If you enjoy classic cars, history, or parades, then you’ll be sure to love everything that Pebble Beach has in store for you! Located in Monterey County, this seaside town hosts the acclaimed Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance, Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, and The Quail event. Each August, thousands of car collectors and enthusiasts flock to Pebble Beach to partake in Monterey Car Week. Interested in learning more about these fascinating events? Then read on to learn more about this classic car event and the history of Concours!
A closer look at the events
Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is held annually on the Pebble Beach Golf Links. It is considered among the most prestigious events of its kind, attracting thousands upon thousands of spectators to Pebble Beach, California. A tradition since 1950, this event has been a yearly gathering of antique automobiles and motor car enthusiasts. And while the cars might be the main attraction, the people are a close second. Guests show up in their Sunday best, wearing everything from period costumes to decadent hats and lipsticks matching automotive details.
The competition is held on the stunning 18th hole, with cars expertly lined up and down the fairway. This competition is unique due to the fact it is focused on elegance rather than speed. The invitation-only automobiles and motorcycles are judged according to their historical accuracy, their technical merit, and their style. Only the best automobiles garner reward and recognition. The Concours also serves as host to some of the most anticipated concepts and new car debuts.
The Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance is another notable event that takes place in August. The tour features more than 150 Concours entrants, who weave their way down a scenic route on Highway One. The Tour begins in Pebble Beach, traces 17-Mile Drive, and Highway One to Big Sur, and then returns to Pebble Beach. The car that successfully completes the Tour gets the nod, but only if it later ties in class competition at the Concours. The Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance offers the perfect opportunity to get a sneak peek into the stunning cars that will grace the show field on Concours Sunday. Be sure to get there bright and early, as you don’t want to miss any of the action. The cars begin to line up at 7 AM and leave promptly at 9 AM.
If these two events aren’t quite enough to satisfy your love for all things cars related, consider attending The Quail: a Motorsports Gathering event, which takes place on August 13! This event has provided motorsports enthusiasts worldwide the chance to enjoy rare collections of fine automobiles and motorcycles on the luscious, rolling hills of Quail Lodge & Golf Club. The event will take place from 10 AM to 4 PM.
Dates and tickets
Despite the cancellation of the 2020 event, this year’s Concours events are back and in full swing! The Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance invites the public to view the Tour at several points without a fee. (Just be sure to get there early in order to get a good spot!) Meanwhile, the 71st Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance is taking place Sunday, August 21. Get your general admission ticket which will allow access to the Concours show field, which officially opens at 10:30am.
Tickets for this event are going fast, so don’t wait to purchase your tickets!
The Concours is about more than just old cars and fancy hats. Instead, this event prioritizes supporting local charities. Since the event’s origins, Concours d’Elegance has raised more than $24 million for nearly 100 charities on the Monterey Peninsula. Although the 2020 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance event was canceled, this didn’t stop efforts to raise funds, and more than $1 million was raised and distributed to local charities. The Concours is committed to supporting many worthwhile programs on the Monterey Peninsula.
The Concours classic car race has a rich and fascinating history — and it goes all the way back to 1950. Since the beginning, the Concours d’Elegance has become one of the most highly-admired and widely attended car shows in the world. With its picturesque ocean backdrop and sparkling cars, car collectors from around the world eagerly anticipate this esteemed event.
The origins of Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance can be traced back to 1950, where it began in tandem with the Pebble Beach Road Races. The poster that advertised the event proudly boasted “free parking,” as well as tickets that were only one dollar. The first show took place on November 5, 1950, with only 30 cars on exhibit. There were three separate classes, which included prewar cars, postwar cars, and MGs. Between the show and variety of cars — and the notable turnout — the first year was a success.
Considering how the first year was a smashing success, it’s no surprise that the event took place again for the second year in 1951. The event was modeled on the early Concours that began in Paris and spread throughout Europe in the 1920s and 1930s. Like those Concours, Pebble Beach focused on highlighting new cars. In fact, the best show went to a new car for each of the first five years.
In 1952, the Concours moved from its location to the 18th green of what is now referred to as the Del Monte Lodge. This expansive, luscious lawn was the perfect space for the car show and provided inspiring views of Carmel Bay. As a result of this move, the show expanded in size and attracted more entries and more spectators. Cars were judged according to their cost and type.
1953 was a monumental year for the Concurs for a number of reasons. The third year of the event marked a milestone as it was the first time the entry of cars exceeded 100. Additionally, it took three years for Concours to be recognized as a stand-alone event in its own right instead of simply a precursor to the race.
While 1954 passed in a relatively uneventful year, the following year of 1955 was undoubtedly a year of excitement and change for the Concours. A pivotal moment occurred when Phil Hill won Best of Show with his 1931 Pierce-Arrow 41 LeBaron Convertible Town Cabriolet. This car was special because it had been in Phil Hill’s family the whole of its existence. In fact, Hill had even completely restored this prewar car with his brother, which he referred to as a “labor of love.” When Hill drove the Pierce onto the lawn of The Lodge at Pebble Beach, it drew mixed results from the judges. Prior to 1955, Best of Show had regularly gone to modern cars. The term “classic” had just been introduced, yet this term was loosely known and accepted. Thanks to a few stubborn judges who saw beyond category to quality, Hill’s classic car won Best of Show.
In 1957, the Best of Show went to a 1937 Rolls-Royce Phantom III Mulliner Sedanca de Ville, which was shown by Frank Cox. This prompted a new era, and in 1958, Rolls-Royce became the first marque to get its own dedicated ongoing class. This class quickly became popular and even had four full classes, long before other marques had even one.
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Cover Photo Source: Sherman Chu Photography