It’s only fitting that museum entries are among the vehicles gracing this weekend’s Misselwood Concours d’Elegance.
The seaside show radiates history and elegance. From its grassy promontory at Endicott College in Beverly, the cars will carry stories from our gilded past.
More than 100 prestigious vehicles — by invitation only, thank you — will vie for trophies and Best in Show status at Sunday’s main event.
The weekend also includes fashion shows, fine dining, an art exhibit, classic cars parading to the Newburyport waterfront, and free public viewings of the rare and distinguished cars and motorcycles.
Misselwood is one of several dozen international concours, all known for vehicular pageantry.
What’s special about this show is the closeness that visitors enjoy to the showpieces and each other on the Misselwood Estate, said Kevin Bedford, director of the Owls Head Transportation Museum in Maine.
Proximity stirs conversation and stories.
They might be about who the previous owner was or where the vehicle has been, the particular elan the vehicle evokes or awards it has won.
Last year, the Best of Show winner was a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta.
This year, Owls Head will trailer its 1907 Renault Vanderbilt Racer — one of only five in existence — to the 10th annual Misselwood.
Visitors will hear the story of how American racing pioneer William Vanderbilt had Renault build the car to specifications after witnessing Ferenc Szisz win the first Grand Prix of the Auto Club of France in 1906.
The Renault is one of three 1907 vehicles to be shown at Misselwood, the others a Targa Florio race car and a Merkel Light motorcycle. The latter looks like a bicycle with an engine below the crossbar.
Visitors will also get to see the entry from the Heritage Museums & Gardens in Sandwich — a 1932 Auburn Boattail Speedster.
Aficionados consider the Gatsby-esque ride among the most flaunt-worthy automobiles on the face of the earth — all sex and impracticality.
“The car does run, and the auto volunteers at the museum drive it regularly,” said Jennifer Madden, the museum’s director of collections and exhibitions.
Bruce Male, of Swampscott, has been to all 10 editions of the Misselwood Concours d’Elegance.
He’ll be showing his 1948 Delahaye 135M drophead, which won Best of Show in the local concours’ first year, 2010. It was held at the Crane Estate in Ipswich, then called the North Shore Concours d’Elegance.
Concours d’Elegance means “competition of elegance” in French and harks back to 17th-century Paris, where aristocrats paraded horse-drawn carriages in parks.
The oldest of the concours still being held is Italy’s Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este, which premiered in September 1929, a month before the U.S. stock market crashed and triggered the Great Depression.
The concours’ tradition, like the U.S. economy, has endured.
Another local participant is Essex’s Paul Russell and Company, which has been in business since 1978, restoring classic European cars.
Paul Russell enjoys Misselwood’s small venue and intimate atmosphere. He’s bringing five of his clients’ cars to the Endicott event, among them a 1937 Mercedes 540k Special Roadster, a 1958 Ferrari 250 GT California Spyder and a 1955 Porsche 550 Spyder.
They are a far cry from the family cars that Russell knew from his childhood, a 1960 Biscayne and 1966 Dodge Coronet — both station wagons.
Russell became enamored of sports cars after riding in one that belonged to a friend at Andover High School. Later, Russell bought a couple of used Triumphs and tinkered with them. He found his calling.
Among rarities at the Misselwood show will be a 1939 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Sport cabriolet by Touring, a 1925 Lorraine-Dietrich B3-6 and a 1957 Dual-Ghia Model 46 convertible.
Andover resident Chris Armstrong will show his award-winning Dual-Ghia, which took three years to restore.
The Ghias were built by Dual Motors in the 1950s, and only about 30 remain. It was a joint venture. The Italian house of Ghia built the body, and Dodge supplied the frame, motor and drivetrain.
“Most of the Rat Pack had them,” Armstrong said.
Marc Cendron of Newburyport will enter two cars from around the time Rat Pack regulars Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. were prowling the Las Vegas Strip.
Cendron’s entries in Misselwood are a 1968 Lancia Fulvia Zagato and a 1957 Tojeiro-Climax racecar.
The Fulvia had been in a museum in California and, prior to that, in Italy.
The Tojeiro-Climax is a British-built sports racer, one of seven in that model, only three of which are known to exist. Cendron was floored by its shape and lines, designed by Cavendish Morton, a British architect.
Cendron drives it in vintage races.
“It is fast, elegant and a fun-to-drive car, which inspires confidence,” he said.
The Misselwood concours will do the same, displaying elegance for a cause. Event proceeds fund scholarships for Endicott students.
If you go
What: Tour d’Elegance Public Display
When: Saturday, 10 to 11:15 a.m. in Newburyport and noon to 2 p.m. in Beverly
Where: Ferry Wharf parking lot, off Water Street, Newburyport, and Misselwood Estate, Endicott College, 407 Hale St., Beverly
How much: Free
What: Misselwood Concours d’Elegance
When: Sunday, 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
Where: Misselwood Estate, Endicott College, 407 Hale St., Beverly
How much: $20 general admission, $75 for VIP access and luncheon, free for children under 12
More information: www.misselwoodconcours.com or 978-232-2347