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Pebble Beach Concours: A petrolhead nirvana

2015-08-17 13:17

STYLISH 458 SPIDER: Design-house Pininfarina showed off the Ferrari Sergio at Pebble Beach. Only six cars went into production, it uses the same 4.5 V8 engine from the 458 Spider. Instagram

MONTEREY, California - When it began 65 years ago, the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance was just a one-day affair.

Car enthusiasts raced around Pebble Beach's famed "17-Mile Drive" and hung around afterwards to admire each other's hardware.

The one-day show has evolved into a week-long car show. It includes road rallies, races, auctions, displays, seminars, exhibitions, parties and underpinning it all, marketing.


Lamborghini unveiled its newest model, the 521kW, R5-million Aventador, on Friday (August 15 2015).

Kia hopes to creep into the luxury market by offering test drives of its K900 sedan, which is priced at the equivalent of R700 000. 

The week's events were spread throughout the Monterey region, from the tony-rustic Carmel Valley to the gritty working-class town of Seaside, home to Saturday's tongue-in-cheek Concours d'Lemons. It's a deliberately downscale celebration of Edsels, Gremlins, Corvairs and Yugos - some of history's worst cars.

READ: Monterey car week in 7 awesome pics

Sunday's (August 16) Concours d'Elegance, on the 18th fairway of the Pebble Beach golf course, was focused instead on finery, with Ferraris, Bugattis, Hispano-Suizas and other rarified cars competing for Best-in-Show honors with over 25 000 people attending the event.


Hardcore enthusiasts arrived for the 6am 'Dawn Patrol' to watch the 200-or-so cars on display, all by invitation only, roll onto the 18th fairway while the morning mist rolled in from the adjacent Monterey Bay.

The 2015 edition featured categories and classes including Ferrari, pre-war British sports cars and the Lincoln Continental on its 75th anniversary year.

Mecum Auctions CEO Dave Magers said: "It's the Super Bowl of car shows, which sold a Porsche once owned by the late actor Steve McQueen for an expected equivalent of R25-million.

At the Bonhams auction at Carmel Valley's Quail Lodge, some cars could have fetched more than 10 times that price. All told, collectors were expected to spend more than $5-billion on cars sold at auction during the week.

The week of excess everything included epic traffic jams that can stretch for miles along California Highway 1. Monterey local Marty Goss said: "As a resident, we hate it, it's a huge influx of traffic and people. But it is great for the local economy."

The town expected more than 85 000 visitors to spend over R25-million on hotel rooms, restaurants and bar tabs. The best part? Proceeds are given to local charities.

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