A Celebration of the Art & Design of the Automobile

A Celebration Of The Art & Design Of The Automobile

Des Moines Concours D’elegance Raises Money For The Fight Against Childhood Cancer

Members of the Iowa Automobile Heritage Foundation presented a $20,000 check to the Children’s Cancer Connection. The money was raised through the annual Des Moines Concours d’Elegance held in Downtown Des Moines. It was also announced today that the 2017 Concours will be held Sunday, September10th.

“The goal of the Iowa Automotive Heritage Foundation is to raise awareness and celebrate the history of the automobile through the Des Moines Concours d’Elegance,” said Rich Collins, Co-Chairman, Des Moines Concours d’Elegance. “We are proud that this event continues to help Children’s Cancer Connection in the battle against childhood cancer.”

The donation from the Concours will assist the organization to succeed in its mission to enhance the quality of life for families affected by childhood cancer by providing programs for education, recreation and support.

“Des Moines Concours d ’Elegance has grown tremendously in both event size and charitable impact since our partnership began a few years ago,” said Sarah Hanson, Special Event Manager. “Children’s Cancer Connection is grateful for their impact, not only financially, but for the unique opportunity to reach the Des Moines community through collectible automobiles.”

The 2017 Des Moines Concours d’Elegance will again be held on closed streets surrounding the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park in downtown Des Moines. Free and open to the public this year’s event will once again present a carefully chosen exhibition of more than 120 vintage and classic motor vehicles, selected to celebrate the fine art, design evolution and amazing innovations of motor vehicles through the years and the talented designers and engineers who created them.

“We are looking forward to the 2017 Concours with a fine lineup of unique and meaningful automobiles and looking forward to raising more funds for the Children’s Cancer Connection through the event,” said Collins. “Families are at the core of our community and cancer within a child is the ultimate enemy that we should all rally to combat.”

Children’s Cancer Connection serves all families affected by childhood cancer who are living, treated, or diagnosed in the state of Iowa. Children’s Cancer Connection does not charge families for its services, relying on donations and volunteers.

“We help regardless of treatment outcome by providing emotional support through camps and retreats, hospital programs, and support services that help patients and families in their time of need,” said Hanson.

The Des Moines Concours is made possible through the support of major sponsors including, Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Community Choice Credit Union, Nationwide Insurance, SACMI USA Group, Bankers Trust, EMC Insurance, MidAmerican Energy, and many other corporate sponsors and individuals.

2016 Winners Announced

September 25, 2016

The Des Moines Concours d’Elegance awarded Best of Show to a 1928 Gardner 85 on Sunday, September 11th, 2016. The car led a field of Class Winners that included well-known makers like Cadillac and lesser-known ones like Economy.

The 1928 Gardner 85 is owned by Robert and Kim Gardner of St. Paul, Minnesota. The owner is not related to the Gardner family that manufactured the automobiles. Through his extensive research into the manufacturer, Gardner developed and now manages the Gardner Owners’ Registry and holds the self-imposed title of “official historian” for the marque.

Pictures of winners are available in our Gallery.


Best of Show

  • 1928 Gardner 85 owned by Robert and Kim Gardner, St. Paul, MN

Full Classics

  • First Place: 1928 Gardner 85 owned by Robert and Kim Gardner, St. Paul, MN
  • Second Place: 1924 Packard 143 Fleetwood, Don and Jean Hanson, Rochester, MN
  • Third Place: 1923 Paige-Detroit 6-70 Sport Phaeton, John Quam, Montara, CA


  • First Place: 1957 Cadillac Brougham owned by Gus Frics, Omaha, NE
  • Second Place: 1965 Cadillac DeVille Convertible, Rich Willis, Waukee, IA
  • Third Place: 1934 Cadillac V16 Town Car, David Mitchell, Geneseo, IL


  • First Place: 1966 AC Cobra 427 owned by Susan Wahlert, Dubuque, IA
  • Second Place: 2007 Aston Martin V8 Vantage, Chris Mulvihill, Chicago, IL
  • Third Place: 2006 Ford GT, Bob and Nonie Doty, Van Meter, IA

