In the early 1990s, during construction of the remarkable Ironstone Amphitheater at Ironstone Vineyards, owners John and Gail Kautz attended the famous Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. There they met Chris Bock, now Pebble’s chief judge. They returned to Murphys with thoughts of changing their annual youth-in-agriculture fundraising gala into a significant concours d’elegance. As their plans developed, they stopped construction of the amphitheatre and redesigned the stage to accept the weight of automobiles, particularly heavy classics.
In 1993, the Ironstone Concours d’Elegance held its first show on the last Saturday of September. This tradition has continued for more than two decades. The annual event attracts 300+ antique and classic cars from all over the West, with side displays of vintage trucks, travel trailers, motorcycles, racecars and wooden boats.
Ironstone’s honored marques vary from year to year. Names like Stutz, Packard, Duesenberg, Pierce-Arrow, Bentley, Rolls-Royce, Jaguar and other legendary classics are regularly featured. Emphasis is likewise given to sports cars, early Fords, classic Thunderbirds and Corvettes, coachbuilt luxury marques as well as unrestored and original automobiles. The event often hosts honored guests like Wayne Carini, Steve Moal, Arlen Ness and others who mingle with the crowd and offer first-hand expertise regarding many of the vehicles on the field.
The Ironstone Concours d’Elegance is hosted and managed by the non-profit Ironstone Concours Foundation. For years, concours proceeds have benefited Central and Northern California FFA and 4-H youth activities, including Horse Classics, Guide Dog and Service Dog Programs, Computer Corps and Citizenship Service Learning.
Within the concours, you’ll find demonstrations and projects populated by young people from local 4-H and FFA groups. There is usually also a petting corral with farm animals. Additionally, the Ironstone Concours Foundation has pledged generous support to the building fund for the California State FFA headquarters in Galt, California, and makes annual donations to the California State Fair Scholarship Fund and the Calaveras County Fair Scholarship program.
The mission of the Ironstone Concours Foundation is to organize and display historic vehicles — to encourage the appreciation of technology, innovation, design and culture — and to support the future of agricultural in California through the involvement and sponsorship of the region’s youth.