Spectators at the Hilton Head Concours d’Elegance and Motoring Festival will find plenty of exotic, unique, classic and beautiful automobiles to appreciate. LYNNE COPE HUMMELL

This is a special year for one of the Lowcountry’s most celebrated events.

The Hilton Head Island Concours d’Elegance and Motoring Festival is celebrating its 20th celebration of the grandeur and magnificence of the automobile Nov. 3-6.

This is the second year back after the COVID pandemic canceled the in-person 2020 event and while organizers admit that 2021 was a measured return to normal, the 2022 event is shaping up to be the largest-scale Concours yet, truly honoring the two decades of prestige the gathering has garnered among car collectors worldwide.

Thousands of exhibitors and enthusiasts descend upon the island each year, including more than 200 cars and motorcycles that will pack the first and 18th fairways of Port Royal Golf Club’s Planters Row Golf Course on Nov. 6 for the Best in Class and Best of Show judging.

The celebration of all things wheels and engines begins Nov. 3 with the sixth Grand Motoring Film Festival at the Arts Center of Coastal Carolina. The night will feature displays of classic and collector cars and the world premiere of “Punters,” plus documentaries “In the Blink of an Eye” and “Betty Skelton: Boundless.”

The screenings continue with a full day of film screenings at Coligny Theatre on Nov. 4, starting at 9 a.m.

Concours visitors will also be welcomed with a Big Band Swingin’ Swag Show at 6:30 p.m., featuring the Fabulous Equinox Orchestra.

The annual driving tour starts at 8 a.m. Nov. 4. The tour begins at Berkeley Hall and traverses the Chechessee and Broad Rivers into Beaufort, wrapping up with a tour of the Marine Corps Museum at Parris Island.

But this isn’t just about land-bound wheels and engines. The Flights and Fancy Aeroport Gala Friday night and Aero Expo on Nov. 5 will put some of the world’s most revered airplanes on display at the Hilton Head Island Airport.

The Aeroport Gala will combine five-star dining along with a taste of both Concours vehicles and Aero Expo aircraft on display against the backdrop of an airport hangar.

The Aero Expo is a display of both the world’s most vintage airliners along with the latest technology and flying innovations in private aircraft.

The focus shifts to the ground gear shifters with the Car Club Showcase from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 5. More than 20 clubs, including the Sun City Car Club, will fill the fairways of the Port Royal Golf Club. Each club selects their best of the best to compete for top awards. The 2022 edition will feature both women-owned vehicles and cars of Japan.

Renee and Christina Brinkerhoff will be honored alongside their 1956 Porsche 356A used to race more than 20,000 miles across the world to combat child trafficking.

“To say that the efforts of Renée and Christina Brinkerhoff are inspiring is an incredible understatement,” said Lindsey Harrell, Concours President. “These women embody the true meaning of Women Driving America. In fact, we would go so far to say that they are Women Driving the Globe. Valkyrie Racing ensures that 100% of every donation to Valkyrie Gives is granted to vetted frontline NGOs fighting child trafficking around the world. In addition to providing funding, they look for ways to become active participants in the organizations they support and we are pleased to support their efforts in this worthy cause.”

The Sun City Car Club will have 10 of the 200 judging slots and will include Terri Banovsky’s 2005 Toyota Solara, Elaine Blank’s 1999 Plymouth Prowler, Bob Florio’s 1992 Daihatsu, Jenny Kramer’s 1968 Pontiac Firebird, Georgia Lash’s 2008 Nissan 350Z, Vicki Pasquale’s Mercedes SL500, Jim Reeves’ 2000 Honda S2000, Gary Tancredi’s 2008 Dodge Challenger, Steve Tomko’s 1952 Mercury and Roger Velliquette’s 2007 Saturn Sky.

Other local clubs invited to participate include Corvettes of Hilton Head and The Classic Car and Truck Club of Beaufort.

The showcase will also feature two specialty exhibits, Legends of the Autobahn East and the Austin-Healey Southeastern Classic.

The showcase’s afterparty will feature an array of local breweries and distilleries along with live entertainment from The Road Agents.

One of the most beloved events of the weekend returns with the Design Among the Stars event at the Harbour Town Clubhouse Nov. 5. It’s a night of mingling and dining with some of the world’s most iconic automotive designers. These giants of the industry will sketch automotive art live at the event and auction off their creations, with proceeds going to the Concours’ charitable fund, Driving Young America.

This all leads up to the Sunday afternoon Concours d’Elegance judging, with more than 200 cars on display at Port Royal from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. More than 75 judges from across North America will trim the field to 31 best of class winners who will compete for the Best in Show honor.

The 2022 Honored Collector is Dirk and Alexandra de Groen from Coral Gables, Florida. Five of the couple’s most acclaimed vehicles will be on display, including their 1937 BMW 328, 1960 BMW 700 Sport, 1958 Mercedes-Benz 219, 1991 Z1 Alpina RLE #28 and 1971 BMW 2002 Alpina A2.

“Dirk has been such an avid collector of German cars, which is a perfect fit for this year’s honored marque,” said Merry Harlacher, chairman of the Hilton Head Island Concours. “It’s always been important for us to engage with critical collectors like Dirk and to maintain the highest quality of vintage cars showcased at the event. Dirk’s ongoing participation has helped make this event what it is – a display of incredible vehicles overlaid with our signature Southern hospitality.”

Tickets to all the events for the 2022 Concours d’Elegance are available online at hhiconcours.com.

Tim Wood is a veteran journalist based in Bluffton. Contact him at timwood@blufftonsun.com.