 Vintage Motorcycles

  • First Place: 1935 Morgan Sports owned by Stephen Meyers, Ames, IA
  • Second Place: 1967 BMW Model R60/2, Robert Maloy, Ankeny, IA
  • Third Place: 1986 Honda Model Z50R, Randy Sobotka, Urbandale, IA

Brass Era Antiques

  • First Place: 1909 Economy Model G owned by Brady and Emily Mann, Roanoke, IL
  • Second Place: 1901 Sears Model K, Don and Dick Pauley, Clear Lake, IA
  • Third Place: 1916 Rauch and Lang Brougham, Bob and Vicki Gerdes, Burlington, IA

Nickel Era Antiques

  • First Place: 1918 American La France Firetruck owned by David and Leone Junck, Ogden, IA
  • Second Place: 1931 Ford Deluxe Tudor, John and Rosemary McClain, Altoona, IA
  • Third Place: 1924 Franklin Speedster, Tom Chandler, Elkader, IA

Streamline Era Antiques

  • First Place: 1941 Chevrolet Special Deluxe Sport Sedan owned by O.J. and Pat Tomson, Mason City, IA
  • Second Place: 1936 Ford 72-A, Dr. Gary Nutt, Des Moines, IA
  • Third Place: 1940 Chrysler Traveler, John and Alice Bolen, Runnells, IA

Post War Collectibles

  • First Place: 1946 Ford Super Deluxe Station Wagon owned by Dean and Becky Archer, Ankeny, IA
  • Second Place: 1952 MG TD, Hank and Sandy Wood, Des Moines, IA
  • Third Place: 1951 Ford Country Squire, Steve and Martha Davis, Des Moines, IA

Space Age Collectibles

  • First Place: 1971 Oldsmobile 442 W30 owned by Daniel and Nydia Curtis, Oak Grove, MN
  • Second Place: 1956 Ford Thunderbird, Tim and Karanel Larson, Burlington, IA
  • Third Place: 1968 Ford Mustang 65B Coupe, Martin and Tari Rupp, Weeping Water, NE
  • Special Recognition: 1958 Dodge Regal Lancer, Randy Guyer, Minnetonka, MN


  • First Place: 1913 Hudson 6-54 owned by Carl Cedergren, Stillwater, MN
  • Second Place: 1936 Railton Boattail Speedster, John and Agnes Williams, Cedar Rapids, IA
  • Third Place: 1954 Hudson Hornet, John and Robyn Forkner, Spring Hill, KS


  • First Place: 1961 Dodge Dart Phoenix owned by Brent Manson, Minneapolis, MN
  • Second Place: 1950 Oldsmobile Rocket 88, Max Bowman, Des Moines, IA
  • Third Place: 1926 Buick Club Roadster, Frank Cownie, Des Moines, IA


  • First Place: 1946 Ford Pickup owned by Marilyn and Wayne Blackmon, Tulsa, OK
  • Second Place: 1949 International Harvester KB-3, Brian and Micholyn Fajen, West Des Moines, IA
  • Third Place: 1974 Mazda Rotary Engine Pickup, Dr. David Suarez, Ames, IA


  • First Place: 1930 Ford Model A PU #77 owned by Harold Gutnick and Butch Smith, Pleasantville, IA
  • Second Place: 2015 Epperson Modlite #46z, Ed and Jane Zehm, Ames, IA
  • Third Place: 1937 Chevy Business Coupe #777, Harold Gutnick and Butch Smith, Pleasantville, IA

Hagerty Youth Judging

This year’s Hagerty Youth Judging included kids from Children’s Cancer Connection.

