For the past 6-years, the Benedict Castle Concours has brought together automotive enthusiasts for a great local cause.
And that cause is the Teen Challenge substance abuse and recovery program. It’s a non-profit with centers across all of Southern California.
Additionally, the annual Inland Empire car show plays host to a wide variety of cars and car lovers.
iDriveSoCal’s Professor, Clinton Quan, attended this year’s soiree. Click play below to hear his complete review and scroll through the gorgeous pics of automotive excellence below.
6th Annual Benedict Castle Benefit Car Show
Clinton “The Professor” Quan: This Concours is a little bit more unique and I think the organizers of the event, they really wanted to capture the automotive community of Southern California and not just a specific genre of vehicle.
The type of vehicles that you normally wouldn’t see at a Concours d’Elegance. This is the reason why it’s, I think, why it’s called just a Concours.
Tom Smith: Welcome to iDriveSoCal, the podcast. All about mobility from the automotive capital of the United States, Southern California. Tom Smith here with the good Professor, Mr. Clinton Quan. Say hello, Clinton.
Professor: Hey, Tom!
Tom: Hello, my friend! This podcast, as you know, because you clicked play, is on the Benedict Castle Concours. And what the Professor just explained to me—and I didn’t know, but he knows these things, that’s why I call him the Professor, that’s why we keep him around—the Benedict Castle Concours is not a Concours d’Elegance. A Concours d’Elegance and a Concours are apparently two different things.
“…the Benedict Castle Concours is not a Concours d’Elegance. A Concours d’Elegance and a Concours are apparently two different things.”
Tom: And I did not know that. So, Professor, please enlighten us.
Difference Between Concours and Concours d’Elegance
Professor: Well, most car shows that are a Concours, it is called a Concours d’Elegance, which translates to a competition of elegance, in French. So, usually, you’ll see very elegant automobiles on display. There could be 20, 25, 30 different classes of vehicles, and you’ll see a lot of the owners of the vehicles, they’ll dress up in that same time period as their vehicles.
This Concours is a little bit more unique and I think the organizers of the event, they really wanted to capture the automotive community of Southern California and not just a specific genre of vehicle.
Professor: They’re looking for muscle cars and exotics and hot rods, all types of vehicles. Maybe the type of vehicles that you normally wouldn’t see at a Concours d’Elegance. This is the reason why it’s, I think, why it’s called just a Concours.
“They’re looking for muscle cars and exotics and hot rods, all types of vehicles. Maybe the type of vehicles that you normally wouldn’t see at a Concours d’Elegance.”
Tom: And we just scrolled through the pictures that you took and some gorgeous automobiles, as always.
Professor: There are a lot more cars there. That doesn’t really showcase all the vehicles that were on display, yes.
Tom: I’m sure you can’t picture all of them, right?
Cars at the Benedict Castle Concours
Tom: So, give some examples of vehicles that are going to be at a Concours d’Elegance as opposed to a Concours.
Professor: A Concours d’Elegance, you’re really talking about some of the most expensive vehicles in the world. Vehicles that are just in tip-top condition. These are the most sought after vehicles. Whereas a car show like this, some of the cars you may see, they may be very unique, but they’re not necessarily that…
Tom: Are quite as high value?
Professor: Yes. As quite as highly valued as you would see at a Concours d’Elegance.
Tom: Is there a genre for one or the other or a range of value?
Professor: That’s a very good question, but usually at a Concours d’Elegance, you’re talking about cars that are easily hundreds of thousands or easily into the millions of dollars.
“…usually at a Concours d’Elegance, you’re talking about cars that are easily hundreds of thousands or easily into the millions of dollars.”
Tom: Okay. So, for instance, there was—
Professor: However, now with a lot of the Concours d’Elegance now, you’re seeing newer classes of vehicles, because vehicles such as muscle cars or Japanese cars, they’ve risen so much in value. So, now you’re seeing an expanded class of vehicles at a Concours d’Elegance that you may have not seen, maybe 10 years ago, or even 7 years ago.
Cars that fit both Benedict Castle Concours & Concours d’Elegance Shows
Tom: You had a picture of a 2019 Ford GT that absolutely deserved to be, I think, in any show, anywhere.
Professor: Yes, absolutely. Well, the GTs have always been high in value. Are you referring to the original or the current production of GT?
Tom: Well, in that context I was referring to the 2019. I think I said 2019. So, the one that’s current production.
Professor: Okay, yeah, the current one. Yeah, that one is about a half-a-million dollars.
Tom: If you can get it.
“Like any car show, there are vehicles that are just for display, and then there are vehicles that are judged, and that would be part of the award ceremony.”
Professor: Yeah, yeah.
Tom: If you can get it, right? You have to literally apply—and I think they’re all allocated.
Professor: Yeah. But usually, a vehicle like that, it would not be in the—it wouldn’t be a judged vehicle. Like any car show, there are vehicles that are just for display, and then there are vehicles that are judged, and that would be part of the award ceremony.
Professor: Yeah, they would fit in a particular class of vehicles at a Concours d’Elegance.
Tom: So, a 2019 Ford GT, which was at that show—
Professor: Yeah, it’s just for display.
Tom: It may be at a—if that was a Concours d’Elegance—it may be at a Concours d’Elegance, but that’s going to be a display vehicle. It’s not going to be a vehicle that’s taking part in the competition?
Professor: Yeah. Yes, it wouldn’t take place in a competition. They wouldn’t have a class for a brand-new vehicle. It’s brand new, it better be in tip-top condition.
Tom: Okay. So, then at a Concours d’Elegance—
Professor: It’s got to be an older vehicle.
Tom: Older vehicle, super high value, got it.
The Car Show at Benedict Castle
Tom: Now that we figured that out, this was Benedict Castle Concours out in Riverside.
Tom: For those that aren’t familiar with the venue, why don’t you detail that a little bit?
Professor: Well, the Benedict Castle is a real castle out in Riverside, which is located in the Inland Empire. A lot of people don’t know where Riverside is located.
This is a venue where there is, I’ve been told, literally 100 films have been filmed out there, and this is a venue that you normally can’t just—I don’t think you can just go out there and tour, so it would only be open for special events, such as this car show.
“This is a venue where… literally 100 films have been filmed out there…”
Professor: And what was great about this was the participants and the attendees of the Benedict Castle Concours, they also got the opportunity to go on a tour of the castle, so they had guided tours throughout the event.
Tom: That’s cool. Did you do that, or have you done that so many times in the past that you didn’t?
Professor: Well, I did do it this time. I’ve done it a number of times before, but I did it this time as well because this time I brought my cousin with me and she’s never been, so this was a good opportunity for her to check out the castle and we got to visit a number of different areas within the castle that you normally wouldn’t be able to see.
Tom: Is this castle the size and scope of Hearst Castle or scaled down a bit from that?
Professor: Oh, much scaled down. I think it’s about—I’m trying to remember, but I believe it is about 10,000 square feet. Yeah. But it’s a huge property.
Tom: Was it someone’s private residence at one point in time when it was first built?
“…this was a good opportunity… to check out the castle and we got to visit a number of different areas within the castle that you normally wouldn’t be able to see.”
Tom: Got it.
Professor: Yes. Many, many years ago, but no longer. No longer, no.
Tom: All right. Well, sounds like a cool venue and I think when we covered it—
Professor: It’s a really, really cool venue.
Tom: I think when we covered it last year, I said, “I’m going to get out to that one next year.” And you know what? Life has just gotten in the way. I did not make it this year, but I’m going to say I’m going to try again next year.
Professor: Next year. Yeah, I believe it should be held during that same weekend, the last Sunday in March.
Tom: Last Sunday in March, okay.
