Edit Blog Post
Published: August 11th 2010
PHIL HILL'S LEGENDARY 1955 300SLR MERCEDES BENZ
OVERLOOKING CARMEL BAY FROM PEBBLE BEACH 18 GREEN
Excerpted from my book OUR SUMMER IN CARMEL; Amazon.com
(Narrative about the 2005 Pebble Beach Councours d'Elegance)
On the third Sunday in August, the center of the automobile universe is a tiny piece of golf-sacred land, the finishing hole on the famous Pebble Beach Golf Course, alongside beautiful Carmel Bay, California. Isn’t the 18th at Pebble an unusual place for such a boastful automotive claim? Here’s the background.
Since 1950, when the inaugural Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and Road Race was conducted, the now week-long, peninsula-wide festival has grown to achieve an unparalleled status as the premier international celebration of the automobile. It began simply enough with a road race inside gated and private Pebble Beach, which in that first year was won by legendary driver Phil Hill. The accompanying Concours of about 30 cars at the Beach and Tennis Club, was largely a chance to have a picnic, show off, and parade elegant and expensive automobiles, many of which were new models. In fact the best of show for the first five years was a new, or nearly new, car. It was not until 1955 that the same Phil Hill, who won the road race again that year (now removed from Pebble beach to the Del Monte track), also won the Concours Best of Show with a meticulously restored 1931 Pierce-Arrow. Since then, the Concours d’Elegance was forever changed to focus on the preservation of classic and historic automobiles. The most sought after and prestigious award in the motoring world is the simple ribbon given as a Best of Class award.
For this 55th year of the Pebble Beach gathering, 227 cars will be judged by experts and divided among 24 classes, a select 9 or 10 cars per class. They are the finest representations of their class in the world. More on the Pebble Beach event, the centerpiece of the weeklong festival, later. The Concours d’Elegance, meaning a meeting of the finest and highest style, has grown over the years from a small group of friends an aficionados gathering for a one day drive-by and picnic to admire what were, at the beginning, essentially new cars, to today, where, for an entire week, the whole Monterey peninsula is given over to the automobile. This is really a BIG DEAL. You cannot get a room within fifty miles. Many attendees return every year and assure their accommodation by booking the next year before they leave. The Village is clogged with very expensive cars. Just the cars strewn about the 18th fairway (by the way closing the hole for play that day) of the Pebble Beach Golf Course on Sunday are estimated to have a value in excess of $300,000,000. Yes, $300 million or about $1.3 million each. Not your average parking lot on a Sunday afternoon.
Tot: 3.901s; Tpl: 0.042s; cc: 10; qc: 49; dbt: 0.0389s; 3; m:saturn w:www (184.108.40.206); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb