Another year has gone by, and another Best in Show winner has been etched into the history at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Pebble (as it’s known to the thousands of big-money collectors, gearheads, and spectators that descend on California’s Monterey peninsula every August) is the lynchpin of Monterey Car Week, a celebration of the automotive good life that brings some of the finest cars in the world – and some of the biggest of the big money auctions – to a few small, well-to-do tourist towns. Tens of thousands of people come and go, millions of dollars ($344.9 million this year, to be exact) are exchanged for hundreds of cars, and then, just like that, it’s all over.
We were on hand this year to see it all, and even with manufacturers unveiling prototypes, and the big-money auctions, specialty shows, drive events, cruises, and everything else, Pebble is still the crown jewel. For the 65th Concours, special classes were created to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Ford GT’s victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the 50th anniversary of the Lamborghini Miura, BMW’s 100th anniversary, midcentury Italian automaker Bizzarrini, French automaker Delahaye, the coachbuilder Chapron, and prewar two-man Indianapolis 500 racers; all displayed alongside rows of pre- and postwar Ferraris, Bugattis, Rolls-Royce, Bentleys, Duesenbergs, and other one-of-a-kind cars.
There were over 200 cars on the 18th fairway this year, and 28 class winners, including the best in show, a 1936 Lancia Astura Pinin Farina Cabriolet. With all that incredible iron in one place, it’s nearly impossible to pick a favorite, so we collected 10 of our favorite class winners – including the Lancia – and put together a list of some of the most impressive cars at this year’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
1. 1966 Ford GT40 P/1015 Mark II
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Ford GT40’s historic 1-2-3 victory at Le Mans. Ford celebrated with a near-perfect 1-2-4 class finish from the all-new GT at this year’s endurance race; Pebble Beach celebrated by bringing together no fewer than 16 of the of the 107 cars built to mark the occasion. This car came in second at Le Mans in ’66. Half a century later, it won its class.
2. 1902 Thomas Model 17
The cars of the Concours may be some of the most pampered cars in the world, but they’re by no means garage ornaments. Every car displayed must drive onto the green under its own power, which is what makes this 114-year-old bone-stock Thomas so astonishing. Running with its original spark plug, wires, and battery, everything except the tires, gasoline, and water in the radiator came out of the factory on this car. If that isn’t impressive enough, it was originally owned by John D. Rockefeller, and is believed to be the oldest Thomas on the planet. It won the Prewar Preservation class.
3. 1970 American Motors AMX/3 Coupe
Believe it or not, in the late ’60s, American Motors – the company behind the Rambler, Gremlin, and Pacer – almost green-lit the AMX/3, a mid-engined, Italian-designed supercar to compete with the world’s elite exotics. Unfortunately, the cash-strapped company couldn’t make a case for it, and the project was shelved after just four cars had been built. Two of those were on the 18th fairway at Pebble; this one was meticulously restored, and won its class.
4. 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Gangloff Coupé
The Bugatti Type 57S was one of the most powerful and technologically advanced cars of the pre-war era, and just 43 examples were produced. On top of this car’s gorgeous styling, it has a fascinating story too; it was bought new by a young French doctor, who disassembled it and stashed it around rural France at the outbreak of World War II before joining the resistance. After the war, it was reassembled and driven for many years. Following a recent restoration, the car looks just as it did in the 1930s, and won the European Classic Late class.
5. 1959 Maserati Tipo 60/61 Allegretti Birdcage
The Maserati Tipo 60/61 “Birdcage” cars were some of the most dominant racers of the late ’50s thanks to their ultra-lightweight tubular construction and powerful 3.0-liter engine, and have become a major part of the brand’s legend. This Tipo 60/61 is wearing the iconic white/blue colors and Camoradi livery, was driven by both Dan Gurney and Carroll Shelby, raced at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and was an inspiration for Maserati’s 2000s-era MC12 supercar. It won the Postwar Sports Racing class.
6. 1967 Shelby Cobra 427 Series III
Any car show will probably have a Cobra on hand – most likely a replica – but this ’67 model with 2,194 miles on the odometer is likely the most original model left on the planet. Other than a few fluids, everything on the car is as it left the dealership back when LBJ was president. It took first place in the Postwar Preservation class, beating out beautiful Ferraris, Jaguars, and Delahayes.
7. 1937 BMW 328 Roadster
The roots of every single one of BMW’s modern sports cars can be traced back to the 328 of the 1930s. With its light weight (just over 1,800 pounds), powerful straight-six engine, and aerodynamic body, it became a staple on prewar race tracks all over Europe. This example won the BMW Centennial Prewar class, and was one of just six black 328s BMW built in 1937.
8. 1938 Delahaye 165 Figoni & Falaschi Cabriolet
Delahaye was one of the celebrated marques at this year’s Concours, so there were plenty of stunning examples to choose from. But the winner of the Delahaye Prewar class, this cabriolet, was a cut above. It was built on a Delahaye racing chassis and fit with a rare V12 engine to back up its gorgeous deco styling. Exhibited at the Paris Salon in 1938, it was originally owned by Adrian Conan Doyle, son of Sir Arthur, the creator of Sherlock Holmes.
9. 1966 Ferrari 330 P4 Drogo Spyder
With the Ford GT40 having its big moment, it was only fitting that it would be reunited with its former adversary. This 330 P4 is the last original car built for the 1967 racing season, and finished first in a 1-2-3 Ferrari finish at the 24 Hours of Daytona that year. This V12-powered legend won the Ferrari Competition class.
10. 1936 Lancia Astura Pinin Farina Cabriolet
Best in Show winners at the concours have historically been prewar coachbuilt stunners, and this year was no exception. This Lancia Astura was one of just six built for a Lancia dealer in Biella, Italy. Designed and built by Pininfarina (then Pinin Farina, and in only its sixth year of existence), this car sat derelict for decades until the coachbuilder bought it in the early ’60s and restored it at its own expense to prevent it from getting scrapped. It was then bought by Eric Clapton, who said the car was “the most fun I’ve had offstage and out of bed.” After this year’s Concours d’Elegance, it’s been officially coronated as one of the most beautiful cars ever built.
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