Pebble Beach, the 'bonfire of vanities' on wheels
Pebble Beach started in 1950 as a kind of lounge of new models, in reality not very different from those we see today in this event that only since 1955 focused on the kitchens
- Gallery. See more images of the Monterey Car Week here
Pebble Beach started in 1950 as a kind of salon of new models, in reality not very different from those we see today in this event that only since 1955 focused on classic cars. Seven decades later, and already known as Monterey Car Week, it is far from being a static museum of historic and well-polished cars , as they all move by their own means.
In fact, every August a caravan made up of many of these preciousness covers the 2,200 kilometers between Seattle and Pebble Beach during the previous days. Some arrive to participate in exhibitions and contests. Others only add color and atmosphere.
Other owners prefer to be less ambitious. They settle for taking part in the less extensive Tour d'Elegance - which takes place the Thursday before the magical weekend - between Pebble Beach and the coastal area known as Big Sur. The route crosses the charming town of Carmel-the-sea and runs along the zigzagging route 17 Mile Drive, with a view over the rocky and green coastline that takes your breath away.
These are some of the activities directly associated with the official contest, although the event has been the breeding ground for other satellite initiatives distributed throughout the peninsula throughout a week, which justified that all of them were placed under the same Monterey umbrella Car Week
About 100,000 attendees
According to the latest studies, the event provides an income of 55 million dollars only in accommodation and living expenses. And so far almost 100,000 people approach throughout the week, half of them from outside the region.
One of the great attractions is The Quail, focused on sports cars. This is a kind of vanity fair where you can see 200 works of art on wheels with a payment of 500 dollars (double the Elegance Contest). Even so, tickets sold out in February.
In The Quail, beyond the caviar, the champagne (more abundant than a simple coffee ...), the elegant costumes and the spectacular girls, who wants to focus on cars always has a lot to whet the appetite and this year was not exception.
It is also here where more and more brands take the opportunity to show an especially influential and interested audience, sometimes in world premiere, concepts or models series production. For example, the Lamborghini Aventador SVJ 63 Roadster, the Pininfarina Battista, the Audi R8 GT2, the Bentley Flying Spur, the exotic Drako GTE (with its 1200 horses generated by four electric motors), the Lotus Evija or the very impressive Bugatti Centodieci de 1600 horses of which 10 units will be produced, already sold each at 10 million euros. Mercedes also exhibited its Maybach GLS here for the first time, and Hyundai tried to gain notoriety for its luxury brand Genesis.
First level auctions
On the other hand, since 1990 Monterey auctions have gained worldwide fame, now being the most famous and crowded. Without reaching the 2018 world record (when Sothebys auctioned a Ferrari 250 GTO for $ 41.6 million) this year Sothebys has managed to pay 19.8 million for a 1994 McLaren F1. Although he also went through the blush of seeing how the bid was deserted by the only existing Porsche Type 64 after a disastrous auction that confused the figures.
The icing on the cake is, of course, the Elegance Contest proper. It starts at dawn on Sunday, when the first spectators start arriving from six o'clock in the morning, who want to guarantee themselves before the grandstand mounted on the lawn of access to hole 18 of the exclusive Pebble Beach golf course, one of the most expensive of the world. Arriving late and having the right to a premium seat is the privilege of actors, CEOs, singers, style directors, elite athletes and other celebrities. One of the 27 categories goes to the grand finale.
Bentley dominated all fronts
In this year's, the absolute winner among 216 classic cars from 17 countries was the Bentley 8 Liters Gurney Nutting Sports Tourer. His proud owner, Sir Michael Kadoorie, had brought him from Hong Kong to California, where he received his crown. Its impeccable state was one of the aspects most valued by jurors (design directors of the most important car brands, former drivers, experts in classics, etc.) of the contest.
It may not have been a big surprise since one of his cars was chosen for the official Pebble Beach 2019 sign, but the truth is that the British brand has been more prominent this year at Monterey Car Week.
The Bentley 8 Liters, a coupe that appeared as an image of the event, was not exactly the one that won the jackpot - which corresponded to a four-door and four-seater - but had several elements in common. Of course, the genius of its creator. The poster, painted by the famous impressionist Alfredo De la Maria, presents what is probably the most coveted Bentley 8 Liter in the world.
Commissioned by the pioneer Welsh aviator and broker from Brooklands, Captain Vivian Hewitt, was the ultimate sports machine, combining a short chassis with a light body and a massive power engine (with the huge side exhaust as a witness). Today it is owned by Daniel Sielecki and remains an unrestored original.
Walter Owen Bentley, who preferred to be called "WO", founded his company on July 10, 1919. The brilliant engineer, pioneer in the use of metal alloys in car and aircraft engines, could only be 12 years in front of his company: the financial crisis of the Great Depression forced its sale to Rolls-Royce. But in that short space, he forged a legacy that survives today.
The third reason for celebration at Bentley was the first public appearance of the third generation of the Flying Spur. With the ambition to become the world's most luxurious four-door GT, it will be on sale before the end of 2019 with a new aluminum and composite materials chassis. It will also be the first Bentley with a four-wheel steering system.
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