#1 March SoCal Auto Event = Benedict Castle Concours
Tom: Of course, we have it on the iDriveSoCal.com events calendar, so go there for all of the top, tippity-top, I want to say, automotive events around Southern California, Professor Quan has really curated the entire calendar and does a great job of selection top show. Because as we’ve said numerous times, in Southern California, you can hit multiple shows every weekend. Literally every weekend.
So, the shows that we have and the events, the automotive events and shows both that we have are really hand-picked by the Professor.
Professor: Yes. And this is considered to be one of the best car shows now in Southern California. It’s growing and growing. And this would be my number one pick event for the month of March.
“…this is considered to be one of the best car shows now in Southern California. It’s growing and growing…”
Tom: Number one pick for the month of March.
Tom: That’s another podcast we’ve been meaning to do, right?
Professor: Yes! [Laughs]
Tom: The Professor’s picks for each month, right?
Benedict Castle High Tea
Professor: Yes. Yeah, we’ll get to that, I promise. Another thing I wanted to mention is that not only is this a car show, but there are other elements and features of the car show which make it interesting as well.
We’ve talked about the Nethercutt Museum and they put on a fashion show and High Tea. So this is, especially if you’re bringing your significant other, your girlfriend, your wife, and maybe they’re not really into cars, but they’re into fashion or they like tea. This will give them something to do for a few hours.
“…not only is this a car show, but there are other elements and features of the car show which make it interesting as well.”
Tom: I was just going to ask you to educate me. A fashion show and the High Tea?
Professor: Yeah, that’s what they call it, Nethercutt Fashion Show and High Tea. Now, I’ve never really attended, so I don’t really know what—
Tom: I have a hard time. I have a hard time believing that you’ve never attended. In fact, I would rather think that you probably have five different outfits to attend in. But you’ve never attended, huh?
Professor: I’ve never attended the fashion show. There’s just so much going on.
Tom: I’ll bet.
Tom: So, high tea, is this like tea time?
Professor: It’s tea time.
Tom: The English type of—
Professor: There’s a type of little sandwiches while you’re watching the fashion show
Professor: And it takes place—
Tom: And pinkies flying everywhere, between the tea and the sandwiches.
Professor: —throughout the castle.
Tom: Between the tea and the sandwiches, you got to pinky out and fly in, whatever. It’s how you drink your tea, right?
Professor: I don’t know. [Laughs]
Tom: Yeah, I don’t know. Okay. So, about this particular show, why don’t we get a couple of details about this show because we’ve talked about everything ancillary
Unique Elements of the Benedict Castle Concours
Professor: Well, those are important elements to the show.
Tom: Clearly! Okay. Before we talk about the cars in the show, was there any ancillary elements, such as the Nethercutt Fashion Show and High Tea?
Professor: Yes. The Peterson is the major sponsor and they have a VIP Pavilion.
Tom: All right.
Professor: Yeah, so for $100, you get food as well and you can hang out there, it’s all shaded because it does get really hot out there in Riverside. A lot of people like to take advantage of that.
They also do a gala dinner on—I believe that’s Saturday night.
Tom: Is that the night before or the night of?
Professor: That is the night before.
Professor: The car show is on a Sunday and the dinner is the night before.
Tom: And if you want to go out and do this whole—it’s an overnight thing, so call it a weekend.
Historic Mission Inn
Tom: If you want to go do the whole weekend, you go stay at the Mission Inn, right?
Professor: You stay at the Mission Inn.
Tom: The historic Mission Inn.
“The historic, four-star Mission Inn. It’s a very popular place for weddings, special events.”
Professor: The historic, yeah, four-star Mission Inn. It’s a very popular place for weddings, special events.
Tom: Now, I would imagine that gets sold out. I would imagine that weekend gets sold out pretty quick. No?
Professor: No, actually—because it’s such a big hotel and there’s a number of other hotels in the area as well.
Tom: Now can we talk about the show?
Professor: Have I mentioned everything else? Yes.
I just wanted to make sure. Oh, actually, I have not.
Tom: Okay, what else you got?
