Generations of Motoring History
Newport, Rhode Island was the birthplace of motor racing in America, thanks to Willie K. Vanderbilt. A young man at the turn of the century, Willie K. bought a Daimler Phoenix for $10,000, which would translate to about $250,000 in current dollars. His friends soon caught onto the motoring craze and in a matter of months they were all racing around the famed Ocean Drive, bragging that they would cruise along at over 60 miles per hour. They were quickly met with neighborhood backlash as their public road racing became hazardous, and so they took their sport to Newport’s horse racing track. It was there, in September of 1900, that the famed Vanderbilt Cup began to take shape.
Audrain’s Newport Concours & Motor Week is a celebration of the history of sportsmanship and motoring in Newport, Rhode Island.
Save the Date
October 3rd - 6th 2019
A Message From Our Director
We are proud to welcome you to the inaugural Audrain’s Newport Concours & Motor Week presented by the Audrain Automobile Museum.
This world class event will bring the best of the motoring world to our renowned East Coast city rich with automotive history dating back to the dawn of the motoring age.
The events during this week will be hosted at some of Newport’s most notable locations; the historic mansions of Bellevue Avenue, the International Tennis Hall of Fame, the Audrain Automobile Museum, the Redwood Library and Athenaeum, the National Museum of American Illustration, the Newport Pell Bridge, and local city and state parks.
The city of Newport has long celebrated the essence of history, sport and luxury, and we are proud to add another chapter to Newport’s book of automotive fascination. The sporting history of Newport dates back to before our country was formally established; the city was a major trading center with other East Coast ports like New York City and Charleston, South Carolina. Over the years, Newport turned into an epicenter for American sailing, with casuals and competitors tuned into major events like the America’s Cup that took place here throughout time.
Towards the end of the 19th century, the Vanderbilt family called Newport their home. As an heir to one of the grandest fortunes in our country’s history, William Kissam Vanderbilt – Willie K for short - had strong interests in yachting and horse racing, but automobiles gripped his attention when they became accessible at the turn of the century. In what’s considered the first sanctioned oval-track race in our country’s history, Willie K. raced wealthy friends and fellow pioneering gear-heads at Newport’s Aquidneck Park horse track, where the Newport State Airport now resides.
We are also delighted to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Claiborne Pell Newport Bridge, with it serving as the beginning of our Saturday morning Tour d’Elegance . We will reenact the original ribbon cutting ceremony from 1969 and stage a photoshoot atop the bridge, and continue the Tour d’Elegance around picturesque Newport ending on the famed Bellevue Ave.
Grammy award-winning artists and other distinguished musicians will perform at the Friday night concert hosted at the International Tennis Hall of Fame. A celebrity symposium and book signing will also be held at the Tennis Hall of Fame, eminent motoring enthusiasts such as Jay Leno and others will be in attendance.
Each manufacturer will tell the unique story of their brand individually at historically important Newport locations throughout the week. All marque lawn displays will be free to the public for the duration of the Motor Week.
The week will bring regional and national car club shows to various locations throughout Newport, and we are excited to host for the first time in any concours history, the 30 Under 30 Concours class; designed for car owners under 30 years old who have built their car with less than $30,000.
Our Concours d’Elegance held on Sunday will include some of the finest judges from around the globe, headed by world renowned concours judge and motoring expert, Donald Osborne. The week will culminate by awarding the Best in Show trophy; designed by Concours Director, Rick Schad and sculpted by noted artist and sculptor Brian Life. This bespoke trophy pays homage to Willie K. Vanderbilt, his 1900 Daimler Phoenix, and the origins of Newport’s profound automotive history.
With less than a year until the first ever Audrain’s Newport Concours and Motor Week, here at Audrain our engines are running in preparation to further add to the rich automotive history of Newport!
Director of Audrain’s Newport Concours & Motor Week