Pebble Beach Concours Celebrates 71st Year
After 16-months of pandemic-induced hibernation, Car Enthusiasts across America are emerging this summer with all the heat and energy of 2021 Cicadas. Main Street USA – largely deserted since March 2020 when COVID hit –is a steady stream of spontaneous cars-on-parade, especially during weekends, when parking lots in towns and cities large and small are filled with a lot of guys standing around drinking coffee admiring one another’s shiny stuff (no not that!).
But this weekend is special. For the first time in two years, Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, the Oscars of Car Shows, is full throttle, with more than 600 iconic cars on exhibit and enough glitz and glam to make LA’s renowned red carpets ‘meh’ in comparison.
Since its inception in 1950, the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance has earned its seat as the most coveted classic auto show ticket in the industry. Mainstream car shows are generally about enjoying the variety of designs and materials used in builds and restorations, with participants talking to one another in hushed tones about how the sound of a revving Ferrari 458 Italia’s V8 in a way that can make even the most skeptical (aka wives of Car Enthusiasts) believe in the powers of the supernatural. Now put that on steroids, and you’ll have a hint of what it’s like to breathe the rarified air of this year’s Pebble Beach event, made even more exceptional when considering the organization’s deep commitment to serving both the authentic and the aspirational.
Since 1961, event organizers have made integrating social service as essential to the show’s mission as Lacoste golf shirts and WD-40, and in equal measure. Over the past 61 years, Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance has raised more than $29 million – not bad for a car show hosted in a tiny northern California coastal town.
This year’s event will be no exception: For $100 attendees have the opportunity to enter a variety of giveaways including the 2021 Mercedes Benz GLE 250 SUV, the 2022 Genesis GV70 3.5T AWD Sport and a 2022 Lexus NX F Sport to name a few, with all proceeds supporting the Boys and Girls Clubs, United Way, the Montage Health Foundation and the social service Kinship Center.
Pebble Beach has its roots in the very first Concours d’Elegance (French for competition of elegance) dating to the 1600s, when aristocrats started parading their finest carriages throughout the streets of Paris, evolving into Concours d’Elegance as we know it today largely due to the Italian’s prolific predisposition for design, taking the concept to the next level with the Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este in Cernobbio, Italy 1929. Villa d’Este’s framework gave rise to the event concept worldwide, with Pebble Beach launching on Nov 6, 1950.
Located on the California coastline between Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea, Pebble Beach started as an add-on event when Sterling Edwards, a local car manufacturer, lobbied for the first real auto race to take place on the west coast after World War II. Edwards was planning on using the race to promote his latest car appropriately dubbed the “Edwards.” In the end however the Edwards didn’t win the race, but it did win the Concours d’Elegance as best in show.
What began as a simple, yet sophisticated, motor race serving a handful of Car Enthusiasts has evolved into an aspirational annual event that, 71-years later, is inspiring the masses – authentically and aspirationally, which is no easy feat. No wonder this year’s “Pebble Beach in 2050” classic car forum was sold-out -- that’s the stuff fortune-tellers and dreams are made of.
The 2021 Pebble Beach Concourse d’Elegance is broadcast live by Weathertech and Hagerty at pebble.hagerty.com
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