Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance - All Out of Superlatives
This year marked the 70th Anniversary of the famed Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, an event so well known and regarded among automotive types that simply saying “Pebble” is the only indication one needs in order to know the topic of conversation has changed. The Pebble Beach Concours is less of an event and more of a series moments and memories. It’s not typical by any stretch. If you want the full experience, you have to join the Dawn Patrol, which means getting up no later than 4am (if you are in the Monterey Peninsula) and driving through the dark Del Monte Forest, to a far off parking lot. Step two, shuffle along, half addled, in a pre-caffeinated state to the shuttle to the main entrance. (Keep in mind that coffee shops aren’t open that early and that none is for sale at the event till closer to 9:00…you’ve been warned.) From there it’s all down hill, literally, still in the pitch black to the gates of the garden. The light becomes barely visible on the horizon and then is starts. The Dawn Patrol begins its trek to the 18th Green. One by one, they (each entry led by staff in a golf cart) drive in under their own power and take their position for the judging that will occur. From the priceless to the historically significant it is an automotive spectacle unlike any other.
This year was different for us. From the beginning of our Car Week planning, which basically began on the drive home from Pebble Beach last year, we intended to expand our coverage of Car Week but we weren’t 100% sure how to accomplish that with limited time and personnel (us) to do it all. As it turns out though, the solution was with us all the time. It just took us some time come up with a workable plan.
We are pleased and honored to welcome to The Loud Pedal, two of our favorite photographers who both agreed to share with us their Pebble Beach experiences and photos. We were “virtual” fans of Angela Weaver’s general automotive and track photography long before a chance pre-race encounter/meeting at Starbucks began a real friendship that has grown over the last few years. We met and befriended David Barnes at Sears Point over 20 years ago. Over the decades, David evolved from being our big lens hero to a two Leica packing master of composition and detail.
Like we said before, Pebble is not “just” an event. It's a series of moments that rapidly changes as the sun further rises, the fog burns off and the crowds go larger. In order to really “get” the whole event, whether it’s your 1st or 10th time, you must begin by focusing on every minute detail of the event and then take some time to zoom out to see the bigger picture. Please take some time to read Angela’s and David’s reflections on this year’s event, and enjoy the two separate galleries they’ve both prepared.
This was my first dawn patrol, and I was surprised to see how busy it was at 5:30 in the morning. I expected a calm and peaceful atmosphere, but things were in full swing and I felt that I had to get the hunt underway. There was so much energy and excitement. I went on auto pilot and fed off of everyone and every thing that was happening around me.
The Lamborghini Miura was part of the game this year and was one of the featured groupings on the lawn. The Miura has always been one of my favorites. There was a Miura, restored by Polo Storico, that seemed a bit like a Lamborghini that hit an issue of Super Street back in the 90’s. They added everything that they could think of, which made for a very interesting addition to the show.
I was surprisingly intrigued by a 1910 Packard 30 Gentleman’s Roadster. It had been well used, and exuded character from every seam. I initially assumed that it was unrestored, but discovered that it was restored 60 years ago. It featured a bronze horn, a well worn top, chipped wooden wheels, and kerosene side lights! It is so far beyond my automotive imagination, I felt like I was in a movie.
Venturing up from the lawn, outside of the show, the Ferrari display left me speechless. Just when you thought that it couldn’t get any better…..there were two 250 GTO’s, parked side by side, just as they were in Le Mans in 1963.
I had a personal connection to the F40 in the Ferrari display, because I had gone on an adventure prior to car week to release it from it’s shipping container. I’d also had the opportunity earlier in the week to photograph an Alfa GTV for Revival Road Co., and a friend was unloading an F40 that he was storing that had just arrived in a shipping container. It was a challenge to say the least.
There were literally only a few inches on each side of the car as it sat in the container. The shipper had nailed boards in front of, and behind each tire. Of course, the battery was dead. We had to find a way to remove the nailed boards, obviously without damaging the car. None of us had previous experience with a F40, so it took a while to figure anything out, down to opening the clam shells to better access the boards. About 1 hour 15 in, we finally started to roll it out of the container. There were additional challenges with the ramps, and finally we found a second battery switch, turned it on, and it roared to life. It was as beautiful as the project to release it had been stressful. It’s not every day that you need to squeeze an F40 out of a container.
Back to the concours. It’s interesting to watch all the participants prepare their cars after the drive in. All of the attention to detail is fascinating. Brushes to the tire tread and between each wire in the engine bay…I feel like I would never think of everything, but Pebble reveals many things that were never thought of before. I have such a massive amount of respect for the people that chose to enter a car to be judged and the commitment that it takes.
Angela Weaver Gallery
David Barnes (Instagram)
This year, TLP challenged us to find ways to make our readers gasp in awe and be pulled into the images gently, but firmly by both lapels. This series of images offer the viewer a glimpse not often captured at the world’s preeminent automotive event.
The high perspective conveys the magnitude of the Pebble Beach Concours. Like gravitational pull from a large celestial object, this 195X Ferrari drew the admiration from what seemed like the entire 18th green.
My heart skipped a beat taking in the lines of this 1956 Ferrari 250GT Zagato Berlinetta Speciale (GTZ), with trademark Zagato Double-Bubble roof. Just six of these cars were produced, and only 3 featured the Zagato Double-Bubble roof. The chassis was from a Ferrari 250 TdF.
Many consider this Aston Martin amongst the most gobsmacking Zagato designs of the 1960s, and place it on their list as unmitigated perfection on wheels. In this era, Aston Martin desired a car that could rival the Ferrari 250GT in the Word Sports Car Championship, so they put the team at Zagato to task. A 1962 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato became the most expensive British car when sold at auction in 2015 for an astonishing £9.45 million. Only 19 DB4GT’s were produced by Zagato.
David Barnes Gallery
Cover Image: Copyright David Barnes, 2019
Well, we hope you have enjoyed these words and images from this year’s event. We’re grateful for our friends, their talents and their reflections, which enabled us to still share the magic of the Pebble and to change up our Car Week routine a little. We obviously missed one helluva show and we’re looking forward to next year’s event. We can’t overstate enough the majesty and magic of Pebble Beach during Car Week at a time where it has to compete with dozens of events that hit the peninsula during the weekend. As much as the participants strive, sometimes for a lifetime to be accepted in the show, being spectator is just as exclusive. Until next year.
-The Loud Pedal