extract himself from all the Silicon Valley engineers who crowded around him and his new car! Jon is lucky he knows his way around the Internet; it looks like he will have to make all his electronics purchases on-line for the foreseeable future, or at least drive a different car to Fry’s.

Come see the Tesla Roadster at the 53rd Hillsborough Concours d'Elegance on Sunday, May 3rd.

It’s Not Easy Being Green, Part 1

By Laurel B. Miranda

Today’s car buyers are confronted with a dizzying array of environmentally-friendly or so-called “green” car choices, offered by a wide spectrum of car manufactures, ranging from start-up companies like Tesla Motors and Commuter Cars, to established house-hold names, like Toyota, Lexus and Ford.

As manufacturers scramble to get a toe-hold in the emerging green car market, consumers who want to be environmentally conscious have to make a lot of decisions. Should they buy a high-mileage gasoline-powered mini car, a gas and electric motor combination known as a “hybrid”, or should they select a car that doesn’t need gasoline at all? If they choose the latter, should they buy an electric, hydrogen or natural gas fueled vehicle?

With so many options available and concerns about what technology will become the industry standard, the average buyer who wants to “go green” may decide to wait until the winners and losers are more clearly defined over the next few years.

While many wait on the sidelines, however, there is a small group of car buyers who prefer to be in the game. These early adopters have often braved long waitlists and in many cases assumed hefty price tags to obtain their preferred vehicles. Nevertheless, these pioneers are driving their new green cars in 2009, before many of the established manufacturers have moved their green cars from concept into production.

This article, divided into three parts, will highlight the purchasing choices of three early adopters of green cars. Be sure to look for examples of their head-turning cars – the Smart Fortwo mini car, the sports car, and all-electric Tesla Roadster and Commuter Car’s electric Tango – as you visit the special displays on the upper field at the Hillsborough Concours d’Elegance this year.

European Styling Comes to the U.S. – Introducing the Smart Fortwo

After living in Europe where Smart cars have been available for over a decade, Wendy Klein knew she wanted to buy the compact Smart Fortwo when she returned to the United States.

As an instructor and owner of a yoga studio in San Mateo, Wendy is conscious about how her choices impact the environment. One of the things she liked about the Smart Fortwo is that it is considered one of the most fuel-efficient gasoline-powered cars currently available in the United States, getting 33 mpg in the city and 41 mpg on the highway, better than many hybrids.

Wendy also liked the Smart car’s ability to maneuver and park in an urban environment. The Fortwo is less than nine feet long (three feet shorter than a Mini Cooper); consequently, two or three Smart cars can fit into a single curbside parking spot -- but check your local vehicle code first!

After being on a waitlist for over a year and a half, Wendy was thrilled to finally receive her new Fortwo. She describes it as a peppy little car, with handling reminiscent of the Volkswagen Rabbit she drove in an earlier era.

Wendy acknowledges that the Smart car would not be a good choice for a long trip; its suspension system is more suited for quick trips around town. However, Wendy argues that her Fortwo is ideal for the majority of her driving, from dropping off her child at school to quick trips to the market.

As she drives around Hillsborough and Burlingame, the Fortwo brings smiles to the faces of the people as she passes. Even the UPS driver stops to waive at her as she drives by with the car’s convertible top down.

Perhaps even more satisfying for Wendy, however, is a trip to the gas station, where she can fill her tank for a mere $12. Now that is something we could all get used to!

Come see the SmartForTwo at the 53rd Hillsborough Concours d'Elegance on Sunday, May 3rd.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

StanCraft Torpedo Stern Runabout at Concours

Wildwood, owned by Bob Mullarkey, is a StanCraft torpedo stern runabout built in 1954 by Stan Young at Flathead Lake, Montana. It is 21'8” with twin cockpit configuration which can hold 6 people. This is the first of four boats built with the distinctive “fins”.

In 2002, Wildwood received the Manufactures Award from StanCraft at the ACBS International Boat Show at Coeur d' Alene, Idaho. It has received numerous awards at the Tahoe Concoers de Elegance from 2002 - 2007. Most recently we received a first place at the South Lake Tahoe Wooden Boat Show in 2008.

Wildwood will be on display on Concours Day, May 3, 2009 as part of our Boat Display, which showcases other forms of transportation that have beautiful lines and design integrity.


Chris Craft Silver Arrow - circa 1958

This circa 1959 Silver Arrow was Chris Craft's first attempt to fiberglass a wooden boat. Design-wise, it mirrors the 1959 Buick, especially the fender flares. The steering wheel is from a 1954 Plymouth and the dashboard is made from aluminum used by Frigidaire to make it's refrigerators. Only 92 of these were made and about 30 can now be accounted for.

Ralph and Bonnie Wallen bought the boat (#86 of just 92) in January of 2004 and spent the next 7 months researching how best to restore it. He spent another year doing the restoration work himself, save the upholstery, mechanics and paint. The boat is spruce, with gelcoat to the waterline and a 3/4inch mahogany bottom. The engine is a 283 hp Chevy engine. The color is original. Mr. Wallen went on to win Best Chris Craft in the August Lake Tahoe Wooden Boat Show. He also won the Best Chris Craft at the recent Coeur d'Alene International Antique and Classic Boat Show. Chris Craft's national owner's club is featuring Mr and Mrs Wallen and 'Quiver' in its next edition.

The skis you see in the photo are of the period, The boat was designed as a ski boat. The flag is in the spot where the ski tackle would go.

The Silver Arrow will be on display on Concours Day, May 3, 2009 as part of our Boat Display, which showcases other forms of transportation that have beautiful lines and design integrity.