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2017 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance
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The third Sunday of August is reserved each year for the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. For the visitors of the prestigious event, it is the culmination of a week of events on the Monterey Peninsula, while for the entrants and their restorers it represents the end of often years of work. Among the special features in 2017 were Isotta Fraschini and Ferrari's 70th Anniversary, and additionally there were special classes for American Dream Cars of the 1960s and Californian Specials that raced in the Pebble Beach Road Races.
Our photographers were on the 18th fairway of the Pebble Beach Golf links on Sunday from the now legendary 'Dawn Patrol' through to the last cars left the field again. The result is this class-by-class, 260-shot gallery. Earlier in the week, we also snapped a 50-shot gallery of the Tour d'Elegance, which, fortunately, could follow the familiar route down Highway 1 to Big Sur once more.

Isotta Fraschini
Established by Cesare Isotta and Vincenzo Fraschini, Isotta Fraschini was Italy's most prestigious marque, particularly during the roaring 1920s. The two partners had started importing French cars into Italy but their ultimate goal was to produce a car of their own. The very first of these was built in 1901 and featured a DeDion Bouton engine. Shown at that year's Milan Motor Show as a rolling chassis, this very first Isotta Fraschini has survived and recently joined Corrado Lopresto's collection after having spent many decades in the basement of the Henry Ford museum. It lined up on the Pacific coast shoreline along with the very last, rear engined Isotta Fraschinis, which are also part of Lopresto's stable. Much better known are the straight-eight engined Tipo 8s, which were very popular with the rich and famous in the United States. They were showcased at Pebble in three separate classes and boasted colourful and spectacularly styled coachwork. In addition to the road-going Isotta Fraschinis, three competition cars were also entered, including one of the Tipo IM cars that raced in the 1913 Indy 500.

Ferrari's 70th Anniversary
A set fixture at all major events this year is Ferrari's 70th anniversary celebration and Pebble Beach was no exception. It did stand out with the sheer number and quality of the Ferraris that lined up in the four special classes. Among the Italian marque's famous machines were numerous Le Mans and Mille Miglia winning examples as well as all three of the Boano bodied specials. These have been part of the Robert M. Lee collection for many decades but have not been seen in public together since the late 1980s. We were also particularly taken by the two 1970s Grand Prix winning Formula 1 cars, one of which even placed second in the Major Race Winners class. It was trumped only by John McCaw's 1957 Mille Miglia winning 315 S, which also was among the three nominees for the coveted Best of Show award. One of its sister cars, the slightly larger engined 335 S, brought by Andreas Mohringer and having benefited from a complete restoration by Paul Russel, also won its class.

Further Highlights
Oversubscribed, being granted an entry for the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance already speaks volumes of a car, so there were quite a few highlights on the field. One that we should definitely mention is the beautifully original Abarth 1000 Record car that was affectionately known as 'La Principessa' or the princess. Also clothed by Pinin Farina was a unique Jaguar XK120 that had been meticulously restored by British specialists Classic Motor Cars. For good measure, we were also treated to a slightly later Zagato bodied Jaguar XK140 and an XK120 customised by George Barrett. Absolutely defying the senses was the Lane Motor Museum's Gyro-X that starred in the American Specials class. Thanks to a gyroscope running at 3,000 rpm, the Mini-powered machine can run on two wheels only. The same class also featured the unique Type 101 Bugatti bodied by Ghia in 1965 following a very wild design by Virgil Exner and also a Cobra-engined special that used a pre-War Maserati Grand Prix car chassis It was also particularly impressive to see no fewer than four 1907 Renault Vanderbilt cars line-up in the Opel Wheel Race Cars class.

Best of Show
The Grande Finale of the event and for that matter the whole week was the announcement of the winner of the coveted Best of Show award. In addition of John McCaw's aforementioned Ferrari 315 S, the nominees also included the Mercedes-Benz S Barker Tourer entered by John's brother Bruce and a Packard 906 Twin Six brought by Chip Connor. Eventually it was the freshly restored Mercedes-Benz that was called forward to be bestowed the ultimate honour. A unique car, it combined the supercharged Mercedes-Benz underpinnings with a Barker bodystyle that was more commonly used by the Rolls-Royces of the day. It was built to customer order of Lord Howe, who was a co-founder of the BRDC and would win Le Mans outright a few years later with an Alfa Romeo. Its conception was not particularly well documented and it took previous owner Charles Bronson five years of research to get a clear picture. In 2012, it was already shown at Pebble Beach but in unrestored form and finished in all white. Soon after, it was acquired by Bruce McCaw and the restoration, performed by Steve Babinsky, started in earnest. The car's sporting lines were further accentuated by the many polished aluminium panels and Howe's personal 'Curzon Blue' finish.

Final Thoughts
There was little to fault this year's Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance from its well deserved Best of Show winner to the four mesmerising Ferrari classes. It never ceases to amaze how the event's team can gather such a distinguished collection of cars each year. For 2018, there will be one major change as the event is due to be staged on the fourth Sunday of August to allow for the American Amateur Golf championship to be played at Pebble a week earlier.

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Report by Wouter Melissen and images by Wouter Melissen and Pieter Melissen for Ultimatecarpage.com