The 55th edition of one of the world’s most prestigious car shows returns to Monterey County next month…
In less than a month (August 21st, 2016), the eyes of the classic car world will be focused on Monterey County, where the 55th annual Concours d?Elegance will grace the Pebble Beach Golf Links once again. While everyday classic car shows are very similar in many cases, the Pebble Beach Concours d?Elegance offers far more than a collection of expensive of powerful cars. The Pebble Beach Concours fields some of the worlds’ most unique and prestigious cars. The show offers enthusiasts a once in a lifetime glimpse at automobile royalty.
The European Roots of Concours d’Elegance & Road Race Era
The roots of Concours d?Elegance (meaning ?competition of elegance?) exhibitions date back to 17th century France. Aristocrats gathered in the parks around Paris and showed off their horse-drawn carriages. As the primary mode of transportation shifted toward motorized vehicles, Concours events evolved into a competition focused on the best looking cars. The 1950 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance was the first of its kind in North America. Of the hundreds of Concours events that take place every year worldwide, Pebble Beach is considered the crown jewel.
The Pebble Beach Concours d?Elegance started as a supplementary event of the Pebble Beach Road Races. During the infamous Road Races, drivers tested their skills among the rough, twisty roads of Pebble Beach. The event proved popular with racing enthusiasts and continued until tragedy struck.
Tragedy and the Dawn of Laguna Seca
A racer died during the 1956 race when his car struck a tree, and officials put subsequent races on hold until a safer alternative could be found. Race executives eventually partnered with the US government to build an official racetrack at nearby Fort Ord. With permission granted, builders proceeded with construction of the now-famous Laguna Seca racetrack.
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For many years, the races at Laguna Seca ran concurrently with the Concours show. Over time, track shifted focus to its own calendar of races. Similarly, Concours focused on exhibiting one-of-a-kind classic cars. Though the road races have stopped, both Laguna Seca and Concours still honor their lineage to this day. In 1974, Laguna Seca initiated ?historic races? during the week leading up to the Concours. The event proved so popular that today the track collaborates with the Concours to organize the annual Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, where hundreds of classic cars converge race on the notoriously challenging track.
What to Expect at the 2016 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
This year’s event will feature over two hundred treasured automobiles lined up on the Pebble Beach courses? picturesque 18th fairway, . The entrants will be judged in 20 different classes based on manufacturer, type of vehicle, and age. Judges for the event focus on authenticity, historical accuracy, and of course, style. 1st, 2nd and 3rd place awards are given in out in each class. The first place winners moving on to vie for the coveted “Best in Show” award.
Simply put, winning Best in Show at the Pebble Beach Concours d?Elegance is an owners dream. Owners often spend years and often hundreds of thousands of dollars on the restoration and preservation of these cars. Although most owners describe their dedication as a labor of love, winning Best in Show proves to be a wise investment as well. The annual winner typically adds hundreds of thousands (and sometimes millions) of dollars to the value of their vehicle.
The “preservation class” is one of the more unique classes added in recent years. Starting in 2001, the preservation class highlights the ?barn finds,” signifying neglected or forgotten rare cars rediscovered and rehabbed by their owners. These entrants aren’t the most polished in the field, but aficionados admire their authenticity and charm nonetheless.
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Philanthropy and Other Activities Associated with the Event
The Concours committee makes generous charitable donations using funds generated from the event. In 1961, event executives implemented a $1 donation per attendee, with all proceeds going directly to the Monterey Peninsula Hospital Auxiliary. In subsequent years, the Pebble Beach Concours d?Elegance used the event to help as many worthy charities as possible. In fact, total event contributions following the 2015 event crossed the $20 million mark, with close to $2 million generated in 2015 alone.
Thousands of visitors attend the annual event, meaning large crowds throughout the day. Pebble Beach Concours d?Elegance veteran Alain Squindo, COO of the classic car auction outfit RM Sotheby?s, suggests that ?the opportunity to walk the field early in the morning is always a ?must do?? if you?re there to see the cars, you really need to arrive before the crowds set in.?
Aside from the main competition and viewing on Sunday, August 21st, attendees may enjoy other events including:
- Pebble Beach Auctions: The auctions offer a chance to sit in on some seriously high stakes bidding. Among the cars up for sale this year is a collection of vintage Maserati?s.
- Tour d?Elegance: Watch a select group of the car show entrants drive 17-Mile Drive to showcase the cars in motion. The tour concludes in Carmel-by-the-Sea, offering up-close look at some of the world’s finest cars for the general public. This event is a must see for those who would like to see Concours participants without having to pay the $375 entry fee at Pebble Beach.
- RetroAuto: Free and open to the public, RetroAuto features exhibitors offering rare collectibles and memorabilia for sale.