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Councours D’elegance: Lincolns and Duesenbergs and Packards, oh my

By Kirsten Nelson

Need to rev up for an exciting weekend after toiling through your classwork? Check out the engines in the vintage cars at the Councours D’elegance car show in Des Moines.

For the 12th year in a row, the people at the Salisbury House & Gardens in Des Moines, IA have taken cars a step further, turning the industrial-age creations into works of art in Councours D’elegance—an annual automobile exhibition showcasing cars of historic significance and design excellence.

“The Salisbury Concours d’Elegance is more than just a car show,” said Katie Wengert, the Director of Marketing & Community Relations at Salisbury House. “It is a time-capsule, a way of showing the modern American where the mode of transportation we all take for granted has evolved from.”

With over 128 rare and select vehicles and some of the most expensive automobiles that still exist for private sale, displaying cars from across the U.S. and Canada alike, the event is a rare opportunity to see American automobile history and beauty.
The green rolling lawns and vintage stonework of the Salisbury House and Gardens makes for an ideal location to host the event. The House and Gardens was originally built to house the rare art and literary collection of Carl and Edith Weeks, who dedicated much of their fortune to preserving history and enriching cultural artifacts.

“Its like the realtor’s code,” Wengert said. “Location, location, location! The beauty surrounding the cars makes them seem like jewels on the country-side”.

The Salisbury Car Show exhibits vintage vehicles prior to 1923, collectible vehicles up to 1960 and special feature automobiles that may reflect any period. The event organizers have aimed to make the show enjoyable for all audiences.

“[This year’s organizers] worked hard to make the car show accessible and enjoyable for all ages and knowledge levels,” Wengert said.
For those who know a carburetor from a tire iron, the special features which will complement the classic cars this year include the 100th Anniversary of Chevrolet in honor of racer Louis Chevrolet and automotive entrepreneur William Durant, the 125th anniversary edition of the Mercedes and a gathering of some of the world’s most beautiful, powerful, rare and expensive contemporary automobiles—including key models of Packards, Cadillacs, Lincolns, Rolls Royces, Auburns, Cords, Duesenbergs and Pierce-Arrows. Vintage motorcycles and hardwood bodied cars from the originals to the luxury-class will also be featured.

“Food and drinks are served all day and we intentionally tried to make the price accessible for even those paying off student loans,” Wengert said. The tickets are $5 for students 13 years and older, $15 for adults and free for children. All proceeds from the Salisbury Concours d’Elegance benefit the educational programs and restoration work of the Salisbury House Foundation.

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    Lou MorganNov 5, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    To whom it may concern. I am retired and have a great love of wood working. I have made several classic wood cars. The first two vehicles are 1930 Dusenberg. The second two are 1930 Fords that were utilized by the Calif. Hwy. Patrol as patrol units. I would like to sell them. Is there an e-mail address available by which I could forward a couple of photos to if anyone is interested? My e-mail contact is: .

    Thank you.

    Lou Morgan