  • First Place: 1958 Dodge Regal Lancer, Randy Guyer, Minnetonka, MN
  • Second Place: 1901 Sears Model K, Don and Dick Pauley, Clear Lake, IA
  • Third Place: 1918 American La France Firetruck owned by David and Leone Junck, Ogden, IA

Children’s Cancer Organization Helped By Des Moines Concours D’elegance

November 20, 2015

DES MOINES – The gathering of 170 iconic cars and motorcycles on a beautiful Iowa day has provided $25,000 to support families of Iowa children affected by cancer. The Iowa Automobile Heritage Foundation, organizers of the 2015 Des Moines Concours d’ Elegance automobile exhibition, today presented the proceeds of the September 13th event to Children’s Cancer Connection. The funds represent the contributions of corporate sponsors of the show held at the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park. Major contributors included Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Nationwide, MidAmerican and Iowa Realty. The event also partnered with American Dream Machines, who presented an $8,000 check to Children’s Cancer Connection.

“This year, the Des Moines Concours d’Elegance celebrated the art and design of the automobile, including the first cars built by the Duesenberg brothers here in Des Moines. We do this to support the families of Iowa children whose lives have been turned upside down by cancer,” says Aaron Cooper, co-chairman of the event. “Judging by the crowds that attended and the corporate contributions, the Des Moines Concours succeeded on both counts.”

An estimated 12,000 people attended the two-day event to see antique, classic, collectible and exotic cars as well as special classes featuring Auburns/Cords/Duesenbergs, factory-built high performance cars, small cars, and a reunion of classic Iowa State Patrols cars. Also on display were 24 vintage motorcycles, and a collection of classic tricycles.

Mark Slocum, executive director of Children’s Cancer Connection, said the contribution from the Concours will assist in a wide variety of support services and recreational programs the organization provides to children diagnosed with cancer and their families. Services include camps and retreats, hospital-based programs, support services, family outings, and survivorship services. The nonprofit organization serves approximately 500 Iowa families annually.

“Children’s Cancer Connection is grateful for the generosity of individuals and corporations throughout Iowa for supporting the families we serve,” Slocum said. “We are especially appreciative that the Des Moines Concours d’Elegance has shined a spotlight on the need to support families of children with cancer.”

American Dream Machines also presented a check for $8,000 to Children’s Cancer Connection. “In addition to our sponsorship of the Des Moines Concours, we hosted an ‘American Graffiti Night’ on Saturday, September 12th, to raise money for Children’s Cancer Connection” said Doug Klein, owner of American Dream Machines. Located adjacent to the show field, American Dream Machines is one of the largest full service classic car shops in the country.

“Wellmark congratulates The Iowa Automobile Heritage Foundation for their work to benefit the Children’s Cancer Connection through the Concours auto show,” said John Forsyth, CEO of Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield. “The community continues to embrace this world-class event and the true beneficiary are the families of Iowa kids with cancer.”

“Our long heritage of serving drivers at Nationwide Insurance, along with our partner Hagerty Insurance, creates a natural bond with the Des Moines Concours,” stated Jeff Rommel, president of P&C Independent Distribution at Nationwide. “Supporting the great efforts of Children’s Cancer Connection as they help families through the challenges of childhood cancer give us pride in our sponsorship.”

In addition to presenting the check to Children’s Cancer Connection, organizers announced that the Des Moines Concours d’Elegance will return to the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park on the weekend of Sunday, September 11th, 2016.

2015 Concours D’elegance Winners

September 21, 2015

On behalf of the entire board and committee members, we would like to thank everyone that came out for the event. It was another successful year, showcasing some of the best vehicles Des Moines, Iowa and the surrounding states have to offer. We’d also like to congratulate all of this year’s winners.

Best of Show
1930 Cord L-29 Cabriolet, Jeff Schriener, Mondovi, WI

Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg Class 
1930 Cord L-29 Cabriolet, Jeff Schriener, Mondovi, WI
1935 Auburn 851 Speedster, Bill Knight, Brodhead, WI
1929 Duesenberg Model J Sport Sedan, Richard Quick, St. Louis, MO

Antiques Class
1904 Sandusky Courier, Vicky Anderson, Kanawha, IA
1916 Cadillac Model 53, Andy Flagge, Mason City, IA
1903 Holley, Vicky Anderson, Kanawha, IA

