Long before most even contemplate waking up, hours away from the fog lifting from the beaches, and well before the sun peeked over the hills, on the morning of August 18 2013 there was another type of creature dwelling on the famed 18th fairway at Pebble Beach.
The 63rd annual Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance brought 250+ of the worlds most awe inspiring, checkbook draining rare vehicles to the heart of the California coast. If you were hoping to see super cars like Lamborghini Gallardo, Ferrari Italia, or Bugatti Veyron, you better check the parking lots, for the Concours d'Elegance, is a show for the beautifully restored, and carefully preserved cars of yesteryear.
With well over $300 million in rare automobiles lining up to compete for Best of Show the collective net worth of the participants and spectators was easily in the tens of billions. Dressed to the nines in seersucker, pastel pants, and over the top floral hats (for the ladies), this was truly a playground for the rich and richer. Classical music played on a loop through the loud speaker and champagne flowed like water. The stench of the sea was only over powered by the sweet smell of cigars and petrol, while the vehicles drove down the fairway and into their designated plots.
Walking through the judging area one might find anything from a 1913 Simplex Speedster, to a 1960 Aston Martin DB4 GT Coupe and everything in between. The Concours held categories in classic American such as Lincoln, Cadillac and Packard, as well as European favorites like Aston Martin, Bentley and Rolls-Royce, and of course the Italian masters of Alfa Romeo, Ferrari and Lamborghini. Each vehicle started out with 100 points and then judges deducted points (or fractions) for imperfections, over restorations, mis-used trim or accents, and whether or not all the parts were true to the time period and make/model. One thing that cars did not loose points for however, was road damage. These cars (although million dollar pieces of history) are meant to be driven, so if there are a chip or dent from rocks coming up on the under carriage, or lost hubcaps that happened to fly off during a race around Mazda Raceway (this actually happened), the judges look the other way.
Highlights of this years group of classics had to be the collection of French Motorcycles, the Lincoln Custom Coachworks, and of course the exhibit of Alfa Romeo 8Cs. After all cars were looked over and scrutinized however, only one could take home the crown. Best of Show was awarded to Joseph and Margie Cassini III of West Orange, New Jersey for their exquisite 1934 Packard 1108 Twelve Dietrich Convertible Victoria.
Although most consider the Concours d'Elegance to be all about classic collector cars, when the original Concours happened in Paris in the early 1900s they showcased the latest in automotive technology and design, as was the case when the Pebble Beach Concours started in 1950. Today in 2013 it was no different, and many auto makers delighted the crowd at Pebble Beach by unveiling over 20 new concept cars. Cars like the 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish Volante and the Cadillac Elmiraj Concept made world debuts, while others such as the Lamborghini Veneno, and the Mercedes-Benz Concept GLA were content with making their debuts on US soil.
Getting almost overwhelmed with the insane beauty that I witnessed at the Pebble Beach Concours, the most surreal moment came when I was driving away from the famed 17mile drive, and parked along the side of the road was a laundry list of fantasy cars. Aston Martin, Bentley, Bugatti, Ferrari, Porsche, Rolls and Lamborghini were all mixed in with the Ford, Chevy, Honda and Toyotas.