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Pebble Beach Tour d´Elegance and Auction Preview

5 minutes to go

5 minutes to go


Pebble Beach, 23rd of August, 2018 

Now the Pebble Beach Concours is officially around the corner. Today the concours cars rolled out for the first time from their transporters located near the Gooding & Company tent for the Tour d´Elegance down to Big Sur and back. Once arrived at 7am the first of the two groups was already lined up 1.5 hours before the departure and just like on Concours Sunday a few owners could not wait to be the first in line. Being one of the main sponsors the parade was let by Mercedes-Benz cars from the factory museum but since Sir Stirling Moss officially retired from any duties the rush at the front of the field was reasonable.

Apart from the fact that the tour leads down highway 1 giving the best photo opportunities of the weekend the tour is also the first time one can look out for potential Best of Show winners or the personal favourites. This year’s concours features amongst others the small OSCAs and as those are great drivers it was unsurprisingly that a lot of them took part in the tour. In between the huge Packards or Duesenbergs the small and nimble racers looked a little bit lost in the line-up but they came alive once the roads opened but a few of the owners complained about the traditional low speed of the tour set by the representative pre-war touring cars as the race engines are not used to low speeds. A complete different category are the other featured class of the Tucker and the Citroen DS. Both very innovative in time the déesse (goddess) acclaimed international reputation whereas the Tucker (although no less innovative) became famous for its struggling against the established automotive industry of the time and so the few built Tuckers became rare collector cars especially in the US. About 13 of them are expected to line-up on the green on Sunday and a few of them could be seen today already. One of the biggest single marque contingent on the field will be again Ferrari as the cars from Maranello is yearly featured in own classes just like Rolls-Royce, Mercedes and Duesenberg showing the reputation of these brands.

Of particular interest is always the race Ferrari class as these early endurance racers formed the myth of the Cavallino Rampante and it is no secret that the road cars are more expedient to the financing of the racing to Enzo Ferrari than primary interest. No less than three pontoon fendered Testa Rossa could be seen and most interestingly one of them is a 4-cylinder TRC rather than the bigger engined V12 derivate that is more known for the characteristic body style helping to cool the huge drum brakes of the era. Another 4-cylinder 2-litre is coming fresh from restoration, this time a black-red 500 Mondial, lined up just a few meters from the sister car that will go over the block this weekend at Gooding.

But apart from personal interest the main theme is every year a guess for the Best in Show candidates among all the visitors of the tour. There are years when the choice is rather easy but this year will be pretty special as one could easily spot at least three candidates for the highest laurels. Not only are those three cars of the highest level of automotive design but they are also entered by very prominent collection, all of them not new in winning major awards. Representing the European Continent or more specific the Italian art of coachbuilding is the Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 Touring Berlinetta brought by David & Ginny Sydorick. More known as a Zagato collector Sydorick fell for the famous Touring design that already shone on the previous PB BoS winner exactly a decade ago, when Jon Shirley won his first title with a blue example, this year we will see a black one.

All American is the Duesenberg JN Bohman & Schwartz Convertible Coupe owned by Sam & Emily Mann. This very car was originally owned by Clark Gable whose Duesenberg SSJ is expected to set a new record at this year’s Gooding Auction. The car was already shown in 2007 when it won a special award before winning in Amelia Island and the fact that it was already shown might take away the actual chances to win overall but nevertheless this car certainly is one of the stars of the weekend.

Building the bridge between the two continents is the huge Cadillac V16 Series 90 with Swiss Hartmann Cabriolet body owned by The Patterson Collection. After spending some time in the Blackhawk Collection the car was restored recently be RM Restorations and both Patterson and RM are no strangers to winning BoS awards so this car might be the actual favourite for the title. But after finishing the tour and going back to the trailers one has to wait whether the international jury will agree with our guess and whether these three cars will be in the final selection. 

After the Tour it was time to have a look at the last of the “big three” auction previews at Bonhams. Although the smallest of the big ones the single day auction located at the Quail Lodge will lead into the weekend tomorrow when several very interesting cars will cross the block. Although the sale is led by numbers by the Ferrari 250 GT SWB maybe the Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Competition might be the more interesting car. Being an original Mille Miglia contender this is as exotic as it gets with apparently only two examples in existence today. It will be interesting to see what the market will be like as not few collectors and also dealers are waiting for the trend setting Monterey sale being an indicator of the current market situation. Never before so many big cars could be seen in Monterey as the 10 million dollar mark might fall more often than ever before. But Monterey is not only about the highest paid prices for unique cars, it also shows the current value of rather standard types like the several Porsche 911 and 356 lined-up on the grass at Bonhams. Latest in three days we will know the answer when the auctions end and the final curtain of the Monterey week opens for the concours.


Tomorrow will be the Quail Lodge Motorsport Gathering and all three auctions houses will have their first day.

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Report & images ... Peter Singhof