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Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance

Pebble Beach Concours d^Elegance December 2006
The Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance is considered the premier concours in North America, and arguably, the world. It is the signature event for the collector car hobbyist and takes place during a very busy week, filled with over fifty related automotive events which include the Monterey Historic Automobile Races and numerous classic car auctions and shows. With so many automotive enthusiasts congregated in one location, many major manufacturers and luxury bands take the opportunity to unveil new models or display their current line-up. This year, Rolls-Royce, Tesla, Spyker, Volkswagen, Jaguar, Saab, Ford, Infiniti, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz and Pininfarina promoted their newest offerings.

The 175 carefully selected show cars are displayed on the 18th fairway of the Pebble Beach Golf Links in Pebble Beach, California. The cars are among the most rare and unique in the world, many making their first public appearance in decades. All of the entrants were invited to participate in the Tour d'Elegance, taking place a few days prior to the concours. The route takes the cars on some of the finest and scenic roadways in the area. The tour is optional, but a successful completion of the tour gives the car an edge in case of a tie.

This year, the celebrated marques were Delahaye and Voisin. The concours recognized the Pebble Beach road races of the early 1950s, early mid-engined prototypes and concepts, and Victoria convertibles. Both Delahaye and Voisin were ultra-luxury automobiles produced during the Art Deco era and fitted with the greatest coachwork available. The Delahaye models were mostly clothed by French coachbuilders and given sporty, aerodynamic, and rounded designs with flamboyant features such as tail fins and a generous use of chrome. In contrast, the Voisin cars were mostly designed by French airplane constructor Gabriel Voisin who drew-up angular designs, with low-slung chassis and finished the cars in lightweight aluminum. Time has not been kind to many of the aluminum bodies, and few examples have survived. Thirteen Voisin vehicles were on display, making it the largest showing in many years, possibly since the company went out of production in 1939.

Sharing the coveted real estate, sitting next to the featured marques and overlooking the ocean, were the 'cars that raced in the forest.' During the early 1950s, the Pebble Beach Concours was held in conjunction with the Pebble Beach Road Races, taking place on the roads of the Del Monte Forest. The course was narrow with few safeguards for the automobile, spectators, or drivers. Among the historic winners are names such as Phil Hill, Carroll Shelby, Ken Miles, and Masten Gregory. In 1957, the racing was moved for safety reasons to the Laguna Seca Raceway.

Other manufacturers given their own judging class were Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, Rolls-Royce, and Duesenberg. In the Ferrari group was a Ferrari 125S, which many believe to be the first Ferrari to ever wear the Ferrari badge. A collection of Grand Touring and Competition Ferrari's made up the rest of the group. The Rolls-Royce, Duesenberg and Mercedes-Benz groups were made up of cars constructed in the pre-war era. The Rolls-Royces on display included Silver Ghosts and Phantoms. Mercedes ranged from their very early Simplex models to their 500/540K/770K Series. The large and stately Duesenberg Model J's were some of the finest examples ever produced by the Duesenberg Automobile & Motors Company, Inc.

The cars in the 'Mid-Engined Show Cars, Prototypes, and Concept Cars signified a shift in the exotic car arena as marques experimented with mid-engine design and the technology required making it a success. By placing the engine mid-ship, the cars weight was more evenly distributed throughout the vehicle and the front end can be built much lower to the ground. The results were improvements in performance and handling, and new designs in automotive architecture. Each of the cars on display was produced in very low numbers, in most cases fewer than two or three. Some were designs studies while others were intended for competition. All were experimentations with the benefits of putting the 'cart before the horse.'

Best of Show
Since this may be the premier automotive event in the world, being crowned Best of Show would mean the winner is among the greatest automobiles ever built and still in existence. These are the finest examples of design and engineering to ever grace the roadways. To win this honor, the car must be authentically restored, in running condition, with every part of the car in working condition. The car must possess the highest degree of craftsmanship, fit, finish, and elegance. It has to be the best-of-the-best. In recent years, there has been a growing trend towards 'over-restoration.' Beginning this year, over-restoration could mean the deduction in points.

The story of this year's winner is one of determination and persistence. For the winner, this was his twenty-seventh attempt at winning the overall prize. On many attempts, the allusive goal had nearly come to fruition. The winning car, which had not yet been announced, along with two-other potential candidates were brought together at the base of the ramp where they awaited the official decision. The anticipation was intense; all ears were carefully in-tune to the announcer's voice, anxiously waiting for the decision. And then it happened; history was made. The judges had selected the Daimler Double Six Corsica Roadster as their favorite and the most deserving of the award. The announcement was followed by fireworks and blasts of confetti. Bob Lee drove his Daimler onto the stage where he accepted the award that had evaded his cross-hairs for so many years.

The car has a fantastic history and is truly one of the more unique and exotic creations ever constructed. It has a low-slung rear end and sits atop of 23-inch wheels. The front fenders are nearly taller than the body of the car! There are two doors, seating for four, right-hand drive, and a drop top. The double-six engine sits in an engine bay that is ten-feet from bumper to windscreen. The Daimler had recently been restored by RM Restorations, and was making its debut at the concours.

Conclusion
During the brief history of the automobile, artisans have crafted some of the finest man-made beauties to ever roam the earth. Every year, the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance showcases an exclusive group of paragons that are unmatched and unequaled, and among the greatest examples of their kind in the world. This is an event for the purest of collector and automotive enthusiast, with many of the cars worth millions. Even the no-expense spared restorations would be more than most could ever afford. For this, we are thankful that there are dedicated individuals who work hard to preserve history and share it with the rest of the world.

