Pebble Beach Tour d´Elegance 2019


Pebble Beach, 15th of August, 2019

The Monterey Car Week now is in full swing and the great final at the Golf Course in Pebble Beach seems to come nearer. Today finally was the first day many of the entered cars of Sundays Concours could be seen outside the trailer park as the annual Tour D´Elegance from the Pebble Beach grounds down Highway 1 to Big Sur and back through Carmel was on the program. Since a few day the weather is unusual friendly in the morning hours and today again the typical fog of the coast line did not show up when the fist cars were lined up well before 7am in front of the Gooding & Company tent.

Led by the resurrected Mercedes-Benz SSK Streamliner the field was the usual colourful mix of Ferrari, sports cars from the 1930s and 1950s as well as American Classics of different age and both open a closed. Looking down the row it was easy to figure out which brand did celebrate their centenary as about every fourth car was wearing the flying B of Bentley. Mostly the ear of the “original” Bentley before the takeover by Rolls-Royce dominated the picture, in addition to the concours classes also the Bentley West Coast Tour joined the Tour d`Elegance with a bunch of cars.

It seemed that more cars than in previous years joined the tour as not only the street was filled with cars but also a lot of them were staged in the loading area as the straight ran out of space.

A lot of people came out to take the opportunity to look over the cars and not few of them have their BoS early in mind despite the fact that a few of the contenders usually do not show up at the tour. So everybody has its guess what might be a suitable car and leaving the fact apart that Bentley is celebrating a jubilee it was a Mercedes-Benz that drew a lot of attention. The 540 K Special Cabriolet from Erdmann & Rossi has everything it takes to be a BoS winner, it is a well-known big engined chassis of one of the major player of the era, it is a special coachwork by the coachbuilder from Berlin and furthermore it is part of the famous Pyramids Collection of Arturo Keller. As it is a few years since regular entrant won the major award not few think it might be his turn again this year.

At 9 am finally the cars set off in two groups passing the Lodge on their way out of the Pebble Beach grounds and already at the first small hill some cars ran into trouble. The Tour originally was introduced to show that the cars on the American Concours are more than just trailer queens but one might get the impression that some actually are. The reasons for that are very different as some owners drove their car for the very first time that day as the restoration progress was delayed to the last second, some cars certainly were not ready to be driven just a few day ago.

After driving inwards to the Hinterland of Monterey the journey led through Carmel Valley Road to the main attraction, highway 1 down to Big Sur. At this stage a lot of people sit roadside to either enjoy the cars driving by or taking pictures in front of the Pacific.

After a coffee break at Bid Sur the cars make their way back to Carmel for a lunch break, unlike at the first stage south this time the cars are spread out a little bit more. 

While the cars were stopped in Carmel for a lunch we avoided the crowd and had a look at the Bonhams preview just a couple of minutes before their two-day-sale started during the day. As always the main cars were on display in the tent whereas the less important cars were spread out over the grass. As Bonhams almost doubled their amount of cars from the previous one-day sales the field was pretty packed and a few cars could not even open their doors without being pushed out of the designated spot due to the small gaps in between them.

Highlighted by Bonhams certainly is the Porsche RS Spyder but personal favourite was the Ferrari 340 America Speciale with Vignale coachwork. Whereas other Ferrari at Gooding and RM are regulars on the block this car is remarkable original and first in public since the late 1950s when the current owner acquired it.

After the small stint at the Bonhams tent it was time to have a last look at the cars coming back to the Pebble Beach Grounds before they are stored for the next days in the trailers. 

In the evening finally RM Sotheby´s started their Aston Martin only sale with 36 lots ranging from barely used cars to the classics of the David Brown era, highlighted by the only James-Bond Aston Martin DB5 with fully functional gadgets. The DB5 finally went up to $5.8 Million hammer price and the new owner was completely blown away as obviously he fulfilled a childhood dream owning on of the most famous cars in the world.

Apart from the DB5 especially the DB3S works racer and the DB4 GT were in the media releases but both cars failed to sell.

Tomorrow will be no less than three main auctions as Bonhams and RM are in their second day while Gooding joins in. The day will be spent at the Quail Motorsport Gathering, one of the traditional main events of the week.


Report & images ... Peter Singhof