On a beautiful Sunday morning in August, we made our way to the 18th fairway at Pebble Beach Golf Course for the Annual Concours de Elegance automobile extravaganza.
Across the Peter Hay Par 3 Course, and down in front of the Lodge we walked, then out onto the soft green grassy ribbon of fairway, draped along the water’s edge, where 200 cars from all over the world were pulled up snuggly on the soft terrain to compete for the most coveted honors in their class, and in the world.
“A contest of elegance more than of speed”, these unique entries are THE quintessential examples of some of the most amazing automobiles ever made anywhere in the world. The artistry and craftsmanship on display is so formidable, it sets a new measure of competition every year for these historic and luxurious automobiles.
These cars represent the “creme de la creme” of auto editions- from both upstart companies to established brands.
Over the years, many unique partnerships have blossomed. Working with designers to deliver a new level of style and luxury to former race vehicles, companies such as Pino Farina, launched collaborations with Ferrari that were wildly popular, and blazing the way for innovation- at the crossroads of speed and luxury.
More than just a car show, this is a compendium study of an evolving art form. Exquisite, sculptural, luxurious, powerful, authentic!
They’re here to compete for awards based on historical accuracy, technical merit, and of course, style. (Extra points if you have the original luggage!)
Through a sea of hats and shining chrome we wove our way by Rolls after Rolls, and many a Benz, to a row of Isotta Fraschinis- one of this year’s featured cars.
Buffed and polished to a tee, these examples tell a story about this amazing automobile company: Isotta Fraschini.
Isotta Fraschini is a forgotten luxury car, famous for transporting royalty, with owners including Pope Pius XI, the Aga Khan, Beneto Mussolini, Rudolf Valentino, and William Randolph Hearst. In the film “Sunset Boulevard”, Erich von Stroheim chauffeurs Gloria Swanson in an Isotta Tipo 8A.
Further evidence of their popularity can be seen in the movie “Giant”, where James Dean is behind the wheel of an Isotta Tourer.
First made in 1900, Isotta Fraschini was considered the country’s foremost luxury car maker, with a keen focus on luxury interiors and quiet rides.
Motor sports was a different breed and Alfa Romeo held the lead. Isottas were wildly expensive, with a bare chassis going for $10,000 in the 1920’s which is equivalent to $100,000 in today’s money.
During the Depression, there was not much of a market for such an car, and Count Mazzotti was negotiating with Henry Ford for a deal that would have saved the company’s car production, but Mussolini’s regime, determined to keep the company busy building airplane engines, scuttled it.
The Mazzotti group’s management sold Isotta Fraschini to Caproni, a leading aircraft manufacturer in 1935. It wasn’t until 1947 that another Isotta Fraschini was built, the more modern Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8C Monterosa, as seen below. Only 5 cars were ever built and the company closed in 1949.
A lot of gorgeous Ferraris were on display, including the featured Ferrari Speciales. The 458 Speciale was Ferrari’s V8 sports cars with the best performances ever.
A big draw this year was the Ferrari Anni 70 Exhibit of 70 limited edition Ferraris, built based on a summation of best attributes.
The tailor made “70 Anni Collection” is a limited edition production of unique Ferraris, created to celebrate the Company’s 70th anniversary.
Every car is a unique piece, a “one-off”, as in, only one in the world was created
for each current model, and inspired by 70 of the greatest Ferraris of all time.
Each car carries an official badge identifying it as a “1/1” piece and it will receiver and official Ferrari Classiche certification.
Another among the field of featured cars were Castagna Coachwork, American Dream Cars of the 1960’s, Ferrari Major Race winners, and Ferrari One-off Speciales.
The Dream Cars of the 60’s included some stunning examples.
Take for instance, this 1966 Bosley Mark II Interstate Coupe, above.
Or, this 1969 Farago CF 428 Carozzeria Coggiola Coupe:
This year, the Best of Show award was given to a 1929 Mercedes-Benz S Barker Tourer owned by Bruce McCaw from Bellevue, WA, seen here on its way up the ramp to claim the prize and bask in a shower of confetti and balloons.
Congratulations Mr. McCaw!
Another absolutely fantastic show, as always, the Concours never disappoints!
This year, over $1.7 million was raised for charity, and just this week, 11/8/17, the Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance celebrated a terrific milestone with the announcement that their donations now exceed $25 million!
Congratulations to the talented team at Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance!
I look forward to next year, on August 26, when we’ll be treated to more magnificent automobiles, including featured cars, such as, Significant Cars of India!
See you then!