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Stories from the valley

Ironstone Concours d’Elegance

Contributed by Carl Gwyn

On the third Saturday of September for the past 22 years, the quiet little town of Murphys in the Sierra Foothills awakes to the sound of the engines of vintage cars headed to the Ironstone Concours d’Elegance at the Ironstone winery. From 176 cars in 1996, the Concours has grown to host over 350 automobiles, vintage travel trailers, trucks, motorcycles, and more.

This unique show, which encourages people to bring their daily drivers as well as Pebble-Beach-quality entries, is organized as a benefit for 4-H and FFA. Members of these two organizations are present to welcome the car entrants and guests, show off their projects, and add to the positive ambiance of the event. Many of these young people head off to college and become members of the Northern California agricultural community.

One or two marques of automobiles are featured each year, usually being particularly rare or historically significant types of cars. The rest of the field is composed of a wide variety of pre-1972 vehicles from all make and models, used for pleasure, transportation, or work.

As the concours has grown over the years, new classes of vehicles have been added, such as vintage travel trailers, racecars, and, this year, tractors and stationary engines. One of the most unique vehicles at the event is the Amphicar. For a small donation to the 4-H and FFA, their drivers will treat you to a ride on the winery’s lake in the only amphibious pleasure vehicle produced for personal use.

I encourage you to make a note to head to the Ironstone Winery in Murphys on September 21, 2019 to enjoy a wonderful day of viewing classic cars, listening to period music, and eating good food in a truly beautiful setting. And while you’re enjoying yourself, you’ll get the satisfaction of  knowing that you’re supporting young people who will be the future of agriculture in our nation.