Classics Class
1937 Lincoln K Coupe body by LeBaron, Tom Brace, St. Paul, MN
1934 Aston Martin MKII, Dennis Holloway, Cedar Rapids, IA
1937 Packard Super Eight Touring Sedan, Wendy and Randy McKinnis, Minneapolis, MN

Collectibles Class (Early)
1954 Kaiser Darrin Convertible, Dennis Koch, Quincy, IL
1941 Lincoln 73-B Sedan, Steven Kroeger, Casey, IA
1946 Chevrolet Fleetmaster Wagon, Alan Larson, Burlington, IA

Collectibles Class (Late)
1956 Cadillac Biarritz Convertible, Les Pederson, Dakota Dunes, SD
1959 Edsel Corsair Convertible, Scotty Scott, Ankeny, IA
1962 Thunderbird Sport Roadster, Kendall Reed, West Des Moines, IA

Exotics Class
2013 Ferrari 458 Spyder, Stephen Grubb, Des Moines, IA
2006 Ford GT Coupe, Bob Doty, Van Meter, IA
1973 De Tomaso Pantera GTS, Tom Shinrock, Hiawatha, IA

Factory-Built Performance Automobiles Class
1968 AMC AMX 390, Jerry and Barb Hollom, Minneapolis, MN
1988 Callaway Twin Turbo Corvette, Richard and Jane Hein, Des Moines, IA
1976 Porsche Turbo Carrera Coupe, Douglas and Darcey Schulte, Cumming, IA

Vintage Motorcycles Class
1946 Indian Chief Roadmaster, Gary and Jane Dodge, Des Moines, IA
1973 Kawasaki H2 750 Triple Widow Maker, Ron Lappe, Boone, IA
1971 Montesa Cota 25, Jim Winterer, St. Paul, MN

Survivor Cars Class 
1932 Chevrolet Special Sedan, David and Carol Baker, Kenyon, MN
1952 Nash Ambassador 2-Door Sedan, Jerry Welden, Iowa Falls, IA
1950 Cadillac Series 75 Fleetwood Limousine, Dave Pottebaum, Bondurant, IA

Race Cars Class
1917 Hudson Super Six Dirt Track Speedster, Thomas and Victoria Knight, Hiawatha, IA
1969 Chevrolet Camaro SS Vintage Road Racer, Dan and Mary Harrington, Des Moines, IA
1967 Saab Sonett Bonneville Salt Flat Racer, Tom and Patti Donney, Humbolt, IA

The Little Cars Class
1939 American Bantam Model 60 Deluxe Roadster, David and Connie Schreurs, Oostburg, WI
1969 Subaru Sambar 360 Pickup, Riley Automotive Co., Dubuque, IA
1959 BMW 600 Limousine, Owen and Norma White, Ainsworth, IA

Honorable Mention
1909 Mason Model 12 Touring and Truck, Richard Lichtfeld, Monona, WI

People’s Choice
1976 Porsche Turbo Carrera Coupe, Douglas and Darcey Schulte, Cumming, IA

Hagerty Youth Judging
2013 Ferrari 458 Italia, John Burgeson, Des Moines, IA

2015 Des Moines Concours D’elegance: In The Shadow Of The Father Of The Used Car Trade

July 8, 2015

Raise the name “Cunningham” among members of the Classic Car Club of America and wait for the response. Roughly sixty percent will shrug their shoulders. Perhaps twenty percent, comprised primarily of Baby Boomers, may wax on about West Palm Beach racing legend Briggs Cunningham who, in the early 1950s produced his venerable Cunningham racers and road cars. Another twenty percent, likely from the elder G.I. Generation, may recite tales of James Cunningham, Son and Company, manufacturers of fine quality horse-drawn carriages. In 1908, the latter expanded to produce high-end, conservatively styled limousines, commercial cars and military vehicles. Few members, if any, would mention William Royce Cunningham, the long-forgotten Father of the Used Car Trade.

