Pebble Beach 2021 marks the men from Del Monte

Del Monte winners at 2021 Pebble Beach

All five Del Monte Trophy winners on display to recall the first road race of 1950, before Laguna Seca was built

Colin Warnes

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The 70th anniversary of the original Pebble Beach road race was a central theme of this year’s annual Concours d’Elegance at the celebrated Californian resort – albeit a year late after last year’s Covid-enforced cancellation.

The first Del Monte Trophy race meeting took place on November 5 1950, using 1.8 miles of public roads around Pebble Beach (although the course was subsequently extended to 2.1 miles). It cost $15 to enter and attracted a blend of Jaguars, Allards, MGs and locally built specials. Future world champion Phil Hill was one of the inaugural victors, heading fellow Jaguar XK120 racer Don Parkinson to win the 25-lap Pebble Beach Cup. The town’s first concours took place simultaneously, but was largely secondary to the racing.

Hill became a regular competitor at the event and won the feature race again in 1953, this time at the wheel of a Ferrari 250 MM Vignale Spyder, but the track did not operate for long. The final meeting took place in April 1956, Carroll Shelby winning the headline event in a Ferrari 750 Monza.

2021 Pebble Beach Del Monte trophy

The Del Monte Trophy attracted a field of 30 period-correct cars

Colin Warnes

Historic racing at Laguna Seca

Racing at Laguna Seca

Ernie McAfee died during the same race, however, after crashing his Ferrari 121 LM into a tree, and safety considerations dictated that the circuit would not be used again –a decision that led to the creation of the Laguna Seca Raceway about 15 miles from the location.

The Del Monte Trophy Race Group attracted a field of 30 period-correct cars to celebrate the anniversary, with a mixture of themed displays and, as has become tradition, a race at the Rolex Monterey Historic Reunion meeting at Laguna Seca.

1955 Pebble Beach programme

It may have made the programme cover, but the concours was very much second fiddle to the famed road race