Stars and Cars Shine at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
Recently I travelled south to the Monterey peninsular in California, as did many thousands of others, to revel in what must be one of the top automobile concours in the world . . . The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
The Pebble Beach Golf Course at The Lodge is special enough any time but to see hundreds of the world’s finest cars amongst thousands of doting aficionados is one of the wonders of the automobile world. The competition is severe and only the very best pass the judicious eye to drive up the winning ramp and receive the accolades of one and all. Canada was again represented in the judging arena by noted British Columbian motoring journalist Nigel Matthews who is a regular on the roster.
This year once again a British Columbian was in the winning circle as Bentley owner David Cohen took a joyous second place in the post war touring class with his superb 1951 Bentley Mark V1 Facel-Metalon Coupé. The smile from ear to ear on his face was impossible to remove! It is no mean achievement to be a world class winner at Pebble Beach and there is also an optional road tour for ‘the green ribbon’. These vehicles usually get the judges nod in the case of a points tie.
The stars and politicos turned out to enter and to parade the Pebble Beach fairways. One, J. Seinfeld of Long Beach won his class with his Porsche 908-03, a Targa Florio race winner driven by Brian Redman who was actually concurrently racing just a few miles away at Laguna Seca at the famous historic races. Jerry’s 908-03 is wonderfully preserved, even better than when Porsche was racing it in 1970! Low though it was, he managed to personally drive it over the winner’s ramp as is the tradition at this concours, no exceptions are made for the glamorous or the wealthy and neither should there be!
Governor Schwarzenegger strolled the course like any other motor-head (albeit surrounded by rather big body guards which made him look smaller than I expected in the flesh!) and he then later kibitzed with late night T.V. star Jay Leno swapping lines at the awards . . . Jay imitating Arnold: `As governor of the state of California I will make every car green and electric` . . . Arnold as himself: `you are a crazy idiot Jay!` (much laughter) as they auctioned off one of Arnold’s leather jackets for charity and the wardrobe article went for a stunning $25,000.00 all in a very good cause. It was good to see them have such relaxed fun and the crowd loved every minute of it.
Stroll around and you will see and talk to the owners of Aston Martins, Delages, Ferraris, Packards, Pierce Arrows, Lamborghinis, Lancias, Duesenbergs, Lagondas, Hispano Suizas, Alfa Romeos and the Shirleys, the Nethercuts, the Mozarts and even our very own Jimmy Patterson not to mention Ralf Lauren have driven `the ramp and walked the fairway like ordinary mortals! Well perhaps you get the picture.
Naturally there were Bugattis and Bentleys in profusion; I have never before and probably never will see again such a line up of historical automobiles from these quality manufacturers. Bugattti celebrated their 100th birthday at the concours and Bentley, who announced the launch of a brand new model, celebrated their Le Mans successes with the largest line up of their Le Mans racers ever seen in one place. Many of these magnificent racers even showed their original `battle scars`. Bugatti even had a rare Bugatti Royale in evidence. This unique French marque is the `winningest` on record at Pebble Beach . . . quality will out! It was all started by Le Patron himself Ettore who was obsessed by designing all manner of things from spaghetti machines to medical instruments! Then, lucky for us, he the decided to build the finest cars in the world!
You have to see and feel the Pebble Beach concours for yourself to really appreciate it; for a writer it is humbling to even try to describe the wonder that awaits the eyes. For those of us who feel a true sense of history in the horseless carriage!