In the beginning, the Pebble Beach Concours dâElegance was an afterthought, an ancillary event to
the Pebble Beach Road Race. According to event chair Sandra Button, when the automobile-focused
weekend first began in 1950, the concours was created as a venue for car enthusiasts to showcase
their most recent acquisitionsâan event where like-minded people could kick tires and share in their
appreciation of the automobile as mechanical art.
These days, the concours has become the focal point of the auto events in Monterey, Calif., and
according to Button, it continues to succeed based on its ability to incorporate the requests and interests
of its participants. She points to 1997, the first year that the event included a class for historic street rods,
as a perfect example. âI think of the Pebble Beach concours as a symphony,â she explains. âThere are a
bunch of instruments and theyâre very different, but they come together to celebrate the automobile. And
hot rods are a very authentic reflection of the passion for the automobile in their era.â
This yearâs event, which took place on August 19, showcased 220 cars from 33 states across the
U.S., as well as 15 countries around the world. It also brought an added cultural element by featuring
two classes dedicated to historical cars with Maharaja roots. A 1935 Duesenberg Model J Gurney
Nutting Speedster claimed top honors in the open Maharaja class, while a 1925 Rolls-Royce Phantom I
Barker Sports Torpedo Tourer capture first place in the Maharaja class dedicated to Rolls-Royce. Most
surprising, according to Button, was that many of the participating vehicles were shown by the Indian
royal families that still own them. âAs fantastic as all these cars are, none of them come to the show by
themselves,â Button says. âItâs the people who take care of them and the enthusiasts who preserve them
or restore them that really make the show.â
Another new addition to the Pebble Beach Concours lineup focuses on individual coachbuilders,
which showcases a single coachbuilderâs best work on a variety of chassis. According to Button, the
class helps the general public to better understand what it meant to have a coach-built car. This yearâs
coachbuilder class featured the work of Saoutchik, a French company founded in 1906 that flourished
during the 1930s for its extravagant designs. In fact, the winner of the Saoutchik classâa 1928 Mercedes-
Benz 680S Torpedoâalso won Best of Show.
Next yearâs concours, which takes place on Sunday, August 18, 2013, promises to offer more of
the same, with a class dedicated to Simplex (an early auto marque with great racing history), Lamborghini
(in celebration of its 50th anniversary), and Van Vooren (a Parisian coachbuilder that built bodies for
Bugatti, Rolls-Royce, Bentley, and Hispano-Suiza, among others). To read more about this yearâs event
and for more information about the 2013 concours, visit www.pebblebeachconcours.net.
To browse for a classic automobile of your own, click here.