Hot and fast

Library plays host to Huntington Beach Concours d'Elegance, which features famous motorcycle.

June 03, 2010|By Michael Miller

Burt Munro's 1920 Indian motorcycle has been on quite a journey since it set the world speed record.

In 1967, the New Zealand motorcycle racer blazed across the Bonneville Salt Flats at 190.07 mph, the fastest speed ever recorded on an Indian, an American-made motorcycle that has since achieved a loyal cult following.

After Munor's death 11 years later, Anthony Hopkins played him in "The World's Fastest Indian," while the record-setting vehicle changed hands around California.

On Saturday and Sunday, the world's fastest Indian will stop in Surf City as one of several high-profile vehicles on display at the 25th annual Huntington Beach Concours d'Elegance. Tom Hensley, whose family has owned the bike since the mid-1980s, is quick to point out that it's the real thing.

"It's the Munro special," said Hensley, who plans to set up an information table by the Indian and answer visitors' questions. "It is the actual world-record holder. It's not the movie bike. It's not a replica."


That's not to say there won't be any movie cars at the Concours. Grand Marshal Tim Lawrence, a movie car designer, has arranged to have a few Hollywood classics around the premises — including Herbie the "Love Bug, the Batmobile and the DeLorean from "Back to the Future."

The event is split into two parts, with a "Back to the Beach" theme and about 150 hot rods on display Saturday. Car exhibitors will vote on awards for their peers, including best paint, wheels and interior and the top 15 overall cars.

The second day features the traditional Concours competition, as a panel of judges award trophies in 66 categories. Among the contestants will be American, foreign and vintage cars, with a pair of special categories for high school and college students.

"We want the kids to come out and see these old vintage cars, because who else is going to fix these things later on?" said Bob Shaw, the event's co-organizer.

The Concours, which takes place by the library in Huntington Central Park, raises funds every year for the Huntington Beach Public Library's children's department. This year, the library has asked for 10 new computers to replace outdated models, according to Mary-Pat Gonzalez, the department's senior librarian.

The Concours is the second-biggest fundraiser of the year for the children's library after Taste of Huntington Beach, Gonzalez said.

She noted that her colleagues had gotten into the spirit this year — the staff made a pair of displays inside the library using Hot Wheels and members of the public had stopped in to donate other cars.

"It's not just the boys," Gonzalez said. "All the kids are so excited to see all the different cars."

If You Go

What: 25th annual Huntington Beach Concours d'Elegance

Where: Huntington Central Park, 7111 Talbert Ave., behind the library

When: 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday

Admission: $10 for one day, $15 for two days (seniors 62 and older $8 and $12, respectively); children 12 and younger get in free with an adult

Information: (714) 375-8414 or

Huntington Beach Independent Articles Huntington Beach Independent Articles