Entries in Pebble Beach (6)


Pebble Beach 2011 Gallery is Up!

For all 175 photos over 3 gallery pages click HERE

The featured themes this year were the Ferrari 250 GTO (roughly 20 of them in attendance!), prewar Mercedes-Benz, and Stutz automobiles. Best in Show was won by Peter Mullin's incredible Voisin.

Look for cameos by Stirling Moss, Gordon Murray, Jay Leno, Ed Welburn, Ian Callum and Jason Castriota!


Concorso Italiano 2011

Concorso Italiano, which was begun in the early 1990s, has become one of the top events in the Pebble Beach weekend. Compared to the rarified air at the Quail and Pebble Beach Concours D'elegance, the Concorso feels a lot more inclusive and down to Earth.  Its physical location is a lot closer to Laguna Seca than Carmel, and this is fitting as the event seems to straddle the line between the hardcore gearheads and the straw hat and blazer types. It feels more like a typical regional car show where owners sit by their cars (most actually drive their cars in rather than trailering them!) and chat and have a good time. Unlike a regional show, however, the scale of the Concorso is huge, and the array of machinery on display is a vast survey of mostly postwar Italian vehicles. And true to the inclusive spirit of the show, they even added a category for non-Italian cars!  We had a great time at the Concorso, which has the cars well organized by marque and model. It's really cool, for example, to see a perfectly aligned row of Maserati Boras or DeTomaso Panteras. These are cars that you'd be lucky to see once in a blue moon on the street, yet at the Concorso, you get to see a whole family reunion.  It's just fantastic. In addition to the more common Italian cars, there is all sorts of wonderful, obscure stuff in attendance. Have you ever seen an Intermeccanica, for example?? How about an Iso Lele? I certainly saw a few cars I had absolutely never laid eyes on before, so the show was very educational. Click HERE for the 2 page Mega Gallery!


Cadillac Steals the Show at Pebble Beach Concept Corral

Pebble Beach was sensory overload for most attendees, myself included. But one standout among all the beautiful cars I saw was the simply sensational Cadillac Ciel Concept. They should have just called it the Eldorado, because this car wholly deserves the illustrious name bestowed upon it. The car has an extremely long wheelbase, allowing the surprisingly clever surface transitions plenty of time to flow gracefully from one to the next. The result is a study in elegance, fluidity and subtlety.  If the crowds of delighted onlookers were anything to go by, I wasn't the only one smitten by the big convertible land yacht. I heard statements like "Now that's a car!" and "Wow. That's really beautiful!"  This isn't at some mall parking lot, folks. These are comments being made 20 feet away from 2 Bugatti Veyrons and a putting green full of the latest exotic supercars from Europe.  It all made me want to shake Ed Welburn's hand, but I chickened out when I eventually saw him at the Concours.

The placement of the Ciel next to the BMW 328 "Hommage" (the extra M is for Mengele, I suppose? What else could have inspired such an atrocity?) only served as a snapshot of everything that is right and wrong in today's car design landscape.

The 328 "Hommage" Concept had horrific, stubby proportions, a pastiche of mismatched styling cues and textures, a mess of intersecting and folded surfaces that would give even Frank Gehry indigestion. It was ghastly, and actually made me disgusted to see the mighty BMW reduced to such a sideshow freak. Placing an original 328 next to this hideous abomination only rubbed salt in the wound. I bet all those people who hated on Chris Bangle for years wish they had him back.  His 328 MM coupe "homage" was brilliant and innovative, by the way.  My vote for most irritating design detail on the 328 Concept was the inexplicable ornamental double hood strap made of leather, which clashes horrifically with the semi-matte carbon fiber of the body. The Ciel, in contrast, was bathed in such perfect, luminous, lustrous paint that even rivalled the quality of Peter Mullin's "Best in Show" winning Voisin. Seriously.Honorable mention in the Concept Car Corral goes to the Jaguar CX-75. While many people squinted trying to see what if any E-type cues were in the car, it is clear that the designers were looking at the Jaguar XJ-13 for inspiration, with more than a passing nod to the XJ220. It's funny that Jaguar doesn't make much marketing hay around the XJ220 which is now almost 20 years old and still looks sensational (I saw one at the RM auction preview looking every bit the supercar). In particular, the rear end of the CX-75 bears close examination. It's a great interplay of flowing lines and aggressive elements working together. And it instantly says Jaguar. I would love to see this design theme translate into production Jags. Tomorrow.Last but certainly not least was Jason Castriota's "Shelby SuperCar (SSC)."  Now I've been pretty harsh on Castriota in the past, and I still think his talent to hype ratio is way off balance. However, I thought the SSC is probably his manifesto work, as it combines all his signature styling elements into one very cohesive package.  The car has a very slippery, aeronautical feeling to it that I quite liked, and I really loved some of the surfacing details along the bodyside.  The car has a lot of presence in person and I must give credit where credit is due.The Alfa TZ3 Stradale was there, and failed to impress me. The new McLaren was also a yawn. Even metallic chrome-look paint couldn't save it from looking hopelessly outdated when placed next to Castriota's car and the new Aventador. I'm sure it drives better than either of them, though...

Click HERE for the full Gallery!


Tour D'Elegance 2011 Gallery

In between the big name events and top dollar auctions of Pebble Beach, there are a few more minor events tucked away, and the Tour D'Elegance is one of them. This is the only opportunity to see cars from the Pebble Beach Concours actually move on the road, and let me tell you, it was pretty darn cool!My dad and I staked out an uncrowded vantage point right next to the road and watched the cars roll by. Even though they were only going about 35 mph, it was an absolute thrill to hear the GTOs go by, and when a Jaguar C-type snarled past me about 5 feet away, I nearly wet myself.The drivers were generally in a great mood, either waving or at least giving the motors a nice rev for us as they passed by. In an action-packed week where the increasingly big crowds and the meticulous judging put pressure on the car owners, this was clearly their chance to have some fun with their machines.Click on any of the pics above to access the 125-photo Gallery! Make sure to look at both pages of images!

Or Click HERE


Monterey Historics 2011 Gallery and Video

The first installment from my trip (by popular demand) is my photoset from the Monterey Historic Races at Laguna Seca. Over the next week or so, I'll keep adding more and more content from the eventful week I spent at Pebble Beach and Monterey! The track is legendary so it was really a special treat for me to visit the place for the first time. I found it to be much like Road America in scale, and like Elkhart Lake, to see the whole circuit required a fair amount of hiking up and down hilly terrain.  I must say the corkscrew really blew my mind. After seeing hundreds of photos of the corner, I was unprepared for how steep the thing really is! And what impressed me even more is how incredibly step the downhill section of track is that immediately follows the corkscrew. On TV and video, you really can't see the extent of the incline. I gained new respect for the skill and bravery it takes to get around Laguna Seca watching these guys!After a lot of walking, we found a really excellent vantage point on the outside of turn 6. Here, you can look down on the cars, but are still quite close, and you can watch them fly through the turn and power their way all the way up the hill towards the corkscrew at full throttle. The sound was incredible. I hope you all enjoy the videos. The cars got progressively faster and louder as the day went on!

CLICK HERE or on any of the photos for the full glorious photo gallery!

Of course, one of the highlights was listening to the magnificent sounds of the field of Ferrari GTOs. Make sure you crank up your speakers for that one, folks!