2009 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
Robert Lee’s 1937 Horch 853 Voll & Ruhrbeck Sport Cabriolet - Best of Show at the 2009 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance
The annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is always a huge celebration of the style and form of the automobile. Now in its 59th year, the themes were many and varied, with celebrations that included the birthdays of famed English car company Morgan (100th) and racing icon Sir Stirling Moss (80th).
Featured marques this year were Bentley and Bugatti. Bentley chose to launch its latest offering, the Bentley Mulsanne, with Richard Charlesworth MVO, Head of VIP and Royal Relations, driving the car onto the show ramp to rapturous applause. A very stylish entrance.
One of the more recent features of the Concours is the Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance presented by Rolex. Open to all entrants of the Concours, it takes place on the Thursday prior to the event itself, and finishers of the Tour can gain a valuable advantage if there’s a tie in the Concours scoring on Sunday. The Tour provides an opportunity for owners and friends to experience the pleasure of driving along the splendid roads of the Monterey Peninsula that border the Pacific coastline.
The Tour gathers early in the morning near the Pebble Beach Polo Field and is a jolly affair with friendly waves and much interest shown in the great variety of entries. After winding through the picturesque roads of 17-Mile Drive, there is a brief stop at Big Sur Lodge before the cars return along Highway 1 for the lunch stop in Carmel. A wonderful spectacle unfolds with the cars coming to a halt along Ocean Avenue for the enjoyment of the public.
This year, I shared the pleasure of driving an extremely original 1931 Packard 833 Sport Phaeton with Jack Boxstrom. This beautifully preserved example was the deserved winner of the FIVA Pre-War Award at Pebble Beach on the Sunday. The Packard ran faultlessly with its art deco gauges behaving impeccably. An unforgettable experience with some of the most breathtaking scenery as the backdrop. We were reminded of the venerable age of this car when passing over the historic Bixby Creek Bridge, opened in 1932 to introduce automobile travel to Big Sur.
Strolling among the stunning selection of cars displayed on the manicured lawns at Pebble Beach, while chatting with friends, is one of the most pleasurable ‘car activities’ on offer. This year was no exception. The social scene is also part of the fun, with many colourful picnics and, to add to the celebrity atmosphere, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger made a surprise visit to assist Jay Leno with the traditional charity auction.
Judging at Pebble Beach is always an intense affair with entries often separated by only a single point. This year’s Best of Show was Robert Lee’s 1937 Horch 853 Voll & Ruhrbeck Sport Cabriolet, which was favoured by many.
Another spectacular event that capped off a week-long continuing love affair with the automobile.
Text: John Mayston-Taylor
Photos: Ron Kimball Studios / Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance / The Author
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