It is the pinnacle event in the world of classic cars!
It takes a certain calibre of players to reach the hallowed lawns of the Pebble Beach golf course to play the US Open. The very same can be said about the cars that take over the 18th Fairway for one day in late August each year, for the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. There is no denying that the Concours is seen as the world’s best and most important. To have your car in the show means it’s special, having gone through a rigorous vetting process. The best of the best make it to Pebble.
This year was no different to any, with some truly spectacular cars lining up. Apart from the usual classes, cars made by Swiss coachbuilder Graber were given a special class, as were winners of the 24hr of LeMans, a prelude to its 100th anniversary year.
The Concours started in the traditional manner, with a driving ‘Tour d’Elegance’, making sure these cars can do what they were built for, with points awarded to those who completed it. But it is Sunday that is the most important. Judges pour over each aspect of the car, having done homework on each one they judge. In the end, three cars from each class are awarded prizes, but only the winner can be eligible for the most coveted award – the ‘Best of Show’.
Photography by: Rolex
A set of four is chosen as the finalist, but there can only be one winner. This year was a tough year, with two Dusenbergs and two Talbot Lagos making it to the final four, all extremely gorgeous. In the end, a 1932 Duesenberg Model J Figoni Sports Torpedo won out. One of the best American luxury manufacturers, Duesenberg, with a body by one of the most flamboyant Parisian coachbuilders, Figoni.
Quail, a motorsport gathering
Described as a garden party, it is just that – a celebration of all things cars with great food, and a festive atmosphere, all on the green lawns of the Quail Golf Course. Over the years the event has grown ten folds and is today a ‘must attend’ part of Car Week. That is easier said than done, as tickets are limited and get sold out minutes after they are released. The Quail always features an interesting mix of cars, spanning all ages, and more so the newer classics from the 80s and 90s.
The cars are divided into classes, and you are judged by the entrants of your class - a vast difference from the strict judging at other events. It highlights the lighter nature of the event, which takes into account the quality of food and drinks as much as the cars.
The ‘Best of Show’ was awarded to a 1956 Jaguar D-Type short-nose. Thanks to its popularity the Quail is also an important venue for manufacturers to launch their new products, and both Lamborghini and Bugatti were among a number of sportscars manufacturers to launch their latest limited editions there.
The Peninsula Classic Best of the Best award for 2021
The Peninsula Classic Best of the Best award is given to a car selected from the winners of the best Concours from around the world from the previous year. This includes Pebble Beach, The Quail, Villa d’Este, Amelia Island and a number of other prestigious events.
This year’s winner was the Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este winning 1956 Ferrari 250 GT Berlinetta Competizione. This is one of nine 250 GT Berlinetta Competiziones ever built, with an extensive motorsports history, including the famous Mille Miglia, several hill climbs and the 1959 Tour de France. It beat our 7 other Best of Show winners and was judged by a panel of 25, that includes two Indians, Tata chairman emeritus Ratan Tata, and automotive historian Manvendra Singh Barwani.
Auction record breakers
Successful auctions and record-breaking results have become the norm during Car Week. The big auction houses always try and get the rarest cars to sell during the week, including many blue chip collectables spanning the eras.
Ferrari’s of all ages, the Mercedes 300SL, and the pre-war 500 series cars are always plenty and are sure sales. This year’s top price went to a Ferrari – a historically significant 1955 410 Sport Spider by Scaglietti, for an eye-watering USD 22 million (` 176 crores approx). The car was a Ferrari factory team car, driven by Fangio before being campaigned privately, driven by a long list of famous drivers including Phil Hill.