Born in Burlington, Wisconsin in 1871, William Cunningham managed a creamery there before seeking his fortune as a horse trader with the Chicago stockyards. He came to Iowa in 1892 to visit a brother and never returned. In 1900, he married in nearby Storm Lake and opened an agricultural implement business. Five years later, he opened his first automobile garage, handling a variety of makes and specializing in the economical Jackson.

Cunningham soon realized that dealers across the country were unable to sell their quotas of new cars. “I told my wife that I could make a killing if she’d go to a larger city with me,” Cunningham recalled after his retirement in 1935. “She said she’d go to Des Moines.” So, in 1910, the Cunninghams moved 150 miles southeast. They opened the Cunningham Auto Clearing House at 1017 Walnut Street.

Des Moines’ automotive legacy

At the turn of the century, a hotbed of transportation technology existed near the fork of the Des Moines and Raccoon Rivers. Enterprises were haphazardly scattered across the business district. In 1887, Scottish-born chemist William Morrison had developed America’s first electric car in a secret laboratory under the Victoria Hotel on Fifth Street. Nearby, small shops had produced horseless carriages and chug buggies with various name plates including Desmoines, Eldridge, Monarch and Wells. In 1906, brothers Fred and August Duesenberg assembled their first car—a Mason—in a blacksmith shop and established the Duesenberg Motor Company a few years later.

The automotive entrepreneurs were especially attracted to an unpaved, undeveloped real estate district two miles west of the Capitol building, soon to be known as “Auto Row”. There, within the borders of Walnut Street and Grand Avenue between 10th and 17th, they easily demonstrated and repaired their machines. New showrooms included broad expanses of mosaic floors, pillarless truss roofs, and large plate glass windows and garage-style doors. Many dealerships incorporated ramps or elevators to a second-floor showroom.

At the time, new-car prices were determined by manufacturers, just as they are today. But there was no “Kelley Blue Book” to establish the value of second-hand machines. So Cunningham convinced the Auto Row dealers to ask him how much to allow for their trades. “I didn’t think the term ‘second-hand car’ sounded very appealing, so I started adopting the term ‘used car’,” Cunningham said, “and people have used it ever since.”

In 1915, Iowa led the nation in the proportion of automobiles to population with 145,134 vehicles on the road. To support the demand, a vibrant sales and service industry rapidly emerged in downtown Des Moines. The city’s car dealerships, which totaled just 16 in 1908, had blossomed to 36. Cunningham claimed to have appraised 84 different makes, including Aerocar, Autocar, Brooks, Brush, Cameron, Duer, Dolson, Fuller, Herreshoff, Holmes, Marvel, Meteor, Nyberg, Sampson, Schacht, Thomas and Wayne.

“From the Des Moines office, I sold automobiles all over the nation,” he said. “I’d buy up the stocks of cars which dealers couldn’t sell, and I got most of them at a pretty reasonable price. Des Moines dealers were very kind to me.” Then he grinned and said, “Tried not to sell a ‘runabout’…that’s a car that would ‘run about’ a block before breaking down!”

By 1935, William Cunningham retired to rural Storm Lake where he died in 1953. The Duesenbergs had also moved on, relocating first to St. Paul, Minnesota, and then to Indianapolis to fame and fortune. But the citizens of Des Moines never forgot them. In 1997, a commemorative plaque was installed at 915 Grand Avenue on the site of the Duesenberg’s shop. It now marks the northeast entrance to the new “Western Gateway,” which includes the picturesque John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park.

Although the Cunningham Auto Clearing House was dismantled decades ago, the proprietor would feel right at home. In his shadow has emerged one of the most elegant displays of “used cars” in the Midwest—the annual Des Moines Concours d’Elegance.

For more information on the 2015 Des Moines Concours d’Elegance visit www.DesMoinesConcours.com.

— 30 —

Original content copyrighted and contributed by Robert D. Cunningham, June 30, 2015.

