New feature of motoring festival celebrates women collectors

Lyn St. James, legendary race car driver, will serve as Grand Marshal for the Savannah Speed Classic portion of the Hilton Head Island Concours d'Elegance & Motoring Festival. COURTESY HILTON HEAD CONCOURS

The Hilton Head Island Concours d'Elegance & Motoring Festival will be celebrating its 18th event this fall. But it is the first year for a new celebration at the event of women in the collector hobby and automotive industry.

In conjunction with Chopard, the Concours will host the inaugural Women Driving America summit to include female collectors, Concours judges, industry executives and designers.

The celebration of Women Driving America will kick-off at the Festival's vintage racing event, the Savannah Speed Classic in partnership with Sportscar Vintage Racing Association (SVRA), where legendary female race car driver and one of Sports Illustrated for Women's Top-100 Women Athletes of the Century, Lyn St. James, will serve as the Grand Marshal.

Female-owned vehicles will be on display in the Car Club Showcase on Nov. 2 and will compete in the Concours d'Elegance Nov. 3, all at the Port Royal Golf Club. Event organizers are anticipating more than 40 female-owned vehicles at this year's festival.

"We've started to recognize a growing trend the last few years at our event - an increasing number of female owners and judges," said Carolyn Vanagel, the event's president. "The hobby and the industry are becoming more diverse and we are thrilled to recognize the women behind the opening of these doors."

This year's Women Driving America summit will include participation from:

• Terri Henning, showing her 1954 Jaguar XK120 SE originally purchased by MGM for movie icon Clark Gable in the Concours d'Elegance.

• Julie Ibrahim, showing her 1971 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 designed by Leonardo Fiorivanti for Pininfarina and outright winner of the 1974 Tour de France.

• Carolyn Sikes of Peachtree Corners, Georgia, competing in the Concours with her 1955 Chevrolet Corvette convertible that is one of only a few remaining from the original 700 produced.

• Millie Horton from Mt. Pleasant, exhibiting her 1953 Bentley R-Type which has been female-owned since 1977 in Saturday's Car Club Showcase Women on the Move.

Joining Women on the Move on Saturday, Natalie Bluestein of Sullivan's Island will show her 1953 Jaguar XK120.

"We feel we've always been cutting edge by offering elements not typically found at other Concours events," said Vanagel. "And this is an exciting, ground-breaking addition to that list and to our 2019 event."

The Hilton Head Island Concours d'Elegance Motoring Festival is scheduled for Oct. 24 through Nov. 3. For more information and tickets, visit

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