The 2010 Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance Presented by Rolex
Who says these cars are fit only for the concours lawn? Or, for that matter, that there’s nothing free in life?
A knowledgeable spectator, on Highway One from morning to lunchtime on the Thursday of ‘Pebble week’, would have been able to see some of the best entries in action on public roads.
It’s not compulsory for concours entrants to run in the Tour. In fact, many of the more exotic entries, such as the 1952 Chet Herbert ‘Beast III’ Streamliner, would be hard-put to comply with modern traffic and the rules of the road. However, apart from it being a whole lot of fun, an entry in the Tour d’Elegance will settle the issue of a concours tie: if the points are equal, it’s the Tour car that will get the nod over a ‘lawn-only’ entry.
The cars assemble at 08:00 near Collins Field in Pebble Beach. They then make their way – in batches, with police outriders – along 17-Mile Drive, down Highway One to Big Sur Lodge, where they are then turned round. The return trip includes lunch on Ocean Avenue in Carmel-by-the-Sea. By 15:00 the cars are back in their trailers at Pebble, ready for some serious polishing and the big day on Sunday.
For 2010, the field was as varied as ever, with some ‘earlies’ solidly and stoically progressing through the Carmel Highlands as well as much faster, pure competition machinery... such as Hugh Taylor’s wonderful 1932 Alfa Romeo Tipo B.
I think I counted most of the Ferrari 250 GT SWBs crackle past, and smiled as the Pierce Arrow ‘woody’ towing its own aluminium caravan swept confidently on its way. Most of the Alfa 8Cs made the Tour, ranging from the sporting Monzas and Zagato Spiders to the late-30s, sublimely elegant blue coupé from the Alfa Romeo Museum in Italy and William E. ‘Chip’ Connor’s grey Touring-bodied Spider.
How often do you see a Siata 208S, let alone one on the road? Or a 1937 Bugatti 57S Atlantic, for that matter. The latter, strictly speaking, was just along for the ride, as it was an ‘exhibit only’ at the concours. As were the Jaguar XKSSs, more ‘exhibits’ conducting their own schedule of events but popping up on the official Tour route every now and again like cheeky English schoolboys.
If anything, you can appreciate these cars all the more when they are moving and, bar a $9.50 ticket for the (optional) trip along 17-Mile Drive, you can sit by the side of the road, taking it all in without spending a dime. A great event and one of the highlights of the week.
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.
Text: Steve Wakefield
Photos: Classic Driver - all strictly copyright
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