Benedict Castle Concours Has Room for Everyone and Everything

benedict castle concours 2024
Benedict Castle Concours Has Room for EveryoneMark Vaughn

The Benedict Castle Concours isn’t like other car shows. Now in its 11th year, it stands out among a season’s worth of classic and collector concours. Not just because of its unique location on the grounds of Riverside’s Benedict Castle. And not because of the very worthy cause it supports as a major fundraiser for the Teen Challenge substance abuse recovery and prevention program.

No, the Benedict Castle Concours stands out because it welcomes every kind of car.

Pebble and the ACCA have a lot of grand American classics like Packards and Duesenbergs. The Japanese Classic Car Show has “the imports” covered. And any number of other shows have a place for hot rods and muscle cars. But the Benedict Castle Concours welcomes all of the above and a few more.


They even had a section for the Blastolene Brotherhood, those magnificent plus-sized artistic creations of bright, shining aluminum.

a car parked on grass
Big Bertha, a dual-cowl phaeton of the Blastolene Brotherhood, dwarfs almost all comers.Mark Vaughn

"When Nicole Meguiar start this show 11 years ago, her vision was to bring together all elements of the car hobby, each appreciating and respecting each other’s rides,” said event chairman Don Nicholson (yes, nephew of the original “Dyno” Don Nicholson).

“As such we have never been and don’t intend to become a Concours in the proper sense. We’re better described as an event for Car Guys of all sorts, celebrating automotive passion, design, and power.”

Yes, power. One of the first things you saw coming into the show was Thor, the biggest, most intimidating big rig you’ve ever seen. With two V12s fed by eight superchargers, all covered in chrome, Thor makes 3,424 hp and 7,800 lb-ft of torque. And it runs; I saw it start up.

That almost—but not quite—dwarfed the chrome creations of Blastolene founder Michael Leeds, even the Big Bertha dual-cowl phaeton, built on a fire truck chassis and normally the biggest “car” at any show.

a red car parked in a grassy area with trees and a person standing in the background
Pro Street had to meet all the requirements for DMV registration yet be as quick as Pro Stock, or close to it.Mark Vaughn

But then there were other cars almost as fascinating.

  • Matt and Debbie Hay’s Pro Street 1988 Thunderbird, from an era when the lines were blurred between street racing and drag racing on a track.

  • Jim and Nancy Bridgewater’s ’37 Ford Coupe “Koyote,” so-named because of its Ford crate (or krate?) motor.

  • Shelby American race car driver Allen Grant’s 1963 Lola GT Mk 6, which he restored himself.

And while most Concours have a Best in Show, which Benedict Castle had in previous years, divided between American Classic and Contemporary, this year there were some 25 “Choice” awards, divided into any number of categories from designer Stewart Reed’s Choice to the Teen Challenge Choice picked by the very beneficiaries of this event.

“This show is one-of-a-kind in that 100% of the funds raised today go directly to this campus, the home of about 100 Teen Challenge students,” said Nicholson.

And Grand Marshall Chip Foose presided over the whole thing.

Start planning now to attend next year’s show. Bring whatever kind of car you want.