A dazzling array of classics cruised the coastal roads of the Monterey Peninsula on Thursday 23 August, ahead of the main Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance event this Sunday.
The picturesque route played witness to possibly the greatest moving motor show on earth, as the lion’s share of some 200 concours participants took part in the annual Tour d’Elegance.
Where Sunday’s event is about fastidiously presenting the pristine machines for judging, the Tour gives owners and spectators alike the chance to experience the remarkable motors on the move – and quite often roaring.
Departing from Pebble Beach at 9am, the convoy travelled inland towards Tehama Golf Club then looped back on the Carmel Valley Road, before a scenic run along the recently reopened Highway 1 to Big Sur.
The Tour concluded on Carmel’s Ocean Avenue, where huge crowds gathered to get a closer look at these most exotic machines.
Striking diversity marked this year’s event, with everything from pre-war pioneers – such as a 108-year-old Pope-Hartford Model T 5 Passenger Touring – to post-war coachbuilt beauties taking on the challenging route.
Though the event is certainly not a race, early pace was set by the spectacular 1958 Ferrari Testa Rossa Scaglietti Spyder of Tom and Gwen Price, followed by a flock of diminutive OSCAs and a 1953 Siata 300BC Bertone Barchetta.
Also spotted was a stunning 1972 Citroën SM Chapron Mylord Cabriolet. It was joined by a 1966 DS21 Cabriolet d’Usine, a ’66 DS21 Cahpron Le Léman Coupé and a ’59 DS19 Berline d’Usine, all belonging to French-car fanatics Jeffrey and Frances Fisher.
A handful of 48 Sedans from honoured marque Tucker came out of hiding to tackle the drive, but the steep climbs and sharp descents took their toll on the group, with one failing to clear 17-Mile Drive and another rolling to a stop later, wreathed in the stench of hot engine.
Several cars from the Motor Cars of the Raj class – many boasting a full complement of passengers – also completed the journey, headed by an imperious 1935 Bentley 3½-litre Antem Drophead Coupé.
But the car that had everyone talking was the Patterson Collection’s 1937 Cadillac Series 90 Hartmann Cabriolet, which seemed to glide about and dispatch the asphalt with ease.
There’s no doubt that the road trip set the tone for the rest of Monterey Car Week, with the entire fleet of historic machines set to compete in the headline Concours d’Elegance event this Sunday.
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