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September 12th, 2007

The Pebble Beach
Concours d’Elegance

Story by Michael T. Lynch

Scroll down for photo gallery

The last and signature event of the week of automotive festivities on the Monterey Peninsula is the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The usual gray skies gave way this year to bright sunshine, no matter how early one arrived. By mid-morning, many gentlemen were carrying their blazers and suit coats and Carmel Bay was still as a pond.

The featured marques were Aston Martin and Auburn/Cord/Duesenberg and both were out in force on the field. A fascinating exhibit consisted of cars celebrating the centennial of Brooklands, the English speed bowl some say was the first purpose-built automobile racing course. Another grouping included pre-World War I cars with engine displacement over ten liters. As any hot rodder knows, enlarging displacement is the easiest path to more horsepower and all cars displayed were used for speed events.

Pebble Beach has been a leader in the hobby when it comes to encouraging use of collector cars on the road and discouraging over restoration. Continuing these trends, the event added a post-World War II Preservation Class this year to accompany the pre-war one already in existence. Manny and Juanita Del Arroz’ Ferrari 166 Touring Barchetta took the honors in the new class, the car appearing almost as it was found after sitting in the Arizona desert for 35 years.

Class winners of special interest to VeloceToday readers were David Smith’s Alfa 6C 2300 Touring Coupe (European Classic Open 1932-39), Peter Kalikow’s Ferrari 250 GT Pinin Farnia Cabriolet Series 1 (Ferrari GT), Brian and Kim Ross’s Ferrari 166 Touring Barchetta (Ferrari Competition), Bruce Male’s Maserati A6G/2000 Zagato Berlinetta (Postwar Custom Coachwork Sports), George Wingard’s Fiat S74 (The 10+ Club) and Skeets Dunn’s Alfa 1900 Touring Berlinetta (Postwar Sports and Racing).

Italian and French cars receiving special awards included Kalikow’s Cabriolet (Enzo Ferrari Trophy by The Candy Store), Michael Kadoorie’s Bugatti 57S Gangloff Coupe (French Cup by Champagne Louis Roederer), Jack Croul’s Ferrari 166 Touring Berlinetta Le Mans (Mille Miglia Trophy by the Mille Miglia) and George Wingard’s Fiat S74 (Road & Track Trophy by Road & Track Magazine).

It had been a long week, but as the winners drove over the ramp, the realization that it was finally coming to an end, combined with what seemed a much earlier sunset than just a weekend ago, made for a sense of overwhelming nostalgia rather than relief. The greatest gathering of cars in the world was about to disperse, leaving us to await the next edition.

As the nine-day festival of the automobile ended, I found it interesting that the planets aligned in a way that saw the top awards at the big four events, the Carmel Concours (Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport), the Monterey Historics (Kurtis 500G-Offenhauser modified by Quin Epperly), Pebble Beach ( Duesenberg SJ Speedster) and The Quail (Cunningham C-4 roadster) all went to American race cars. It is unlikely that it will happen again for some time, if ever.

Jack Croul's Ferrari 166 Touring Le Mans Coupe is seen at the Pebble Beach Concours. My first sighting was when it emerged from the fog, leaving on the start of the Pebble Beach Tour. I was immediately transported back to 1950, when Giannino Marzotto drove it, with a special 2.3-liter engine, in the Mille Miglia. After an epic 14 hour, 39 minute drive, he emerged victorious. He competed in a double breasted suit, fitting for a man who today controls several luxury brands, including Hugo Boss. Marzotto's three brothers, Paolo, Umberto and Vittorio also competed in the 1950 Mille Miglia in Ferraris. Credit: Pebble Beach Concours.

This year's Pebble Beach Best of Show winner is seen on the Pebble Beach Tour. It is a Duesenberg Special with an J Chassis and a body designed by Herbert Newport. It had two special SJ engines prepared for it by Augie Duesenberg in his race shop. In 1935, driven by Ab Jenkins, who would later become Mayor of Salt Lake City, it set a 24 Hour record of over 135 mph on the Bonneville Salt Flats. What is usually not told is that the record lasted only four days. The car was later fitted with a Curtiss aircraft engine and renamed the Mormon Meteor, setting several more records on the salt. Later, the SJ engine was reinstalled and Jenkins drove the car on the street for many years. It is now in its original form, owned by Harry Yeaggy. Credit: Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

Jack Thomas, Jr.'s' OSCA MT4 Vignale coupe is only one of five MT4 OSCAs built originally as berlinettas. It has never been restored and took 2nd in the Postwar Preservation class. Credit: Michael T. Lynch.

Pebble Beach at its finest. The banners wave over a shimmering Carmel Bay, with Point Lobos in the distance and Pescadero Point to the right. On the field, Pebble's strongest suit is the selection of pre-war European classics, displayed in quality and numbers that no other venue can even approach. This is Peter and Merle Mullin's Delahaye 135M Figoni and Falaschi Cabriolet. Credit: Michael T. Lynch.

Two significant Italians with great provenance on the lawn at Pebble Beach. Howard and Diane Banaszak's Stanguellini 750 Sport (foreground) was once owned by Briggs Cunningham. Greg and Ruth Whittin's Alfa 33/2 is a rare Coda Lunga coupe and finished 4th at Le Mans in 1968 driven by Ignazio Giunti and Giovanni "Nanni" Galli. Credit Michael T. Lynch.

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Pebble Beach 07

Monterey Historics 07

Inside at The Quail

Monterey Overview

Fiat Spider, Cars and Owners

Great and Small Fiats, BR

The book that made Ferrari

Reuter Bandini Update

Welcome to Watkins Glen

Mille Miglia 2027 (art)

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The Lost Cisitalia D46 Part II

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Carnevale Venezia

Book Review, Italian Auto Legends

Arutunoff on Coachbuilding

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Book Review, The Red Dream

The Reuter Bandinis Part II

Car Guy Tour 2007

The Reuter Bandinis Part I

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