Elegance on Display at Pebble Beach
The New York Times compares it to the Olympics of the automobile universe and Jay Leno calls it “the best car show in the world.” Every year on the third Sunday of August, about 200 of the most prized collector cars and motorcycles in the world roll onto the famed eighteenth fairway at Pebble Beach. The Concours d’Elegance is truly a gathering of exotics, an occasion when the biggest automakers unveil their finest selections under the Californian sun of Monterey, a location where there are enough roaming millionaires that can actually afford them.
Case in point: at day two of this year’s auctions, a record-setting $27.5 million changed hands for the very rare 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 NART Spider. Canadian Lawrence Stroll took home the beauty, featured in 1968’s The Thomas Crown Affair with Steve McQueen, with the car’s owner announcing proceeds would be given to charity. Over $300 million was spent at the classic car auctions!
Even those unwilling to fork over $275 for a ticket to the ritzy show could see (and hear!) the show cars on parade along scenic coastal roads at last Thursday’s Tour d’Elegance. Back at Pebble Beach’s Concept Lawn, attendants were treated to displays from a who’s who of supercars. Celebrating its 100-year anniversary, Aston Martin had a large presence at this year’s Monterey events, including presenting the DB-9 Spyder Zagato Centennial, as well as two new production vehicles. Not to be outdone, Lamborghini announced it had stuffed “100 years of innovation in half the time,” bringing together its first and latest cars – the still-fantastic-looking 1963 350 GTV besides its latest rock star 50 years later, the 2013 Veneno, making its North American debut.
Other cool concept cars on display included the Mercedes-Benz GLA, Hyundai HCD-14 Genesis, Cadillac Elmiraj, Icona Vulcano, the pre-production Porsche 918 Spyder, and the awesomely named Superleggera Alfa Romeo Disco Volante. One too ridiculous to ignore, even in the midst of such prestigious company, was the previously unknown Laraki Motors Epitome Concept, a pet project of yachting tycoon Abdesslam Laraki. Built on the chassis of a C6 Corvette with carbon fiber panels, the 7.0-liter Chevy V8 powertrain hooked up to a pair of turbochargers yields an alleged 1,200 horsepower on pump gas. But since it has an additional gas tank for 110 octanes, at the touch of a button it will burn gas from both tanks for an incredible 1,750 hp. This kind of power will cost buyers a cool $2 million, probably an easier sell in Pebble Beach for those with car sales training.
Another making its North American debut was the icy cool Alpine Trial Centenary Edition Ghost, from Rolls-Royce. Paying tribute to the company’s origins, completing the Austrian Alpine Trials in 1913, the new Ghost retains that striking automotive painting a century later.
After the Motorsports Reunion race and days of other activities, the Best of Show winner was announced on Sunday. A 1934 Packard 1108 Twelve Dietrich Convertible Victoria took the prestigious honors (pictured at top of page). Owner Joseph Cassini had bought the car three years ago and, with some auto technician training, finished work just eight days before he brought it to Pebble Beach.
Porsche is another carmaker celebrating 50 years and had its famous 911 on display. Appreciate the virtue of balance and some amazing scenery with this video!