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2005 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance
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Annually on the third Sunday of August, the meticulously prepared 18th hole of the exclusive Pebble Beach Golf Links receives a stampede from thousands of automotive enthusiasts who gather to admire the stunning cars lining the shoreline fairway. The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is highly acclaimed, and generally acknowledged as the finest of its kind. Every aspect of the event is thoroughly organized including the approval of potential entries. All vehicle histories are scrutinized before acceptance and class judges are carefully selected from the best knowledge base around the world. The nerve-racking awards presentation begins early in the afternoon with the class and special awards winners driving onto the oceanfront stage in front of the Lodge. Finally the best in show trophy is chosen from the class winners by honorary judge’s ballot. A positive result at Pebble Beach automatically increases the value of any car entered, and the best in show has become the most coveted prize for all collectors. There must be some sort of winning formula as the event’s 54 year history has seen many multiple winners such as Formula 1 world champion Phil Hill and fashion designer Ralph Lauren. No one however has outdone the six wins by the late J.B. Nethercutt.

Tour d’Elegance
Click here to open the slideshowA common complaint from spectators and collectors alike is that the Pebble Beach show field is full of “trailer queens”, which are carefully transported to and from events, sometimes without ever running on public roads as they were intended. This is the result of the strict judging for which the condition of these often freshly restored cars is of the utmost importance. A number of years ago this problem was somewhat addressed with the introduction of the Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance, run on the Thursday before the Concours. Although participation in the Tour is not mandatory, in the result of a Concours judging tie, a Tour entered car will be favoured.
For this year’s tour a new 50 mile route south along the Pacific Coast Highway was arranged. After a brief run past the Pebble Beach Lodge, the cars exited the Del Monte Forest via 17 Mile Drive. The California Highway Patrol escorted them through Monterra Ranch properties and out of Carmel Valley onto historic Highway 1 where all 90 entrants passed a road sign indicating many miles of twisty road to come. The turnaround point was the Point Sur Naval Station and lunch was served in downtown Carmel.
Spectators and photographers lined along the breathtaking coastal route to enjoy the extraordinary procession led by Sir Stirling Moss in a Mercedes Benz 300 SL Roadster. Bixby Bridge is one of Americas most photographed bridges and was a particularly popular gathering spot for tourists, media, and local residents.
We followed the cars along the route and captured them through the Del Monte Forest and along Highway 1 near and on Bixby Bridge in a 100-shot slideshow.

Concours d’Elegance
Click here to open the slideshowCelebrating the company’s 90th anniversary, Alfa Romeo was this year’s featured marque. Eight different classes covered the history of the Italian manufacturer from its earliest models to the Tipo 33s of the early 1970s. Alfa Romeo’s factory museum supplied seven cars for the Historical Display Class, and were complemented by all three Bertone designed B.A.T. Concept cars. For various reasons many of these were for display only.
Alfa Romeos shared the shoreline row with various Pininfarina bodied cars, which became the icing on the cake for the designer’s 75th birthday party. The Italian coachbuilder is often associated with Ferrari, but the varied line-up of American, British, German and Italian vehicles showcased their diversity.
The third ‘birthday boy’ was the century old Delage company, which built some of the most exclusive French cars of the Inter Bellum. The 8 cylinder cars of the 1930s receive particularly high regards. These united a refined engine with some of the most extravagant custom coachbuilt bodies. One of the most recognizable of these is the stunning D8 120 Letourneur & Marchand Aerosport Coupe.
Long before the introduction of exotic materials, wood was one of the popular weight saving materials. The Skiff body style was among the most extreme methods of incorporating wood. Skiff literally means ‘small boat’ in both English and French, which is very much reflected in the design of these wind-cheating bodies. The leading designer / constructor of the Skiff body was the French Labourdette, who bodied chassis of various manufacturers. The unique wood body style was commemorated with a separate class, which contained only unrestored, original examples.
Phil Hill is probably best known for his Formula 1 championship winning performance of 1961, but he also has a long standing relationship with events around Pebble Beach. In 1955 he won the Pebble Beach road race in a Ferrari 750 Monza and on the same day his freshly restored Pierce Arrow was awarded best in show. That was the first time the judges chose a classic car to win. In the previous five years relatively new cars took top honours. Fifty years later this achievement was celebrated with the same Pierce Arrow being joined by the Ferrari 750 Monza that Hill won the race with. Coincidently, the Ferrari has been owned for a long time by Jim Hall, who’s Chaparrals were featured prominently in the Historic Races this year at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Regulars like Ferrari, Duesenberg, Mercedes Benz and Rolls Royce all had a class of their own. New for this year was class T reserved for Early Custom Cars from 1935-1948. Modern concept cars were corralled on the putting green and included new releases like the Alfa Romeo 8C Spider and a production Bugatti Veyron 16.4.
After several hours of judging and a few more dispensing awards, the 26 best in class vehicles filled the winner’s circle. It was now up to the honorary judges to pick the winner. After ballots were counted, Sandra Kasky, Concours co-Chairman and Ed Gilbertson, Chief Judge wandered through the class winners to congratulate the fortunate owner, but not before several suspenseful moments in front of numerous deserving examples. They concluded their stroll in front of Sam and Emily Mann and Alfredo Brenner, who’s perfectly restored Pourtout bodied Delage D8 120 proved to be the victor. For Sam Mann it was his fourth ‘best in show’.

Conclusion
It was the first Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance visit for this author, but it will most likely not be the last. A common belief is that once you’ve visited the Monterey Peninsula events once, you’re certain to return. To find out why sit back, relax and go through our 200-shot slideshow of the Concours.

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Report by Wouter Melissen and images by Pieter Melissen, Rob Clements and Wouter Melissen for Ultimatecarpage.com.