The build up to the big final event of Car Week happens at several points. The earliest moment is when Pebble Beach announces the judging classes early in the year. My mind starts swirling around what that will end up looking like on the green. On car Week Tuesday itself, a group of display cars arrive in the area after a long drive from Washington State. On the Wednesday, the Tour d’Elegance embark on their cruise up the Pacific Coast Highway. In other shows leading up to Sunday, like The Quail, glimpses of some of the featured cars appear. It’s not until Sunday that it all comes together.
If you are eager to see the cars roll onto the field like me, the ‘Dawn Patrol’ starts in the dark of the morning. The pathway cuts through a very healthy number of folks getting those first looks at the show, I am always impressed that so many got up so early, or more precisely, earlier that I had. The memorable moment for this phase of the event came when Cameron Glickenhaus drove the Ferrari Modulo concept car with it’s burbling Can Am V12 past me. I was finally able to remove this car sighting from my bucket list. I caught up to him later in the day where he explained that it ran very well with the race engine but has hesitated to take it above 60mph, mainly due to the aerodynamics on the car that would likely lift it off the ground.
One of the more impressive stories of the day was around the Motor Cars of the Raj display, how it not only required a good deal of time and effort to prepare the cars for the show, but the additional time and patience required to put the cars on a boat for the 10 week or so journey to California from India. The Raj cars were split into two classes, one for the Rolls-Royce’s and Bentleys, the other to capture the other makes. The beautiful 1935 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental Gurney Nutting Streamline Coupe took the win for the former class, this car really had a regal presence.
Alongside the Raj cars on the prime display area bordering the water were a few other notable classes on display, Rollston Coachwork, Scarab racing cars, an astonishing collection of Tuckers and post war custom Citroens. A collection of OSCA cars capped the end of the display of the 215 cars that participated. Nested in the middle, the other classes like competition Ferraris, pre-war classics (restored and unrestored) found a home. The 1937 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Touring Berlinetta took the overall Best of Show award, deservedly so.
My personal favorite car was nominated for the award, the 1948 Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport Figoni Fastback Coupé. I first spotted this car on the Tour earlier in the week as it navigated the PCH, I was able to experience the incredible detail and style of this car close up during the show. Details like the transparent steering wheel, cyclops headlight, shaped glass sunroof and jaw dropping bodywork made this car incredibly special. The car was restored and shipped from the Czech Republic to attend this years festivities.
The bronze 1966 Ford GT40 Mark IIB took home the Postwar Sports award, amazing if only because I spotted this car several time during the week on the road, presumably used as personal transport. Incredible to think this very car competed at Le Mans (DNF) was being used so trustingly in the Monterey traffic.
Several other display surrounded the main show area, Ferrari put on a celebration of open topped cars that included four NART 275 Spiders and a host of other stunning vehicles from their greatest hits that included the latest LaFerrari Aperta. Infinity gathered a fine selection of Japanese classics that included the Dome Zero and original Bond Toyota 2000GT convertible. The Concept Car lawn (the putting green just before the 18th hole) did not disappoint with a number of the latest and greatest prototypes and limited production hyper-cars. Mercedes Benz had their stand a short hop away displaying some significant cars from its history surrounded by their latest offerings.