Sometimes, when studying history, it is nice to go to the source of various events. While that may not always be possible, quite often there are places that have gathered remnants of times gone bye for all to enjoy (Photo 1).

Carillon Historical Park is such a place. With a tag line claiming, “learn how Dayton changed the world,” this 65-acre park is nestled in the Miami Valley and features exhibits extolling everything from the innovations of National Cash Register to the only airplane designated as a National Historic Landmark (Photo 2), the 1905 Wright Flyer III, the world’s first practical aircraft.

With a good deal of space dedicated to the many exploits of Orville and Wilbur Wright (Photo 3), it could be easy to overlook the oldest existing American-built locomotive, the exhibit of the Great 1913 Flood, or the Deed’s Carillon, which gives the park its name. Overall there are 30 exhibits and over three million artifacts on display at this magnificent park.

Earlier this month, though, even more history rolled into Carillon Historical Park in the form of the 10th Annual Dayton Concours d’Elegance. Sitting on the lawn under a brilliant sun were close to 200 pieces of rolling historical art. Each had its own story and each filled in a small piece of the puzzle to the history of automobiles.

By reaching the milestone of one full decade, the Concours organizers made sure to celebrate the history of their event by inviting past winners such as a 1957 Aston Martin DB 2/4 Mk III (Photo 4). First introduced in 1953, the DB2 series was the longest running Aston Martin car, until the 1970s. Also part of this class was a 1928 Auburn 8-88 Speedster (Photo 5), which featured some of the most advanced engineering for its time, including an early example of hydraulic brakes. In all more than a dozen past class winners were on hand to share the history of this event.

There were also a lot of history lessons to be found at this year’s concours. For example, there was a special class detailing the Cars of France, a group that most Americans know little about. There were cars such as a 1971 Citroen DS-21 (Photo 6), one of the most technically advanced cars of its time that made extensive use of hydraulics. There was also a 1929 Bugatti Type 35 B (Photo 7) with tons of racing history in events including Monaco, the French Grand Prix, and the Spanish Grand Prix.

Another featured class looked at 100 Years of BMW. The history of this iconic marque ranges from the small city car that saved the company, the Isetta 300 (Photo 8), to the modern sports Z8 (Photo 9). The Isetta was an Italian design that BMW purchased and sold in huge quantities while the Z8 was a 21st Century car designed in the image of one of their most iconic two-seaters.

BMW wasn’t the only German marque to have a featured class, there were the Air Cooled Volkswagens. This included the early cars ranging from the Beetle to VW’s version of a sports car, the Karmann Ghia (Photo 10), which sported German engineering with Italian design.

Examples of automobiles from throughout the years were on display, ranging from antiques such as a 1918 Willys Overland 85B (Photo 11) to classics built before and after World War II, including one of the most significant cars of its era, a 1948 Tucker (Photo 12), one of only 51 built.

History lessons were available centering on the decade of the 1950s, including a 1959 Edsel Villager (Photo 13). Edsel was a line started by Ford hoping to capitalize on a mid-level car but was such a disaster and cost them so much money that the name is now synonymous with failure.

The history lessons continued through the 1960s. One interesting example from the 60s was this 1963 Studebaker Avanti (Photo 14). The Avanti was so well engineered that when Studebaker was forced to close its doors, a group of investors bought the rights to this car and kept manufacturing the vehicles through 1965. The Avanti resurfaced in 1982 and continued to be sold into 2011 under various ownership groups.

Foreign cars were also part of the history lessons strewn around the lawn at Carillon Park. One of the cars that infatuated US service men during World War II and started the import of British sports cars was a Triumph 1800 Roadster (Photo 15), such as this example from 1948. Not all of the foreign imports were a success, however. Take, for example, this unique three-wheeled 1973 Reliant Regent 330. This was a design that American buyers shunned.

Sports cars from both sides of the Atlantic were also on hand to tell their story. This 1959 Chevy Corvette (Photo 17) represented Detroit’s first major effort to compete with the British, German, and Italian sports cars that were landing on our shores. This 1968 Porsche 911 L (Photo 18) showed that European manufacturers were not about to give up easily in capturing the heart of American sports car enthusiasts. Indeed, this 2004 Lamborghini Gallardo (Photo 19) showed that the competition was still fierce into the 21st Century.

The history of automobile advancements goes hand-in-hand with the history of automobile racing. The cars at the Concours were sure to include some of that history as well. From the early days of racing through to today’s sophisticated cars, racing has often led the way to many new developments in the industry. This 1951 Packard 200 Deluxe Club Sedan (Photo 20) competed in numerous Pan-American races leading to breakthroughs in mechanical technology. Imagine the technology being spawned by today’s Indianapolis and Grand Prix cars.

Not all cars were made specifically for racing. Some had specific tasks in mind when they were designed. The most obvious, perhaps, has been the pick-up truck. This 1979 Chevrolet Silverado C-10 Fleetside Shortbed (Photo 21) is a prime example. This 1944 Mack Fire Truck Model B (Photo 22) is another.

Some cars were built with the sole purpose of transporting the family, such as this 1948 Dodge D-24 Custom (Photo 23), which had such family oriented extras as a three speed transmission, a six volt battery electrical system, and a push button radio.

The Dayton Concours d’Elegance not only exposed visitors to the history of these amazing automobiles but throughout its decade long existence has supported history in a very big way. As is the case with all Concours events around the country, Dayton’s event has chosen a very worthy charity. Proceeds from their numerous events over the Concours weekend are donated to the Carillon Historical Park. Some of that money is currently being spent to renovate some of the many buildings and exhibits in the park. This way, when the 11th Dayton Concours d’Elegance comes around there will be even more great history for all to enjoy.

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