PHOENIX — Frank Lloyd Wright is widely acclaimed as the most-influential American architect of the 20th Century, but he was also a dedicated auto enthusiast whose artistic eye influenced his choices of fine luxury and sporting vehicles.
The second annual Arizona Concours d’Elegance, which will feature cars owned by Frank Lloyd Wright, has announced the entry for the January 11, 2015, event of a rare piece of motoring history from Wright’s intriguing life.
The 1937 AC 16/80 “Ace” roadster that was owned and driven by Wright will make its post-restoration debut at the 2015 Arizona Concours after being out of the public eye for more than 40 years. A classic, upscale British sports car of the pre-war era, the AC will appear just as it did when owned by Wright, down to the signature Cherokee Red paint hue that the architect favored for nearly all of his cars.
The AC has a strong Arizona connection since it was used by Wright during winter stays at his Taliesin West home and architecture school in Scottsdale. He purchased the sports car in 1948 and immediately had it repainted Cherokee Red. Period photos show Wright with his wife, Olgivanna, bedecked in sporty fabric helmets and goggles enjoying the AC at Taliesin West.
David and Rochelle Buice of Dallas, Texas, have owned the AC since 1974, and it has been undergoing a total restoration for the past two years. The car is fully documented as the AC used by the architect and owned by the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation through 1969.
David Buice said they have long been devotees of Wright’s architectural achievements, as well as being British sports-car enthusiasts. “For the architecture, we’re fans of his genius work,” Buice said.
The AC roadster will be among a collection of Wright’s most-interesting cars that will appear at the Arizona Concours at the historic Arizona Biltmore Resort. The Cars of Frank Lloyd Wright class was inspired by the architecture of the Arizona Biltmore, which was heavily influenced by Wright, who served as a consultant for the design of the Phoenix luxury hotel that opened in 1929.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation has been an enthusiastic supporter of the efforts to bring together the class of his cars, and one of the special events for the 2015 Arizona Concours is a tour for concours entrants to Taliesin West the day after the concours. Buice said that he and his wife are excited about the tour since it will return the AC to familiar grounds.
“It will be interesting to get the car out there, like a homecoming,” Buice said. “We have purchased helmets and goggles to replicate the picture of Mr. and Mrs. Wright in that car.”