The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance descends on Pebble Beach, CA, once a year bringing a dazzling array of classic cars and extremely rare luxury automobiles from across the world. More than 15,000 spectators, industry specialists and enthusiasts gather for a day of motorized elegance, culminating in an awards presentation. This event is usually the culmination of a frenzied week of activity that practically over-stimulates any jaded classic car enthusiast. Although there are actually many “concours d’elegance” displays internationally, the Pebble Beach gathering is arguably the premier event of its kind in the world. The cars are arranged on the stunning Pebble Beach Golf Links with the backdrop of the Pacific Ocean.
It all began, simply enough, with a road race through the pines along the seaside in 1950. Since then it has grown to a competition of excellence in design and restoration rather than speed. For 64 years, this unrivaled spectacle has been showcasing the ultimate collection of vehicles demonstrating elegance in form and function. This is where vintage and luxury cars from the distant past meet hot rods and prototypes for the future.
Many important and notable cars are shown and displayed on the field. The only six Bugatti Royales ever built were displayed on the field here at the Concours d’Elegance 30 years ago. Major manufacturers also use the gathering of enthusiasts as the perfect venue to display their latest offerings. Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Rolls-Royce and Bentley have all made major announcements and market debuts here.
From a modest collection of 30 cars when it began, the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance has grown to feature close to two hundred automobiles from across time. In the final awards, judges select winners according to the best style, technical merit and historical accuracy of the restoration. In recent years, the judges have been chosen from celebrities in the auto world, such as Sir Jackie Stewart, Jay Leno, Alain de Cadenet last year. The coveted award is Best of Show and never disappoints. The 2013 show was punctuated by the stunning 1934 Packard 1108 Twelve Dietrich Convertible Victoria, owned by Joseph and Margie Cassini III of West Orange New Jersey, winner of Best of Show.
Just a sample of the motorized artworks on display over the six decades is enough to turn anyone into a classic car enthusiast. Motor Authority lists some of their favorites as: “Duesenberg, Hispano-Suiza, Packard, Bentley, Mercedes-Benz, Aston Martin, Chrysler CG Imperial Phaeton, Siata 208CS Balbo Berlinetta and the 1967 Chevrolet L88 Corvette Convertible.”
From the very first event, organizers have insisted that cars that have been accepted into the competition cannot be registered again for at least ten more years. There are three exceptions with are rarely exercised:
- When the car ownership is new
- If there has been substantial restoration work
- When the category is so unusual that there are few entrants
This ensures a wider range of classic cars for display and greater opportunities for new owners to invest in restoring the marvels of the past.
Just being invited to show your car is considered a great achievement because only the most historically significant and impressive cars have a chance at recognition.
Standout marques at the 2014 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance on August 17 will include:
- Maserati Centennial
- Ferrari 250 Testarossa
- Fernandez et Darrin Coachwork
- Steam Cars
- Rolls-Royce Phantom IV and Phantom V
- Eastern European Motorcycles
The Concours d’Elegance is part of the larger Pebble Beach Automotive Weekend. Related events taking place at the same time include vintage racing at Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, the Pebble Beach RetroAuto, and the Pebble Beach Auction presented by Gooding & Company. We suggest buying tickets early and arriving early on the day of the show. Hope to see you there!