Benedict Castle Concours Teen Challenge Benefit
Professor: There’s even more. So, we talked about the tour. There’s also the raffles and the silent auction and the live auction, so that’s a big part of it as well.
Professor: Because that’s a donation—a big part of the proceeds goes to Teen Challenge, so the castle is actually a venue for troubled teens.
Tom: Oh, really?
Tom: Oh, that’s cool. That’s kind of in the vein of the Steve McQueen…
“…a big part of the proceeds goes to Teen Challenge, so the castle is actually a venue for troubled teens.”
Professor: Yes. From what I understand, I believe it’s something similar, yes.
Tom: Yes. Now, the car show?
Tom: All right, cool. Carry on.
Variety of Vehicles on Display
Professor: Well, as I mentioned earlier, there are all these different genres of cars. As you can see from the photos, you’ve got modern sports cars, such as the McLaren 600LT, the Ford GT.
Tom: 2019 Ford GT! Boy is that a good looking car!
Professor: All the way from the previous Ford GT, the classic GT.
Professor: You’ve got cars from the 1930s, 1920s.
Tom: Had a few old classic muscles, Mustangs.
Professor: Yeah, there’s muscle cars.
Tom: Lots of ‘30s and ‘20s.
Professor: There are hotrods. There are European cars, such as the Lamborghini Murcielago with the awesome customized plate. [Laughs] That was really cool.
Tom: This guy literally had a license plate that said A-W-H-H-H-S-U-M.
Professor: Yes, something like that.
Tom: Clever. Totally inconspicuous. You’d never be able to pick that one out of a crowd, right?
Professor: Especially with the orange.
Tom: Yeah, orange! The orange Lambo with “Awhhhsum” on the license plate. Yeah, that guy’s just blending into traffic, for sure. [Laughs]
So, a little something for everyone. A great show. There’s got to be a fee to get into the show, no?
Benedict Castle Concours Cost
Professor: There is a fee. It’s only $10, general admission.
Tom: No, that’s reasonable!
Professor: It’s very reasonable, yeah. It’s only $10, general admission.
Tom: And then they had all these different genres. Now, it’s a Concours, that means that it was competitive.
Professor: Yes, there are awards.
Tom: There are awards in…
Professor: Yes. There’s an award ceremony.
Tom: And the awards are just bragging rights, ribbon, cheap trophy, right?
Tom: It’s not like any kind of valuable award, right?
Benedict Castle Car Show Awards
Professor: What is cool about this one is they have all these really customized trophies, custom trophies that they do, which looks really, really cool.
Tom: Custom in such a way that…
Professor: It honors the Benedict.
Tom: Benedict Castle?
Professor: I didn’t stay for the award ceremony.
Tom: It’s got an iDriveSoCal logo on it?
Professor: I wish it did.
Tom: No, not yet.
Professor: But yeah, that’s a big part of the show as well, the awards. And then this year they actually had bleachers set up and then they reversed the stage for this year. I think they did that due to the weather as well.
Tom: Reversed the stage. I have no idea what you’re talking about.
Professor: Well, usually the stage is set on the other side and then they switched it around and then they put bleachers. They normally don’t have bleachers there. This way, the award ceremony, it takes a long time. So, people can sit.
Tom: They made it comfortable for people to sit through the award ceremony this year?
Tom: That was good of them. That was good of them. That’s some good event planning there, I’ll tell you.
Annual Benedict Castle Concours
Tom: All right, Professor Quan, on the—what annual is it? The sixth annual? Seventh annual?
Professor: This is The 6th Annual Benedict Castle Concours.
Tom: The 6th Annual Benedict Castle Concours. Sounds like it’s for a good cause, for troubled teens, yeah?
Professor: Yes, yeah.
Tom: Let’s go on out and promote that again next year.
Professor: Yes, absolutely.
Tom: We’ll keep it on the iDriveSoCal.com events calendar, on an ongoing regular basis.
Professor Quan, thank you, as always, for your expert analysis and for iDriveSoCal, I am Tom Smith. Thank you, as always, for tuning in.