The 2010 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance - 60 Years and Counting
This year saw the 60th anniversary of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance staged on the hallowed greens that hosted the US Open a mere two months previously.... writes John Mayston-Taylor, a concours judge and entrant.
Celebrating '60 Years of Automotive Excellence', featured marques were Alfa Romeo, Jaguar and Pierce-Arrow; with special classes celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Ferrari 250 GT SWB, the centennial of the Indianapolis 500 and highlights of the styling of Ghia.
With more than 200 cars and motorcycles (a far cry from the informal gathering of 28 cars in 1950) to be judged within 29 classes, there was sure to be something of interest for everyone.
Attendees of Pebble Beach seem to fall into two categories - those who get up before dawn [your Editor...] to see the cars arrive and watch as they are finally prepared for their day ‘on the lawn’, and who then tend to leave before the crowds arrive; and there are those like me who now arrive mid-morning and join in with the many enthusiasts soaking up the unique atmosphere of one of the greatest cars shows on earth.
Walking the field remains, for me, one of the most pleasurable experiences at a concours event; and at Pebble Beach, it is heightened by the vast array of flowing lines and elegant details restored to perfection. Strolling in the warm California sunshine beside the deep blue Pacific Ocean, chatting with friends and owners, it is always special to meet first-timers who are truly amazed by the organisation and professionalism shown in all aspects of the Pebble Beach event.
A marque always close to my heart is Jaguar and, having been actively involved with the XK-SS model for many years with Lynx, it was impressive to see the majority of the XK-SS production gathered together for the first time in 44 years. Looking lithe and sleek, these diminutive road-racers are now mostly painted dark green. I do hope the owners will one day be bold enough to have their cars finished in their original colours. I have always considered that one of the most interesting aspects of the XK-SS is the variety of colours in which they were produced.
The Preservation Classes at Pebble Beach are fast gaining ground and this year saw an interesting selection of cars that encouraged close inspection and admiration. To resist the temptation to restore requires self-control, humility and good judgement. It was a pleasure to witness examples of this long-term approach to car ownership.
Together with the traditional classes to be judged, the concept lawn and private model launches never disappoint and provide a pointer to trends in the future.
Nestling among the concept cars, one of the more innovative designs was the VSR Concept Sports Rod, designed and funded by former Vice President of Design for GM (and fellow concours judge), Wayne Cherry. Combining outstanding performance with the minimal design aesthetic, the car is also an evocative expression of automotive art. Definitely not a car for the faint-hearted!
McLaren chose this year’s event to showcase its new MP4-12C sports car and, judging by the interest shown, the car should be a success in this important market.
After much deliberation and fanfare, Best of Show was awarded to the stunning 1933 Delage D8S De Villars Roadster of the Patterson Collection from Louisville, Kentucky. Edging out the 1929 Bentley Speed Six Park Ward Open Two-Seater and the 1930 Duesenberg J Grager Cabriolet, the combination of one-off mechanicals and body by coachbuilder De Villars achieved a worthy win for the Delage.
Sixty years sounds, and seems, like a long time for a concours event, but with interest in all aspects of the car collector hobby as strong and healthy as ever, in some ways it feels like the beginning of the next 60 at Pebble Beach.
Next year’s Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance is scheduled for Sunday August 21 2011, with Mercedes-Benz and 125 Years of the Automobile, the Stutz Centennial, Italian Motorcycles and the Ferrari 250 GTO as some of the official themes.
You can read the review of the Gooding & Company official Pebble Beach auction elsewhere on Classic Driver.
Editor's Note: We will be covering the Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance presented by Rolex, 'The Quail' and the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca next week on Classic Driver.
Text: John Mayston-Taylor
Photos: Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance and Classic Driver - all strictly copyright
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