The South Florida sun illuminated acres of gleaming chrome and brilliant paint in a rainbow palette of colors here Sunday in what served as a field of dreams, car buff division.
"It's like going to a museum," said Mitchell Kaminsky, a Boca Raton business man, of the 8th annual Concours d'Elegance. "For some it's a chance to show off their cars, and for others it's just a chance to revisit their youth and appreciate what's out here."
What visitors to the Boca Raton Resort & Club saw were more than 200 rare and vintage cars and motorcycles entered by owners competing for awards based on the vehicles' condition and authenticity.
The show also serves as a benefit for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Broward County. Event chairman Jamie McDonnell said the weekend affair would raise more than $1 million.
Most of the cars on display were restored to pristine condition. But one of the vehicles drawing major attention from those strolling the grounds was covered in dust, had blistered paint and a convertible top in tatters.
"We pulled it out of a barn in Pennsylvania last year," said Kevin Watts of the 1935 Mercedes-Benz Cabriolet A, one only a few of its kind known to exist. "And it runs like a Swiss watch."
The unrestored Mercedes – which Watts said may have once been owned by the Nazis – was an example of a fairly new category in classic car competitions called Preservation, for vehicles on which no work has been done.
Wayne Carini, host of 'Chasing Classic Cars' on the Velocity channel, is a fan. "Twenty years ago we would have said, 'Oh. My God, that car needs a complete restoration," said Carini, who served as grand marshal of the event.
"But now, I don't think a car like that should be touched. Its condition is its history."
Alas, Watts said that the owner of the 1935 Mercedes, an Orlando man, is planning to restore the car. "We think this car deserves to be flawless," said Watts.
But a few yards away from the Mercedes, another eye-catcher in original condition, a black 1957 Ford Thunderbird, will stay just as it is, said owner Larry Coe, 71, of Boca Raton.
"It's all original and it drives like a brand new car," said Coe, who works for a Fort Lauderdale holding company. "I do shine it a lot, but I won't be changing anything."
The Concours d'Elegance began Friday with a party in the hangar at Boca Aviation, and continued Saturday at the Boca Raton Resort with a dinner and performance by comedian Wayne Brady.