Concours d'Elegance is a car lover's dream.
The 2004 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance
along the 18th fairway of Pebble Beach Golf Links.
is, quite simply, the world's premier gathering of
rare and beautiful vintage automobiles, each a combination
of artful sculpture and engineering genius, evoking the
affluence and genteel lifestyle of another time. The
Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, whose outstanding,
impeccably restored historic cars are matched only by the
event's picture-postcard setting on the 18th green
of the fabled golf course overlooking the Pacific Ocean
– and the auto owners themselves – is a veritable
who's who of the celebrity and corporate worlds.
Above and below: an Alfa Romeo 8 C 2300 Pinin Farina
Spider-Cabriolet 1934 owned by Lukas Huni.
This Concours will honor Alfa Romeo and the 75th anniversary
of legendary coach-builders Carrozzeria Pinin Farina.
2004 Best of Show winning 1938 Horch 853A, owned by
Judge Joseph C. Cassini III of New Jersey
Tonight Show host Jay Leno with his class-winning
1916 Crane-Simplex Model 5 Holbrook Skiff.
17 - 21
Tickets: $125 when purchased in advance;
$150 on the day of the show; $400 Patron
ticket includes a VIP parking pass, Concours
program, signed commemorative poster,
breakfast and a luncheon buffet in the
Club d'Elegance Tent.
Jay Leno, a regular, won Best in Class in 2004 for his 1916
Crane-Simplex Model 5 Holbrook Skiff. Another passionate
collector of vintage vehicles, Ralph Lauren, who won Best
of Show for his Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic, will be on hand.
Stage, screen and TV actor Edward Herrmann again has a multiple
role as a judge and master of ceremonies.
Herrmann won Best in Class for his 1929 Auburn Boattail
Speedster and second-prize recognition for a 1932 Rolls-Royce
in 2001. But he's not showing a car this year because
he has been too busy preparing for a role in the world premiere
of A Body of Water at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis
and the fifth season of TV's Gilmore Girls.
The award-winning actor has had a lifelong passion for vintage
cars, which began long before he portrayed such historical
figures as FDR, William Randolph Hearst and Lou Gehrig. “I
grew up in Grosse Point [a Detroit suburb]. When all
your friends' fathers work for one of the Big Three,
you learn to love cars. I come from a family of engineers
and furniture makers, so it's in my heart and hands.”
Like so many other owners of vintage vehicles, Herrmann
limits caretaking to changing the oil and checking the tires,
and enjoys taking a classic car on a leisurely drive.
The actor and his wife live in Salisbury, CT, where he often
drives his 1932 Packard 900 Coupe Roadster along the area's
tree-shaded, winding country roads. “I love people's
reactions,” he says. “Older folks get misty-eyed
and talk about having had a car just like it,” and
“children look wide-eyed because they've never
seen a car like this, except on a movie or TV screen.”
It's not necessary to love cars to enjoy the Pebble
Beach experience, says co-chair Sandra Kasky, who describes
the Pebble Beach Concours as “Ascot and the Kentucky
Derby rolled into one. It's a great day to wear
a fantastic outfit, with a grand, memorable hat,”
to see and be seen.
Each year, Pebble Beach focuses on a particular aspect of
automotive history. This 55th Concours d'Elegance
is a multipronged celebration, honoring Alfa Romeo and the
75th anniversary of the legendary coach-builders Carrozzeria
Pinin Farina, whose styling philosophy has influenced auto
design since the 20s. Both are bringing a world-class collection
of their vehicles, including some rarely exhibited outside
Two of the world's winningest racecar drivers also
will be honored for their achievements. In 1955, the
same year his family won Best in Show for their Pierce Arrow,
American Phil Hill won the Pebble Beach road races in a
Ferrari Monza, which he is bringing to the Concours. Also
that year, Britain's Sir Stirling Moss won Italy's
Mille Miglia race in a Mercedes 300 SLR racecar; he, too,
will be recognized at Pebble Beach.
The best place to catch up with Hill and Moss may be the
hot-rod section of the show. For the first time, the Concours
is showcasing customized cars from the 30s and 40s. The
trend began when experienced custom bodyworkers –
perhaps bored by working on the assembly line – began
restyling models by removing chrome, adding voluptuous fender
skirts and repainting cars in new and unusual colors like
The multiday event includes a Tour d'Elegance around
the Monterey Peninsula for Concours entries, and an auction
of classic, vintage and antique cars. Also new this year
is the Motoring Classic, a nine-day leisurely drive along
mountain roads, from Seattle to Pebble Beach, for current
and former participants.
This parade of history is guaranteed to stop traffic along
the route, which includes a cruise across the Golden Gate
Kanter is a travel and automotive journalist in New York
City whose dream car is a 1928 Delahaye coupe in French
Image 1: RON KIMBALL STUDIOS, COURTESY OF THE PEBBLE BEACH
CONCOURS D'ELEGANCE; image 2 and 3: courtesy of Lukas
Huni; image 4: RON KIMBALL STUDIOS, COURTESY OF THE PEBBLE
BEACH CONCOURS D'ELEGANCE.