It was my first time at the Pebble Beach Concours, the most prestigious automotive gathering in the world. With only one day, and knowing nothing about any of the logistics involved in just being a spectator, I threw myself into it all just hoping to not embarrass myself. The word “overwhelming” doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of the feeling I had being at this hallowed event for the first time
I walked in, seeing all of the manufacturers booths: Infiniti, Cadillac, Tesla, Kia….Kia? Then Ferrari, Lamborghini, BMW, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz, etc. Then came Concept Lawn, Which apparently by standards set in previous years, was fairly anemic. The BMW CSL Hommage was definitely more striking in person than in photos.
Walking into the main lawn was just what I expected. I saw many cars I had only read about, but i also saw cars I had never heard of. Swallow Sidecar, duPont, Isotta Fraschini. I did everything I could to study the differences between these cars, and listen to any and all stories I could. Really the stories which are attached to these cars is in large part what makes them valuable. There was an Abarth Ghia which was restored by its owner in Calgary, in a one-car garage during the cold winters in Canada. Those kinds of stories are much more impressive to me than hearing about a billionaire hiring Pininfarina to restore his vintage Ferrari (although I would still drool at the Ferrari for an hour).
It was also incredibly heartening to discover that they recognized 50s Kustom Mercuries this year. The fact that people took these relatively mundane cars home from the dealership, chopped them up, and created cars just as beautiful as any coach built cars in Europe speaks volumes for American ingenuity, determination and bravado.
If I had it to do all over again, I would spend more time in Monterey during the week, but the Concours wasn’t all that bad. Here is a gallery of photos I took during my time there. Let us know what you think, and if you have a favorite, leave it in the comments.