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Elite cars grace 2014 Concours d’Elegance in Tacoma

Bruce Jackson got to show off his two loves on the lawn of a Tacoma car museum Sunday.

“This is my valentine, and this is my valentine,” he said, gesturing to his wife, Sue, and his 1960 Austin-Healey 3000 Mark I.

He had one of the cars in his early 20s, and during dinner on Valentine’s Day one year, Sue told him their home remodel could wait, so that they could buy another Austin-Healey.

They were among the elites of the historic car world invited to display at the Pacific Northwest Concours d’Elegance at LeMay-America’s Car Museum, to compete to be ranked the best of the best.

It was the 12th anniversary of the show, which has been at the LeMay for three years. It was held previously in Kirkland.

There were 13 classes of vehicles, with owners participating from across the country.

Chuck Cantwell was part of the team evaluating the Shelby Mustangs. And as a project engineer on the Shelby G.T. 350s in the ’60s, he has special qualifications to do so, friends said.

He’d planned to attend the show from his home in Philadelphia just to look, but when buddies told organizers about his career, he was recruited to judge.

“These are very nicely restored, to a very high standard,” he said of the cars in his class. “It’s just very difficult.”

He wouldn’t say who had won, but later in the day Gary McKay was announced as the winner of the class, with his 1967 Shelby Mustang GT500 Fastback. Best of Show went to Peter Boyle, for his 1928 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A SS, Custom LeBaron.

Jackson, of Kenmore, said his chances of winning an award were “slim to none” but that it didn’t matter.

“It’s such a prestigious show,” he said. “The quality of the vehicles that are here, it’s an honor just to be included.”

And while he didn’t win his class, he admired the competition for the show’s top award.

A green-and-silver Rolls-Royce had especially caught his eye, as well as a Chrysler whose red paint job was “like, bottomless.”

It was hard to find a participant Sunday who wasn’t busy chatting with others about his or her vehicle.

Tom Sumner of Seattle said he liked the conversation and questions people had about his 1900 Thomson Auto Carriage. But he didn’t want to spend too much time on the car’s history.

“When you’re doing this sort of thing, you can get carried away with information, and it just gets dull as hell,” he said.

It was the third time he’d been part of the show, and the first time he’d brought the carriage.

While the show was fun, he said he wasn’t looking forward to being catapulted back into modern times while driving home in Interstate 5 traffic.

It wasn’t a smooth ride to the show, he said. He drove his convertible at 70 mph, towing the carriage with its buggy whip on a trailer.

“An SUV blew past,” he said. “I lost another hat on the way down.”

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