By D. Brian Smith
Photography: D. Brian Smith
Pebble. The pinnacle of historic and significant automotive worship is the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, so much so that anyone interested in automobiles knows what you're talking about when you simply say, "Pebble." If you own a beauteous vintage vehicle and you say, "We've been invited to show at Pebble," that's the most satisfying sentence an automotive aficionado is apt to voice. Oh yeah, baby. It's on. Break out the clay and the carnauba wax and get to work, cuz the automotive show of shows, the absolute Utopia with a capital U for all things cool and automotive is at Pebble. Pebble is where automotive masterpieces and art combine, all on display for the World's automotive historians, journalists and enthusiasts to gather in one of Mother Nature's most splendidly picturesque surroundings on the planet.
For Redline Review to miss the goings on at Pebble would be a catastrophe of epic proportions. The entire aspect of Redline Review is devoted to covering the crème de la crème of automotive ecstasy, whether at speed or on display, for automotive enthusiasts the world over with www access to appreciate and lust over. We're all about capturing these running sculptures with stirringly composed photography and post-produced digi-art or HDR photography, all the while capturing the essence of an event, or feature car, or race with as succinct an article as we can conceive.
Even before the days of RR and this humble car scribe's foray into writing about and photographing cool cars, we camped out at Laguna Seca in order to be there for Pebble. Another year, we stayed in a Motel 6 some 40 miles away to go to Pebble and witness the vintage racecars rumbling around Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca, then known as simply Laguna Seca, as this was prior to Mazda's sponsorship of the track. Monterey Auto Week, Monterey Car Week, or heck whatever you want to call this week of automotive nirvana is always, without question, the greatest car enthusiast week of the year. And it all ends with Pebble. Is it possible to overstate the significance of Pebble? In a word, no, for it's the most magnificent Concours set amid the most spectacular natural splendor in all of the Golden State.
The juxtaposition of these stunning manmade mechanical automotive works of running art with the best that Mother Nature has contributed in the way of seaside scintillation is what makes Monterey Car Week so special. And it all ends with the crowning achievement – the Day at Pebble.
For the past several years, the Day at Pebble has started at O dark hundred. Since yours truly is typically freeloading on his little brother Kevin, as little bro is a big shot automotive marketing and public relations tycoon for Lotus Cars U.S.A., the first wake up call and shower goes to RR's chief scribe. We hustled out the host Hyatt Regency Resort Hotel before anyone else was even awake and made the short jaunt to Pebble before the sun's stirring. For all you late sleepers that's the most magical time at Pebble anyways. It's well before the vintage iron's begun driving out on the golf course's links and gotten into position for the big day. The Smith Boys have sufficient time to wolf down a delicious breakfast, either at the Lodge Restaurant or at the Gallery, in anticipation of a long day lusting over, as in RR's case, or talking about, as with aforementioned big shot Lotus muckety brother.
Racing through our standard pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, orange juice and English Breakfast Tea break-fast, in order to get down on the links in time for the ceremonial driving in of the Concours contenders, is an annual tradition. We managed to photograph most of the vehicles competing for Best of Show and First in Class at Pebble 2010, apart from a short time delay having to get little bro a second pass, since his ticket was mistakenly locked away in the Lotus display by a co-worker. No worries, the Pebble staff graciously didn't charge Kevin for another ticket, when they learned what happened with his paid for pass.
After our glorious photo fest and witnessing of the historically superlative automotive sculptures rumbling, roaring, purring or thundering onto Pebble's links, Kevin parted RR's side to stand duty on Pebble's Concept Lawn. Lotus was unveiling its Formula style racecar, a detuned 640 horsepower Cosworth V-6 motorvated land rocket that looks as though it could give any Formula 1 racecar a run for its money, if driven by someone with the talent of say Schumacher or Vittel.
While Kevin tempted all the Concours goers with the ultimate in fantasy racing, Redline Review rifled off over 1,000 photos of all the automotive finery at Pebble. With the exception of the pics of name tags denoting who owns what cool car, we could literally publish every photo we took, not because they're so spectacular (although they are), but rather since there wasn't an ugly duckling and/or piece of junk in the show. Every hand selected contender was a worthy historically significant or obscure part of a most eclectic gathering of worthwhile automobiles from all around the globe, both in terms of where the cars' current caretakers dwell and from what country the automobiles were originally manufactured.
here's much more to Pebble than simply witnessing the most amazing automobiles that grace planet earth. Pebble provides a multi-sensory experience of pure nirvana in every way. Pebble Beach and the surrounding towns of Carmel, Monterey, Seaside and Salinas all offer nature lovers the most sublime vistas and smells and sounds of nature, both in its purest form and with the well-manicured help of mankind (in the case of PB Golf Course and so many other local haunts). The surroundings are so nice, they don't quite feel real, more surreal and sort of like some of our High Dynamic Range photography.
The essence of what we're driving at is that you must one day make a pilgrimage to Pebble to fully appreciate and let this without peer automotive enthusiast event sink into your heart and soul through all five of your senses. Yes, the show is wicked expensive, and it does certainly cater to people with means. But, we cannot stress enough how wonderful the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance is for folks who love and appreciate the automobile. Remember that the event does raise an enormous amount of money for charities each year, which will ease your guilty conscience for spending so much money while you're visiting the Central Coast. If you call yourself an automotive enthusiast, it's something you must experience at least once in your life. In RR's case, it has become something we simply must cover every year, a tradition that we will do our best not to break.
So, in summation Redline Reviewers, until you can make a pilgrimage one year to Pebble in Mid-August for the greatest Concours on Earth (eat your heart out Barnum & Bailey), Redline Review will stir your automotive enthusiast heart and soul with some of what we were captivated by during our visit. For more information on next year's event and a listing of this year's winners, visit www.PebbleBeachConcours.com. Please enjoy RR's coverage of the 2010 spectacle, and we'll make PB's 2011 show coverage even more amazing. We promise.