Polish and politics on the peninsula

The Pebble beach Concours D’Elegance is a beauty contest which has been running for an incredible 47 years. The most glamorous cars, shiniest restorations and wealthiest entrants dominate the greens behind the Lodge at Pebble Beach.

For 1997, there were a couple of surprises: classes for historic Hot Rods (won by Bruce Meyer’s Doane Spencer ’32 Ford roadster) and for Microcars (Tim Goodrich’s 1962 Messershmift KR-200). Although the microcars were received with glee by many, they did attract some controversy and probably won’t be a regular feature. Conversely, the rods were welcomed by most contestants and spectators and stand a good chance of having a permanent class.

The biggest prize of all, though, the Best of Show trophy, went to a traditional type of Pebble Beach car William Connor’s 1937 Talbot-Logo T150C Figoni et Falaschi coupe. As usual, gorgeous Ferraris, Duesenbergs and other big classics gleamed for the crowds. Unusually, steamers were everywhere, as they were the featured pre-war cars. A crowd favourite was Tim Moore’s 1884 de Dion steamer, which won its class, as well as the Automobile Quarterly Historian’s award. The postwar featured marque was Aston Martin, and fabulous array included all three project cars, a DBR1, DB3S, DB2 prototype, DB4GT Zagato and Robert Leyba’s class winning DB4GT. The prototype Atom saloon was also present, shipped over from England for the occasion.

After almost 50 years, Pebble Beach hasn’t lost its shine for spectators who gladly cough up the hefty $50 ticket price or for contestants from all over the world who flock to the Monterey Peninsula by the hundreds. Just as there will always be on England, it seems that there will always be Pebble Beach. Jonathon A Stein