For one Sunday every year, golfers at the world famous Pebble Beach club yield the 18th fairway to a superb array of cars and motorcycles for the annual Concours d'Elegance. The 63rd edition saw a total of 248 cars line up spread over two dozen separate classes. These included many of the familiar classes complemented by special classes for this year's featured marques and coach-builder. Among them were Lincoln, Aston Martin, Lamborghini, Simplex and Vanvooren. Before embarking on a tour through the Rocky Mountains no fewer than 27 Alfa Romeo 8Cs lined up on the far edge of the show field to form the largest class of this year's Concours d'Elegance. As always, the participants were also invited to participate in the Tour d'Elegance on Thursday on some of the area's most scenic routes.
For a tenth consecutive year our reporters were at Pebble Beach to capture the prestigious event in full detail. This has resulted in a 340-shot gallery
from the Concours, a 90-shot gallery
from the Tour and the following concise report.
Although a relatively recent addition to the schedule, the Tour d'Elegance has certainly become one of the highlights of Pebble Beach. For the spectators, it offers a unique opportunity to see some of the finest cars in action, while the participants get to enjoy their machines on some of America's most scenic roads. For the first time in over a decade, the route included a visit to the nearby Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca and a lap around the track that includes the legendary 'Corkscrew' corner. To ensure all participants made it to the track in time, the field was split in two instead of three groups. A further treat to the participants after leaving the track was a venture over the Laureles Grade pass. Once in the Carmel Valley, the route followed its familiar course down the very scenic Highway 1 to the turn-around point at Big Sur. The final stop was on Ocean Avenue in Carmel by the Sea for lunch. As always, cars that successfully completed the Tour would be favoured during the Concours in case of a draw.
Lincoln & Simplex
The featured marques in 2013 were Lincoln and Simplex. The former was established in the late 1910s by an ex-Cadillac executive and was soon after absorbed by the Ford Motor Company. The development of the brand was soon entrusted to Edsel Ford, who managed to go up market with a selection of V8 and V12 engined machines. To honour Ford's luxury arm, no fewer than four classes were reserved to a choice of Lincolns. Among the most interesting was the fourth for post-war custom bodied examples. This class included the striking one-off Indianpolis by Boano, two Continental Mk IIs and a unique stretched convertible that was part of the presidential fleet between 1950 and 1965. By the time Lincoln came to the fore, Simplex' days were already numbered. Slated as the American Mercedes, the first Simplex was built in 1902. Sadly, the company was plagued by misfortune and filed for bankruptcy for the first time in 1907 and again in 1914. Today they a very rare sight, so it was truly impressive to see eight examples side by side.
Aston Martin Centenary
One of the other themes of this year's Pebble Beach was the centenary of Aston Martin for which one class was reserved. As a result it featured a wide array of models produced by the British manufacturer. Among them was a very early 1925 Grand Prix car, which featured a beautiful and sophisticated four cylinder engine with twin overhead camshafts and four valves per cylinder. Also grabbing our attention were a pair of DB3Ss; the very first and the very last built. The latter was even more special because it was one of only very few Aston Martin sports racers fitted with a roof. Further racing cars on display were the very powerful DBR2 sports racer and one of only a handful of lightweight DB4 GTs built. Aston Martin also featured strongly on the Concept Car Lawn with the latest Vanquish Volante joined by two one-offs to celebrate the centennial; the CC100 Speedster and the DB9 Zagato Centennial Volante.
50 Years of Lamborghini and the Porsche 911
One of the featured marques a few years back, Lamborghini again took centre stage at Pebble Beach to mark the company's founding 50 years ago. Lined up for the celebrations were some of the earliest Lamborghinis, including the original 350 GTV and the very first 350 GT sold to a customer. Also on the lawn were the oldest surviving Miura production car and the very last built, sporting lovely contrasting colours of white and black respectively. The venerable Porsche 911 was born in the same year as Lamborghini and the six-cylinder engined machines were out in force. Perhaps the most special of all was the oldest surviving 901, which was rightly chosen by the students of the Revs Program at Stanford University as the most important car on the field. Other interesting 911s included a car used by the Dutch highway police, the 1973 Targa Florio winning works Carrera RSR and the 1979 Le Mans winning 935 K3.
Each of the 248 vehicles on the field had an interesting story but our time and probably yours only permits us to highlight a few. Our eye was particularly caught by the Duesenberg class, which featured the first and third production road car ever built by the iconic manufacturer. Especially the former was of a particularly striking design with a unique coupe body ordered from Bender in Cleveland by the current owner's grandfather. The other sported the very first Pheaton body created by Fleetwood. Another display of note was a line-up of all four surviving Benz Prinz Heinrich racers, two of which had only just been restored. They were joined in the early race car class by the oldest surviving Alfa Romeo. Tucked away in corner of the field were the traditional Ferrari classes, which nevertheless included a few gems. The Read brothers brought their freshly restored 250 LM and 512 S, while Jon Shirley displayed the one-off 212 MM, which has finally been restored to its original shape. In the Grand Touring class the 212 Vignale Coupe of Peter Kalikow and the 250 Europa GT Scaglietti Berlinetta of Lee Herrington stood out.
Best of Show
Touted by Master of Ceremonies Ed Herrmann as the 'moment we have all been waiting for' was the naming of 'Best of Show' at the end of the 'parade of elegance'. This year more so than in recent editions as for a change there was no clear winner. When the Packard 1108 Twelve Dietrich Convertible Victoria of Judge Joseph Cassini pulled on the ramp it was first met with some surprise but later admiration. Built on what is considered one of finest chassis of the 1930s, this unique machine features an understated but very elegant body created by Raymond Dietrich. Especially his trademark teardrop fenders stand out. When Judge Cassini bought the car some three years ago, it was basically a box of bits and it took RM Restorations a staggering 10,000 man hours to bring the car back to its former glory. The car was finished in a deep green, which added to its elegance but also ensured the car did not stand out like some of the flashier Best of Show winners of recent years.
Despite welcoming only the second American winner in the last two decades, the 63rd Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance was quite possibly the least American of recent years. For a change the key words this year were subtle and understated instead of loud and shiny. There were of course exceptions like the roaring racing Porsches and the bright orange Vanvooren Hispano Suizas. Nevertheless the 2013 Concours d'Elegance has a worthy winner that perfectly suited the atmosphere of that one day in the year when cars and not golfers are the stars at Pebble Beach.