The 18th fairway at Pebble Beach Golf Links basks in its own celebrity as the best finishing hole in golf, but on Sunday, Aug. 21, it will elevate its status. Offering its handsome green carpet as a backdrop for 200 of the world’s most beautiful motor cars, it will again host the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
As the name implies, the competition here is focused on historical accuracy, technical merit, and the more elusive quality of style as opposed to speed, adding tremendous dimension to Monterey Car Week festivities. That is not to say, however, that these cars are not fast. Many are, despite impressive good looks.
The 2016 entries at Concours d’Elegance feature top examples in 21 automobile classes. Special attendees this year include Delahaye, Chapron Coachwork, Bizzarrini, Lamborghini Miura, Two-Man Indianapolis Race Cars, and BMW motorcycles. Two notable displays, 100 years of BMW, and the 50th anniversary of Ford GT40 at LeMans, offer comprehensive displays celebrating their respective marques.
Additionally, a selection of concept cars and debut models will invite guests to peek into the future, with the likes of Lamborghini, MacLaren, Porsche, Rolls-Royce, Alpha Romeo, Audi, BAC, and BMW displaying innovative new models.
Judges for this iconic competition are carefully curated from a list embracing historic legends in automotive history, award-winning auto designers, and CEOs of prestigious manufacturers. Entries often represent over 20 countries, as well as all 50 states in the U.S., boasting a display in excess of a quarter billion dollars.
Attended by more than 30,000 guests and 1,200 media, the broadcast and advertising budget exceeds $78 million, including a live stream this year. It is a rich clutch of events from all aspects, from the material to the aesthetic, attracting an appropriate audience in search of the best the world has to offer.
Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance
Leading up to the judging, the 2016 Tour d’Elegance puts entries through their paces in this annual driving event. On Thurs., Aug. 18, owners and their teams line up the cars along Portola Road for an 8 a.m. departure, preparing for a driving tour that winds through a portion of the historic and scenic 17-Mile Drive, Carmel-by-the-Sea, and Ocean Avenue.
Celebrating the completion of the route with a Champagne toast, participation might also prove a tie-breaking consideration if judges put two vehicles into contention in a particular class.
Chatting with the Stars: The Pebble Beach Classic Car Forum
The Pebble Beach Classic Car Forum, presented over three days, Aug. 18-20, sponsored by Credit Suisse, welcomes discussion among revered figures in the industry. Speakers include eight-time Grand Prix winner Chris Amon, iconic Grand Prix, IndyCar, NASCAR, and Sports Car driver Dan Gurney, 22-time Formula 5000 driver David Hobbs, CART IndyCar driver Danny Sullivan, and moderators Alain Cadenet, Ed Justice, Wayne Carini, Jay Leno, and Ken Gross, among others, covering a variety of important, interesting, and amusing topics.
Welcoming Distance Drivers: The Pebble Beach Motoring Classic
Arriving on Wed., Aug. 17, participants in the Pebble Beach Motoring Classic arrive at The Lodge at Pebble Beach upon completion of this fabled event. From their start in Kirkland, WA, near Seattle, climbing through mountain ranges and tracing coastal highways, 30 selected entries guide their pre-1968 automobiles along the 10-day, 1,500-mile route, many continuing on to take their place on the fairway at the Concours d’Elegance.
Bidding on the Best: Pebble Beach Auctions
For many, the highlight is the fall of the gavel, signifying the first of a long list of desirable auction items at the Lodge at Pebble Beach’s Parc du Concourse Equestrian Center. From the initial auction in 1990, the event has grown in regard and popularity among elite collectors. The event has a history of setting an impressive clutch of new records at the hand of Gooding & Co. auctioneers. Viewing days run Aug. 17-21, with auctions on Sat., Aug. 20, and Sun., Aug. 21.
New This Year: The Pebble Beach Concert at the Concours
The first-ever Concert at the Concours offers a social opportunity to wander manufacturer displays, sip wine, and listen to music on Friday evening, Aug. 19 on the Concours Plaza and Peter Hay Hill.
Featuring OneRepublic on stage, and offering fine wines from vineyards including vintages from houses like Williams Selyem, Herb Lamb, and Trefethen, guests can explore the fine points of Aston Martin, BMW, Cadillac, Infiniti, Lamborghini, Lexus, Overfinch, and Tesla, while benefiting the Pebble Beach Company Foundation and the Soberanes Fire Relief Effort.
Curated Collections: RetroAuto
Also on Thursday, the RetroAuto collection will be on display in the ballrooms of the Inn at Spanish Bay. A juried exhibition, it attracts the finest auto accoutrements, presenting rare collectible, historic, and original memorabilia, literature, fine art, tools, and branded items to complete collections and delight automobile aficionados.
The guests in attendance at tall of the events surrounding the Concours d’Elegance present a genteel, dignified profile unmatched in status by any other similar event, but make no mistake. The competition is fierce and the outcome is serious. There is much at stake for owners, investors, drivers, and collectors, as they navigate the events to put forth the best entry and attract attention from the right eyes. Watching the controlled composure of the automotive elite at this most celebrated event is both fascinating, and rewarding for all who attend.