Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
Elegance on a grand scale.
Each year in August, an enthusiastic crowd of classic car devotees come together in Pebble Beach, California, for a celebration of elegance in its purest form: the Concours d’Elegance, considered one of the most prestigious events in the automotive world. In a picturesque bay, surrounded by the sweeping green of a golf course scattered with gnarled pine trees, legends on four wheels are awakened to life: shining leather seats, stirring a long-forgotten sense of touch. Steering wheels that are only ever held by gloved hands. Elegantly flowing lines, their like rarely seen in this day and age. Every third Sunday in August, the famous 18th fairway of the Pebble Beach course, normally the preserve of golfers, provides the setting for a gathering of some 200 award-winning historical cars and motor cycles.
Although there is a strong element of competition to the event, winning here is not about crossing the line in first place. The jury’s evaluation is based on historical authenticity, technical merit and, above all, sense of style.
Ticker tape and trumpets.
Ever since the very first Concours, held in 1950, it has been primarily vehicles from the first half of the 20th century that have taken part in the glamorous cavalcade that is the Tour d’Elegance. Even in 2013, there is no sign of the sluggishness that can go with old age.
A good week before going on display at Pebble Beach, the participating vehicles meet up near Seattle, in Washington State, before heading south down the stunning Pacific coast. At the end, the winner of the Concours is celebrated with a fanfare and a flurry of ticker tape.
Turning back the time at the steering wheel.
The August weekend at Pebble Beach has long provided the backdrop for a festive get-together with friends, family and like-minded enthusiasts. And it’s not only the vehicles that are spruced up for the occasion – drivers and passengers are likewise dressed up to the nines. Going for a spin in a cabriolet without a scarf or hat is unthinkable for any true lady at this event. And no real gentleman would touch the steering wheel of such a treasure without kid gloves. The older generations wallow in the memories of past journeys, while the minutiae of these prized possessions are explained to their grandchildren, in conjunction with anecdotes from the past. The Concours d’Elegance has developed a tradition of its own, the value of which is not measured in auction prices: the most precious thing that visitors take home with them is the remembrance of some very special moments.