Photo credit: Ray Tahan
Photo credit: Ray Tahan
Longtime Greenwich residents Bruce and Genia Wennerstrom founded the Greenwich Concours, which was first held in 1996. For Bruce and Genia, creation of the Concours was a natural extension of their many friendships and long standing interests. They knew the top executives of many of the car companies, and they were both close to hundreds of car collectors and racing figures. Each month they presided over the luncheon meeting of the Madison Avenue Sports Car Driving and Chowder Society, a media based group of enthusiasts that’s been meeting at Sardi’s since 1957.
But from the start it has been a family affair, mounted each year with considerable and invaluable assistance from their sons, daughter and daughters-in-law, along with the support of a wide circle of friends in the automotive field who have over the years become an extended family.
Bruce’s passion for automobiles began early. As he put it: “In their teens, guy’s hormones and gasoline all get mixed up together. Most outgrow it – I never did.” Genia, an artist and author, would say that she “married into it,” but fully shared his broad interest in cars and motorsports, and together they attended races from Formula 1 events in Europe, to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France, to vintage races at Lime Rock and other regional tracks. For many years, the annual family outing took place the first weekend of October, when the entire Wennerstrom clan drove (in a 1957 Dual Ghia) to Watkins Glen, New York, for the US Grand Prix.
In explaining the appeal of car collecting, Bruce noted, “the true collector gets the same aesthetic thrill from owning and looking at a classic car as other people get from owning and looking at a beautiful painting or piece of sculpture.”
Bruce and Genia thought their hometown of Greenwich was the ideal location for a true world-class Concours and created the Greenwich Concours. From the start, the town has been incredibly supportive, from Town Hall and the Parks Department, to the many collectors who reside in Greenwich. The Concours is now recognized as one of the top events of its kind in the country. AmeriCares is the charitable beneficiary.
Genia passed away in May 2011, and Bruce in September 2015 – they were married for 55 years. It was their wish that the Concours continue as a family endeavor – and it does. Beginning with the 2016 Greenwich Concours, the younger generation of Wennerstroms assumed ownership and management of the event.
The format, however, remains unchanged – the weekend consists of two separate events. Saturday’s Greenwich Concours d’Elegance features pre-WWII and post-WWII domestic cars. Sunday’s Greenwich Concours International focuses solely on pre-WWII and post-WWII European sports, touring, and competition cars. Both events also include vintage motorcycles and luxury yachts. Both events are invitational.