The 65th annual 2015 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance show continued to impress the world with a collection of the most rare and desirable automobiles in the world. Over 200 treasures from around the globe built by many long defunct marques with rare or one-off coachwork lined the seaside golf course at Pebble Beach for all to experience. In addition to the main Concours event, OEM manufacturers assemble to display their latest models and future-driven concepts. One of the highlights of the main event is the Concept Lawn, where manufacturers, aftermarket builders and emerging designers showcase their latest creations, many of which are world premieres.
The pristine greens of the rocky seaside cliffs along Pebble Beach are a dramatic setting for a collection of the world`s finest automobiles. Shipped from as far away as Japan and all points in between, the world’s elite assemble these gems from their private collections to present to the public and the panel of judges awarding the coveted Best of Show prize.
One of the departures from the norm for 2015 was seeing three American manufacturers as show features. The features are typically selected for European marques. Marking the 75th anniversary of the Lincoln Continental, a variety of classics were on display dating all the way back to 1940. To continue on the American-built theme was a custom Mercury display and early Shelby race car showcase and both did not disappoint. The balance of display cars were opulent pre-war vehicles, early Ferrari models and a variety of outstanding Preservation Class Vehicles, otherwise known as “barn finds.”
While the American classics, rare cars and obscure Ferrari examples put on a stunning display, all eyes were on the Best of Show Nominees: a 1914 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Torpedo Phaeton, 1953 Abarth 110 Sport Ghia Coupe, a 1924 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A and, our personal favorite, a 1937 Delahaye 145 Franay Cabriolet. In the end, our top pick did not prevail; however, the 1924 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A did, surely upping its already high value to stratospheric levels.
Another highlight of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is the Preservation Class. These are vehicles that are found in barns, sheds and long since forgotten hidden vaults around the world. One of the largest barn finds in recent history was the discovery of 60 classic vehicles in the crumbling sheds and barns on the estate of one Roger Baillon.
The deceased French businessman held onto collector cars for decades in hopes of restoring them for a museum. However with a downturn in business and in his health, the collection sat dormant. Following his death, Baillon left behind dozens of rare cars, but the crown jewels of the collection were one of three 1956 Maserati A6G 2000 Frua and an extremely desirable 1961 Ferrari 250GT SWB California Spider. The Ferrari Spider sold at auction earlier this year for US$18.5-million and the Maserati sold for US$2.2-million as part of a total sale of the automotive contents of nearly US$30-million. These cars were a rare glimpse at experiencing stunning unrestored vehicles, long forgotten, complete with battle scars, glorious patina and even the original dust and musty scent of the barn in the French countryside where they were uncovered.
On the other end of the spectrum was all of the stunning new automotive hardware that has yet to see the road and preparing to make history. The Concept Lawn next to the Pebble Beach Lodge is always a crowd favorite in an intimate space atop a flawless putting green. Roped off to the public for viewing at a distance, the Concept Lawn features all of the future production vehicles and stunning fresh concepts to gauge interest for the manufacturers. Here we saw a handful of cars that had previously debuted, such as the 2017 Audi R8 V10, The Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 concept, the Infiniti Q60 Coupe concept from Detroit and one of the highlights of the 2015 New York Auto Show, the Lincoln Continental concept, all in one setting.
The Concept Lawn display was a thrill to see all of these vehicles together at once, but there were a few world debuts to generate excitement, as well. BMW unveiled the 3.0CSL Hommage R Concept following their private invitation-only showing. Hyundai also released their V8-powered Vision G coupe to show that the Korean manufacturer is continuing to move upscale. There was also a Fisker Rocket Speedster on display designed by the legendary Henrik Fisker. The Rocket Speedster is a supercharged 725 horsepower carbon fiber widebody convertible based on the Ford Mustang GT.
Past the glitz and glam of the Pebble displays were a host of manufacturer tents and even entire estates filled with exciting new product. Whether it was Bentley House, BMW Villa or the imposing Mercedes-Benz tent, the collection of new products, classic legacy models and range of demonstrations gave potential buyers far more than your average auto show experience to intimately interact with each brand. Blend in a relaxed atmosphere and hors d`oeuvres with friendly product specialists, and shopping for a car at Pebble Beach is an experience like no other.
The 2015 Monterey Car Week capped off at the grand finale at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance was quite the automotive ride. A culmination of a week jammed with events and auctions both public and private, attendees come to display, view and buy a selection of the most rare vehicles on the planet.