Winners Of 2014 Des Moines Concours D’elegance

September 29, 2014

We’re pleased to announce the following list of winners our 2014 event:

Best of Show

  • 1924 Bentley 3 Liter Park Ward, owned by Dennis Holloway of Marion, Iowa

People’s Choice

  • 1929 Packard 645 Deluxe Eight Dual-Cowl Phaeton, owned by Heartland Acres Agribition Center of Independence, Iowa

Hagerty Junior Judging

  • 1951 Studebaker Regal Deluxe Champion Convertible, owned by Patricia Schnepf of Johnston, Iowa

Preservation Class

  • First: 1950 Olds Rocket 88, owned by Max Bowman of Des Moines, Iowa
  • Second: 1916 Buick D-45 Touring, owned by Larry Stearns-Beatty and Sandy Beatty of Shellsburg, Iowa
  • Third: 1949 Buick Roadmaster, owned by Gene and Betty Upstill of Gilbert, Iowa

Antique Class

  • First: 1914 Kissel Semi Racer, owned by John Quam of Montara, California
  • Second: 1916 Rauch & Lang, owned by Bob Gerdes of Burlington, Iowa
  • Third: 1916 Maxwell, owned by Don and Dick Pauley of Clear Lake and Jefferson, Iowa

The Classics

  • First: 1932 Auburn 12-106A Phaeton Convertible, owned by Robert Pass of St. Louis, Missouri
  • Second: 1925 Kissel Gold Bug Roadster, owned by Grant J Quam LLC of Fairview, Texas
  • Third: 1931 Pierce Arrow 43 7-Passenger Sedan, owned by Chris Diekman of Swisher, Iowa

Rolls Royce and Bentley Class

  • First: 1924 Bentley 3 Liter Park Ward, owned by Dennis Holloway of Marion, Iowa
  • Second: 1988 Rolls Royce Corniche II, owned by James and Cecelia Conley of Ballwin, Missouri
  • Third: 1923 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost, owned by Dennis Holloway of Marion, Iowa

Pre-War Collectibles Class

  • First: 1930 Hudson Coupe, owned by Charles Bogaard of Leighton, Iowa
  • Second: 1932 Buick Model 67 4-Door Sedan, owned by Carl Moyer of Ankeny, Iowa
  • Third: 1937 Nash Ambassador, owned by Dave Carnock of Ankeny, Iowa

Post-War Collectibles Class

  • First: 1954 Buick Century Convertible, owned by Steven Fox of Des Moines, Iowa
  • Second: 1946 Ford Woody Wagon, owned by Dean and Rebecca Archer of Ankeny, Iowa
  • Third: 1952 MG TD, owned by Hank and Sandy Wood of Des Moines, Iowa

Chrysler Class

  • First: 1931 Chrysler CG Imperial, owned by Carl and Shirley Wohlfarth of Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Second: 1948 Plymouth Special Deluxe, owned by William Haire of Omaha, Nebraska
  • Third: 1957 DeSoto Fireflite, owned by Dean Bibler of Johnston, Iowa

Ford Mustang Class

  • First: 1966 Ford Mustang Shelby GT350H, owned by Mike and Rachelle Breen of Ankeny, Iowa
  • Second: 1969 Ford Mustang Mach 1 428CJ, owned by Craig Steinkamp of Des Moines, Iowa
  • Third: 1965 Ford Mustang GT Fastback, owned by Steve Kamps of Polk City, Iowa

Vintage Motorcycle Class

  • First: 1932 Triumph CD 500, owned by Randy and Kenner Baxter of Marne, Iowa
  • Second: 1918 Excelsior Autocycle Series 18, owned by Ron and Cheryl Johnson of Omaha, Nebraska
  • Third: 1948 Indian Chief, owned by Chris and Julie Hammond of Marshalltown, Iowa

Exotic Car Class

  • First: 2005 Ford GT, owned by David Greenspon of West Des Moines, Iowa
  • Second: 1972 DeTomaso Pantera, owned by Bob and Mitzi Provin of Newton, Iowa
  • Third: 1985 Porsche Carrera, owned by Scott Churilla of Omaha, Nebraska

Twelve classes of sculptured machines – from Classics to Porsches, Corvettes to Volkswagons. All on display around the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park.