The Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance is a spectacle of metal unlike any other. More than 20,000 people – car collectors and enthusiasts alike – descended on the Monterey Bay peninsula near Carmel, California this weekend. With an oceanic backdrop, vehicles from decades gone sat alongside new entries in the luxury market, all competing for the attention of the automotive world.
The Concours d'Elegance is the climax to a week of major car auctions. This year, according to Hagerty results, preliminary sales totals reached US$368 million (A$500 million) – a 12 percent increase from last year.
Two record sales dominated the 2018 Monterey auction week: The highest-ever auction price for a car went to the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO that sold for US$48.4 million at Sotheby’s, while the most expensive American car sold at auction went to a 1935 Duesenberg SSJ Roadster, which sold for US$22 million at Gooding & Co.
All told, across three days and six auction houses, 1,341 vehicles were sold with a median price of US$95,200.
Meanwhile, the likes of Audi, Bugatti, and Mercedes-Benz unveiled their visions for the future of vehicular elegance on concept lawns and at VIP parties in the days preceding the event.
At the end of the day, after judges finished evaluating the style, history, and accuracy of preservation of each car, a 1937 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Touring Berlinetta took the crown as the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance 2018 Best of Show. Here's an inside look at Pebble Beach 2018.
The Winner! A 1937 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Touring Berlinetta, owned by David and Ginny Sydorick, took Best of Show at the 2018 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The Italian brand was known for its quirky elegance and wide art deco details, epitomized here in the 8C. “It’s beautiful from top to bottom,” David says.
Auctioneer Charles Ross (right) gestures as he and David Gooding, president and chief executive officer of Gooding & Co., sit onstage near a 1930 Packard 734 Speedster Phaeton. Ross is known for his quick, witty auctioneering style, much beloved for years at the helm of the biggest sales on the peninsula.
David MacNeil drives his 1958 Ferrari 250 GT LWaB Scaglietti Spyder California across the winners ramp after receiving third place in the Ferrari Grand Touring category. Ferraris from this era are rare and expensive, especially when outfitted by the design house Scaglietti. Prized in their day as the most powerful, stylish cars on the market, they were owned by the world’s international playboys and jet set.
A 1955 Ferrari 500 Mondial Series II vehicle is shown before the Gooding & Co. auction. Racing Ferraris generally take the highest prices at auction.
Judges view a 1938 Delahaye 135 M Carlton Carriage Co. Roadster. The morning starts early, around 7am, amid fog and cool temperatures. As the day heats up, attendees stroll the lawn drinking tea and Champagne while judges wind their way through the crowds and make their evaluations.
An attendee views a Tucker motorcar. Many people at the week’s events showed up in fancy hats, colorful suits, and artful shoes. George Lucas was on hand, as was Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld.
Staff push a 1949 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Super Sport Cabriolet onto the auction block at the Gooding & Co. sale. Although the car shares a brand with the Pebble Beach Concours Best of Show winner, it’s worth considerably less.
Inside a 1959 Lincoln Continental Mark IV convertible on display. It’s vehicles like this that are doing well on the auction block. According to Hagerty spokesman Jonathan Klinger, the current sale market favors the best cars, but there are signs of weakness just below the summit. “The abundance of prewar cars risked overwhelming the market, but collectors generally responded to the selection and added vehicles from that era,” he says.
The Mercedes-AMG Project One plug-in is a hybrid-electric hypercar based on Formula One racers. It produces the equivalent of more than 1,000 horsepower and costs more than US$2 million. Fewer than 300 will be made, with production starting next year.
A 1965 Ferrari 275 GTS. According to Hagerty, of the more than 1,300 vehicles offered at the event, 200 had been sold at auction at least once before.
The only Porsche on the lawn this year was a 1952 Type 540 Sport Roadster owned by Jeanie and Bob Ingram. Their son, Cam, and a team of workers spent more than 4,000 hours restoring the car at his North Carolina shop, Road Scholars, which had produced two winning cars in previous years. This one finished on the podium as well, placing third in its class. It was one of the earliest Porsche models ever made.
The Ferrari 488 Pista Spider at the company’s unveiling event. It’s the convertible version of the brand’s superlight 488 sports car and the most powerful convertible Ferrari has ever made. Besides the bold blue racing stripe down the front, the most notable changes to this 488 Pista Spider are the diamond-finish 20-inch alloy wheels with a novel 10-spoke star effect, as well as the optional one-piece carbon fiber wheels, which offer a 20 percent weight reduction over the forged alloys that come standard with the car.
Crowds gather around a 1923 Steyr Type VI Targa Florio Rennwagen. According to Hagerty, prewar greats like this were more numerous this year – 114, up from 90 last year – with the average price almost doubling, to US$899,000.
The Mercedes-Benz EQ Silver Arrow is an all-electric concept that the carmaker says indicates the future of the brand. It’s also an homage to the company’s original W 125 race car, which in 1937 set the record for fastest land speed on a public road by traveling almost 435km/h. The Silver Arrow is more than 17 feet long but just 3 feet deep, with a carbon fiber front splitter and side skirts with a lighting strip. Large, recessed lettering heralds the company’s EQ brand of battery-electric vehicles, illuminated in blue in front of the rear wheels.
Ferraris are always an exciting marque at Pebble Beach, and this year was no different. Here, a field of dozens of vintage and collectible Ferraris flank the grounds next to the brand’s latest offer, the 488 Pista Spider.
The Bugatti Divo on display is the brand’s latest speed demon: a nearly US$6 million, 1,500-horsepower supercar made to dominate the track. Bugatti will make only 40 of them, and they’re already sold out.
A detail shot of the 1937 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Touring Berlinetta, the car that won Best of Show at the 2018 Concours. “As a Zagato collector, I broke the rules and bought a Touring-bodied car because this Alfa Romeo is very special,” says owner David Sydorick of Beverly Hills. “It is a piece of automotive architecture mounted on a Grand Prix chassis that has technology that was top of the line for prewar cars. It’s a wonderful combination.” Last year the 8C was named Most Elegant Closed Car at the Concours, but since Sydorick’s acquisition, it has received a full restoration and been returned to its 1938 Berlin Motor Show specification.