LEXINGTON, Ky. — What else could it be called but the Tour d'Elegance? Once a year, vintage Rolls Royces, Jaguars, Alfa Romeos, and even Corvettes and MGs parade serenely through the roads of Bluegrass country. It's one of the most popular events in the Concours d'Elegance, a four-day celebration of our love affair with beautiful automobiles. The ninth annual event takes place on July 19-22.
Last year, event co-chairs Tom and Connie Jones led the 90-mile drive in their 1936 Rolls Royce 20/25. “As a young man I loved muscle cars,” Tom said. “But then I started noticing the lines on Italian cars, and then I discovered the classics. They are unique.” Tom likened becoming a classic car aficionado to becoming a wine connoisseur — leaving the “rot gut” behind as he became more knowledgeable and sophisticated. He has a similar passion for the landscape of central Kentucky. “We have some of the most wonderful roads here,” he said. Each year the tour follows a different route and there's little chance that organizers will run out of good options. “The only criteria are that we pass through horse country and that drivers discover something that is specifically Kentucky,” Tom said.
This year's route on Sunday, July 22, winds through the rolling hills of horse country, visits Elk Creek Vineyards, Kentucky's largest winery, and features lunch at Fasig-Tipton, the oldest thoroughbred auction company in North America. The tour, by the way, is not limited to classic cars, but welcomes those of us with Maserati tastes and Mazda budgets. For more information, see www.keenelandconcours.com.
Photo of Tom Jones with his Rolls Royce by Patricia Harris for the Boston Globe.