Each year in early June, Ault Park is filled with some of the most amazing works of art to be seen in the Tri-State. This coming Sunday, June 10, will mark the 35th Concours d’Elegance with a collection of over 200 of the most beautiful, rare, important and remarkable vehicles you could imagine.

While the Concours, which has partnered with the Arthritis Foundation to raise money for research, is a three-day event featuring a dinner, an auction, a party, a countryside cruising tour, and much more – it is Sunday’s gathering of magnificent machines that is the highlight.

This year's featured marque is "A Century of American Muscle"

In addition to the regular 12 different traditional classes (as well as a celebration of MG cars, historic dragsters and vintage wooden boats), this year’s main feature is “A Century of American Power.” Included are five classes of high-powered American classics.

It is easy for someone to go to Ault Park on the day of the Concours and wander around in awe of these beautiful automobiles. The truth is that a lot of hard work and effort goes into tracking down and securing all of the cars that are on display.

Since 2008 the Chairman of the Car Selection Committee has been Fred Jones. “I have been involved with the Car Selection Committee since 2002,” he says. His wife, Evelyn, had worked for the Arthritis Foundation and had mentioned to them that Fred was a self-proclaimed car nut.

“The next year I became more active with the committee helping out the American Performance recruiters (Muscle Cars). I eventually took on the Collector Asian responsibilities as well when Toyota became a sponsor,” he adds.

“I work with a regular group of about 30 car recruiters who have their areas of expertise,” says Jones. That includes people who are knowledgeable in such areas as Classics, Antiques, Sports Cars, Racing, Collector American, American Performance, etc. “We have a rotating group of Special Display recruiters who have an expertise in a specific class of vehicle. This year we have Reed Tarwater of Indianapolis assembling the Celebration of Morris Garages – MG, Lou Rath and the Antique Boat Center folks assembling our Antique Boat Class, and Bill Sherman and Mark Fisk doing the Historic Dragsters,” he explains.

Many of the cars featured are of important historic significance

With so many volunteers involved looking to secure so many vehicles, the job can be quite lengthy. “We are looking for cars all year round. Our recruiters are active in the car collection/show/Concours community around the country and solicit cars from other shows to nominate for our Concours. Our formal nomination process starts in November when the call for nomination is sent out. We start selection in January and try to finish by April,” Jones says.

Jones also says that, although everyone involved is accomplished in knowing what to look for in the highest quality vehicles, the trick is not to think like a judge, but rather to think like one of the Concours patrons when making selections.

“Our selection process is more geared toward the patrons of the show. We have a strict criteria for the types of vehicles when can accept into the Concours. We can only accept original, not modified or customized, vehicles with some significance, either historical or rarity. We strive to provide a fresh variety of display vehicles for the patrons to keep them coming back year after year and to grow the attendance,” he explains.

In order to keep each year’s group of vehicles fresh, Jones explains that there is a two year waiting period before cars can be selected again. “There are exceptions, mainly for Best of Class or if the car will fit into a Featured Marque or Special Display that is planned for the next year,” he adds.

According to Jones, there are some very exciting cars that are going to be on display at this year’s event. “There are too many exciting cars to mention here,” he says. But some that are worth looking for on the Ault Park lawn include: a 1933 Murphy-bodied Supercharged Duesenberg, a 1937 Cadillac Imperial Fleetwood that was owned by MGM, a rare 1969 Ford Fairlane Cobra Formal Roof, a 1977 RHD Japanese Fairlady 280ZX, a 1968 Bizzarini 5300 Strada Spider Tiger, among many others.

Classic cars in amazing, all-original condition - like this Packard - are everywhere.

“We are also working on some last-minute additions that are truly significant cars as well that have won Best of Shows at a couple of major Concours,” says Jones.

From Jones’ perspective, some of the hardest cars to find and get to attend the Concours are the Classics. “These cars are in high demand at all of the Concours and can only appear at so many shows,” he says, adding, “typically, the owners are older and have cut back their schedules.”

Like anyone who has attended the Concours over the years, Jones has his favorite cars that he has seen on display. “One of my personal favorites was the 1933 MG PA Airline which is coming back this year as part of the MG special display. Most of my favorites are in the American Performance class because those are the cars that I grew up with and have owned or driven,” he says.

Currently Jones is the owner of a classic sports car that hails from Japan, a 1972 Datsun 240Z of which he is the original owner – so it is little wonder that he enjoys the high performance rides that he gets to choose.

Jones admits that being part of the selection committee and choosing all of the great cars that people are going to get to see is great fun. Still, he gets most of his satisfaction elsewhere. “Being able to work for the benefit of the Juvenile Arthritis Alliance is the best part of being involved with the Ault Park Concours,” he says.

In addition to all of the great vehicles that will be on display at this year’s event, there is also an amazing Jay Leno Raffle where the winner will receive a paid trip to the entertainer’s Big Dog Garage. For more information on this, all of the Concours events and activities or to purchase tickets go to their web site at www.ohioconcours.com.

On June 11, Ault Park will be once again turned into the most unique museum in the Tri-State as the art of American Muscle takes center stage at this year’s Concours d’Elegance.