Many make the annual journey to the concours, and with nearly 200 vehicles on display, it quickly makes it difficult to enjoy the vehicle in intimate detail. Over 600 media credentials were handed out this year, making this a well documented and crowded event. The award ceremony helps in this area, as flocks of people gather to watch the winners roll onto stage. Plenty of opportunities present themselves to admire the vehicle with unobstructed views, as the vehicle makes the journey from the golf course lawn to the stage,

For some of the cars on display, this will be their only public outing for many years to come, possibly, an once-in-a-lifetime experience to enjoy the car. It is impressive that the Pebble Beach Concours continues to find the most elegant and deserving to grace the lawn and vie for top honors.

For some, next years concours began many years ago with the searching, restoring, and perfecting their potential concours winner. For others, it is a grueling wait to see what period and piece of history will be showcased next.

Galleries

1903 Clement Rear Entry Tonneau  
1907 Auburn Model K  
1908 Thomas Flyer F  
1911 Oldsmobile Limited  
1913 Benz 82/200HP  
1913 Stutz Series B  
1913 Waverley Electric Model 93  

1927 Marmon Model E-75  
1930 Packard 734  
1931 Cord L-29  

1932 Lincoln Model KB  
1933 Packard 1005 Twelve  
1934 Packard 1108 Twelve  
1936 Auburn 852  

1930 Lincoln Model L  
1931 Chrysler CG Imperial  
1931 Lincoln Model K  
1932 Packard Model 904 DeLuxe Eight  

1927 LaSalle Model 303  
1930 Ruxton Model C  
1932 Packard Model 904 DeLuxe Eight  
1933 Pierce Arrow Model 836  

1936 Delahaye Type 135  
1936 Delahaye Type 135 Sport  
1937 Delahaye 135M  
1938 Delahaye Type 135  
1939 Delahaye Type 135 M  
1939 Delahaye Type 165  

1937 Delahaye Type 145  
1947 Delahaye type 135 M  
1948 Delahaye 135 M  
1949 Delahaye Type 175  
1952 Delahaye Type 235  

1929 Duesenberg Model J  
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy  
1930 Duesenberg Model J Murphy  
1931 Duesenberg Model J Murphy  

1913 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost  
1914 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost  
1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom I  
1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom I  
1933 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental  
1938 Rolls-Royce Phantom III  

1909 Mercedes-Benz Simplex  
1929 Mercedes-Benz Model S  
1930 Mercedes-Benz 770K  
1934 Mercedes-Benz 500K  
1939 Mercedes-Benz 540K  

1932 Bucciali TAV 12  
1932 Delage D8S  
1936 Bugatti Type 57  
1937 Delage D8 120  
1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B  

1930 Bentley Speed Six  
1930 Bugatti Type 43  
1930 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A  
1931 Daimler Double Six  
1934 Bugatti Type 57  
1934 Mercedes-Benz 500K  

1937 MG SA  
1938 Talbot-Lago T150C  
1939 Bugatti Type 57  
1939 Lagonda V12  

1928 OM Tipo 665  
1930 Bentley 4.5-liter  
1937 Delahaye Type 145  
1937 Lagonda LG45 Rapide  
1938 AC 16/90  

1906 Ford Model K  
1911 Cole Series 30 Model L  
1914 Turcat-Mery LG  
1919 Pierce Arrow Model 48  
1921 Hispano Suiza H6B  
1925 Amilcar 4CGS  
1925 Packard Model 236  
1929 Duesenberg Model J  
1929 Duesenberg Model J Murphy  

1952 Ferrari 212/225 Inter  
1955 Ferrari 250 Europa GT  
1956 Ferrari 250 GT Boano  
1961 Ferrari 400 Superamerica  
1962 Ferrari 250 GT SWB  

1947 Ferrari 125 S  
1955 Ferrari 375 MM Speciale  
1956 Ferrari 250 GT TdF  
1956 Ferrari 625 LM  
1957 Ferrari 250 TR  
1957 Ferrari 410 Superamerica  
1957 Ferrari 625 TRC  
1966 Ferrari 275 GTB Competition  

1922 Voisin C3 Strasbourg  
1927 Voisin C11  
1927 Voisin C7  
1931 Voisin C20  
1931 Voisin C23 Myra  
1932 Voisin C23  

1934 Voisin Type C-27  
1935 Voisin C25  
1935 Voisin C28  
1938 Voisin C28  

1953 Fiat 8V  
1954 Alfa Romeo 1900  
1959 Fiat Abarth 750 GT Zagato  
1966 Alfa Romeo TZ2  

1948 Cadillac Saoutchik Series 62  
1949 Bentley Mark VI  
1954 Hudson Italia  
1956 Bentley S1  
1956 Dual Ghia Convertible  

1963 ATS 2500 GT  
1967 Bizzarrini P538  
1968 Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 Stradale  
1970 AMC AMX III  
1970 Monteverdi Hai 450SS  

1933 Alfa Romeo Wynn-Bamford Special  
1949 Cannon MKI  
1949 Ferrari 166MM  
1950 Allard J2  
1950 Jaguar XK-120  
1953 Jaguar C-Type  
1954 MG R2 Flying Shingle  
1954 Porsche 356  

1951 Jaguar XK120  
1951 Talbot-Lago T26 GS LM  
1952 Jaguar C-Type  
1953 Siata 208 S  
1954 Arnolt Bolide  
1955 Jaguar XK-D D-Type  
1958 Aston Martin DB2/4 MK III  
1959 Osca 372 FS  

1911 EMF Model 30  
1913 Peugeot L45  
1923 Miller 122  
1949 Maserati 4CLT/48  
1950 Schroeder Indianapolis Special  
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