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  • Driving a true rarity like the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster of 1957 on one of the world's most scenic roads – Route 1, along the Pacific coast.
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    Where blue meets green: Pebble Beach 2017.

    The Concours d'Elegance at Pebble Beach marks the high spot of the international classic car calendar. Among the dozens of spectacular models appearing this year were two exceptional ones sporting the three-pointed star.

Oasis of bliss.

As soon as you pass through the entrance gates at the northern end, you find yourself immersed in an almost surreal world. Pebble Beach is something else – it's different to the USA, different to California and different to all the other enclaves of luxury that extend hundreds of kilometres down the American Pacific coast. Pebble Beach, in itself a largely unprepossessing peninsula situated between Carmel and the one-time fish canning Mecca of Monterey, has been an oasis of bliss for quite some decades now.


Driving a true rarity like the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster of 1957 on one of the world's most scenic roads – Route 1, along the Pacific coast.

Driving a true rarity like the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster of 1957 on one of the world's most scenic roads – Route 1, along the Pacific coast.


Before Sunday's exclusive audience of invited guests is allowed to inspect the classic cars on display at the Concours d'Elegance, it's the fans' turn on the Thursday. The rendezvous point after the Tour d'Elegance is at Carmel.


High automotive culture and the 'in' place to be seen.

Something that is more true than ever in the third week of August each year, when it becomes the rallying ground for fans of high automotive culture, making Monterey Car Week the most spectacular automotive event of the year. Events such as the Tour d'Elegance, the Concorso Italiano, The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering or the popular 'Legends of the Autobahn' are just part of the build-up to the highlight of the glorious Concours d'Elegance on the Sunday. Those with wackier tastes will visit the Concours d’LeMons in Salinias to see a line-up of some of the weirdest old bangers waiting to be judged.


The cherry on the cake.

There are plenty of magnificent events involving exclusive classic cars dating back through more than a hundred years of automobile history. You may visit those at Lake Como and Amelia Island, or more recently established events in South America or Asia - but the cherry on the cake, the best of the best and the ultimate among them all, remains the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. To be invited here is to have made it in life.


Dress 'de rigueur' is a navy blazer, beige trousers and preferably a light-coloured hat. The ladies dress for a summer garden party and sip champagne as conversation hops between the millions paid at the previous day's auctions, domestic staff issues and of course the sun, which tries to break through the clammy fog as the morning advances.


The Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster of 1957.

Genuine fans will not miss the opportunity to join the in-crowd at the 'Legends of the Autobahn' event on the Jack Nicklaus Golf Course. The star this year: the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster with its very special blue-grey paintwork.


One of the world's most exclusive golf clubs.

As it nearly always is at Pebble Beach, the weather on this early Sunday morning is raw and damp. Mornings and evenings, the cool Pacific Ocean brings a strong influence to bear on the local sub-climate. Golfers like Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, Nick Faldo, Bernhard Langer or Tiger Woods all have their own tales to tell about that from their record-breaking rounds on the legendary Pebble Beach Links. The US Open has taken place here five times so far – it will be returning in 2019, and with it what is arguably the most difficult finishing hole on the whole of the American continent. Not that the other 17 holes of what is one of the most exclusive golf clubs in the world present much less of a challenge for the pros.


375 euros per ticket.

On this Sunday morning, however, the talk is not about putts, birdies or bogeys, for the crowd here represents the world's classic car elite and has been gathering since about 5.30 a.m. near the 18th hole. On this occasion it is not golfers but the world's most exclusive vehicles that will be subjected to the eagle eyes of jury members and, later on, of a knowledgeable public. At six o'clock in the morning it's still an exclusive crowd, but by eight things will be filling up, while from 10.30 a.m. onwards the big crowds will be rolling in, having paid 375 euros a ticket to attend this beauty contest. The most determined fans will have secured themselves one of the best places in front of the show ramp early on with a well-positioned towel or rug. Shades here of the much-berated Teutonic sun lounger baggers of Rimini or the budget holidaymakers on Majorca.

On the third Sunday of August it's the turn of classic car enthusiasts, rather than golfers, to enjoy the heaven on earth represented by the 18th hole of the Pebble Beach course, where the Concours d'Elegance takes place. Photo: Stephen Reuss

The attention to detail shown in the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster is almost obsessive. The restoration of the 300 SL Roadster took more than a year and a half before the car was revealed to its enthusiastic admirers in the USA.


Hallowed metal on hallowed turf.

Of course on this cool morning, the favourites don't arrive alone. Classic cars worth millions, from the polarising Ferrari 250 GT Boano, superb pre-war Packards and elegant Isotta Fraschinis through to elite limousines by Voisin and Delage, closely watched by their owners and service teams, roll at walking pace onto the hallowed turf that, today at least, represents the non plus ultra of the automobile world. Once in position on the meticulously marked-out parking area, the cars are chamoised, polished and cleaned once again to absolute perfection. Here a little more wax, there another puff of air to dispel the brake dust and, inevitably, everyone keeps a cloth close to hand lest the perfect impression be ruined by a few droplets of fog.


A birthday celebrant and other exclusive gems.

Many collectors have had to wait years for their personal pride and joy to be admitted to the Concours d'Elegance. This year once again among the line-up of exclusive gems: several rare classics from Mercedes-Benz. One of the most spectacular among them is the Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Roadster of 1957, which looks more at home here at Pebble Beach than ever as it celebrates its 60th birthday. 'We wanted to bring a special vehicle to Pebble Beach to mark this birthday', explained Patrik Gottwick, head of the ALL TIME STARS retail division of Mercedes-Benz Classic, 'After what I feel sure has been an exciting life and several previous owners, this 300 SL simply deserves its place in the Concours d'Elegance.'

Before Sunday's exclusive audience of invited guests is allowed to inspect the classic cars on display at the Concours d'Elegance, it's the fans' turn on the Thursday. The rendezvous point after the Tour d'Elegance is at Carmel.

One of a kind. What more appropriate place to celebrate a 60th birthday than at the final hole of the golf course at Pebble Beach? Photo: Stephen Reuss

The 300 SL Roadster in restoration.

One of a kind: the blue 300 SL Roadster.

The recently restored luxury sports car, originally built in Sindelfingen, is a car like no other. The combination of blue-grey exterior paintwork (colour code 166) and mid-blue leather (colour code 333) in conjunction with the blue soft top and perfect chrome finish is probably unique – and certainly a glorious sight. Shortly after its arrival at Monterey Car Week, the open-top sun-worshipper created a sensation at the Tour d'Elegance in Carmel, before going on to win a special award in the Legends of the Autobahn concours.


And the winner is …

Today all the cameras are clicking away, while spectators and jury members pay tribute with their applause and appreciative admiration. And yet, against the Mercedes-Benz Type S touring car with Barker body of 1929, owned by Bruce McCaw, the blue-grey beauty of 1957 stands no chance, despite its golden anniversary. The blue Barker Tourer with the chrome bonnet ultimately won the 'Best of Show' award, thereby disappointing the many owners of its numerous competitors.


Some of them will be there again next year to try their luck at the 18th hole of the golf course at Pebble Beach. Not for the first time, nor for the second. Just like the fans, who sit only a few metres away on the towels that were so carefully laid out earlier in the day, applauding in fitting style the star of the Concours d'Elegance.