The art of the automobile: La Jolla Concours d’Elegance returns this weekend

The La Jolla Concours d'Elegance
A classic car show at Scripps Park featuring more than 140 automobiles, live music and more culminates the La Jolla Concours d’Elegance, which this year runs April 21-23.
(McFarlane Promotions)

Duesenberg is the marquee car for the three-day automotive festival that kicks off Friday, April 21.


When creating a portrait of the automotive classic Duesenberg, it’s all about the front, according to painter Scott Jacobs.

“The front grille is all chrome, and it has these huge beautiful headlights and spoke wheels,” he said. “It’s a very glitzy car, there are a lot of details. It’s just beautiful.”

Jacobs has been the poster artist for the La Jolla Concours d’Elegance car show for the past 12 years, painting the marquee car each year in a variety of settings and styles.

The poster for the 2023 event, which runs Friday through Sunday, April 21-23, depicts the marquee car, the Duesenberg, in Scripps Park with the La Valencia Hotel in the background.

Though many past paintings have featured one element or a cross-section of the car, this year’s image features three-quarters of the front and took Jacobs a month to complete.

“We wanted as much of the car showing as possible,” Jacobs said. “This year’s image is simpler than past ones, but I never know what is going to inspire me.”

A 1933 Duesenberg sedan is displayed at last year's La Jolla Concours d'Elegance.
(Milan Kovacevic)

A 1933 Duesenberg known as the Twenty Grand will be one of the cars to roll onto the grass at Scripps Park for this year’s Concours d’Elegance.

The Twenty Grand was a one-off custom Rollston Arlington Torpedo-bodied Duesenberg SJ ultra-luxury sedan. Luxury brands Duesenberg and Rollston contracted automobile designer Gordon Buehrig for a design to be the leading “dream car” display representing the progress of the U.S. automotive industry at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair. The design’s initial price tag of $20,000 made it the second most expensive Duesenberg ever built and it is widely considered the most beautiful. It remains one of the most valuable cars in the world.

“It’s a challenge to paint portraits of cars,” Jacobs said. “But it’s an honor to be part of such a great event.”

Concours organizers did not release the poster ahead of time.

The Concours weekend kicks off with a VIP party the night of April 21 at Scripps Park featuring live music, a hosted bar, delicacies from San Diego restaurants and a live auction.

The next day, the Tour d’Elegance will offer an exclusive look at three rare, private car collections, participation in a parade and meals from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Later, about 75 Porsches will line Prospect Street for free viewing from 5 to 9 p.m.

The full Concours car show will be from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 23 in Scripps Park, featuring more than 140 classic automobiles, live music, and a champagne and honey tasting garden. General admission starts at $95.

Car lovers fill Scripps Park in 2022 for the La Jolla Concours d'Elegance.
(Milan Kovacevic)

The event returned to La Jolla in 2022 after being absent the previous two years. The show was canceled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and it moved to Viejas Casino & Resort in Alpine in 2021.

Proceeds benefit the La Jolla Historical Society, but in past years, the event also has aided other community nonprofit partners.

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