Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance 2012

   

De Dion-Bouton 1901 Motorette Vis a Vis

I attended the 62nd annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance for you this year, in case you couldn’t make it.  Concours d’Elegance is fancy term for “car show”, rooted in the 17th century French aristocracy who paraded their fancy horse-drawn carriages in the fancy parks of Paris during the summer.

Entrance to the Pebble Beach event is by invitation only, and the vehicles are restored to a standard exceeding in many cases those of the manufacturer.  Unlike your neighborhood car show however, the cars are judged thoroughly by trained experts, and only those that are perfect (or nearly so) will be considered for a trophy in their class or beyond.

Cars are exhibited by class, and this year’s classes included Antique through 1915, American Classic, European Classic, Preservation, Duesenberg, Shelby Cobra, Ferrari, Fiat (through 1945), Mercedes Benz, Mercer, Rolls Royce, Cars of the Maharaja, and other specialty classes.

Pebble Beach is a beautiful backdrop for these cars, the rarest of rare in many cases.

Cars are exhibited by class, and this year’s classes included Antique through 1915, American Classic, European Classic, Preservation, Duesenberg, Shelby Cobra, Ferrari, Fiat (through 1945), Mercedes Benz, Mercer, Rolls Royce, Cars of the Maharaja, and other specialty classes.

The Preservation class is particularly interesting, as these cars are exhibited in unrestored condition – authentic and well preserved cars sporting original finishes and the patina of time. The Ferrari and pre-war Mercedes classes are also perennial favorites of mine and did not disappoint here.

Many of the owners enjoy sharing details about their cars and the restorations. I learned a bit about how much you have to master to operate an antique car like a 1903 Cadillac – quite a contrast to today where you simply turn the key and go.

Observing the judges as they inspect a car and dialogue with the owner is interesting as well. One owner indicated that he had not yet won with his car, to which one of the judges retorted “your streak will remain unbroken today.” This particular car, the Maserati 1956 Zagato, did go on to win its class.

102 year-old Margaret Dunning received a special award presented by Jay Leno for her 1930 Packard 740 Custom Eight Roadster, which she has owned for over 60 years and drove herself in the Tour d’Elegance and up onto the ramp for her award.

Many manufacturers have their own exhibit tents on the adjacent grounds, however McLaren’s was the only that I visited. On exhibit were their street-going MP4-12c, an F1 race car, and a 12c Can-Am Edition concept car that looked like it would be serious business on the track. I also passed by the Jaguar exhibition where they featured a rare D-Type racer from the mid-1950’s.

The event ended with the Best in Show award for a 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680S Saoutchik Torpedo, a Mercedes chassis sporting custom bodywork by the french coachbuilder Jacques Saoutchik.

A legendary tradition at a legendary venue.

My Pick for Best In Show at Rodeo Drive CE

Image

   

My favorite from this year’s Rodeo Drive Concours d’Elegance – a beautiful 1962 Aston Martin DB4 Drophead coupe that appeared flawless. Hard to believe that this is a 50 year-old car.

Click to enlarge

Aston Martin 1962 DB4 Drophead

Yosemite Camping Trip

   

A four-day camping, hiking, biking, swimming, educational and gastronomical extravaganza in Yosemite National Park with a group of friends.

Yosemite Vista

How to do Yosemite right:

  1. Reserve campsite in Upper Pines Campground.   Continue reading

Ridin’ the Rails

Image

   

At Travel Town in Griffith Park (LA).

Griffith Park & Southern Railroad

2011 Greystone Mansion Concours d’Elegance

   

Last year’s inaugural event featured many exotic and rare autos, and the tradition continued this year.

I am an Alfaholic

Image

   

This spectacular pre-war Alfa won several major races including 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Mille Miglia and the Spa 24 Hour.

Alfa Romeo 1932 8C 2300