With its 60th anniversary celebration set for next August, the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, founded in 1950 as a celebration of the automobile, has evolved into one of the world’s foremost classic car events.
Additionally, as exemplified by the more than 20 new and concept vehicles showcased at the 2009 Concours, the annual event now offers a glimpse into the automotive future.
Several vehicles made world debuts at the 2009 Concours last August, including the Bentley Mulsanne grand tourer, Bugatti Sang Bleu, Devon Motor Works GTX, Iconic Motors Heritage Roadster Concept Chassis, 2011 Infiniti M and Spyker C8 Aileron Spyder. North American debuts included the Aston Martin One-77, Hyundai Equus, Infiniti Essence concept, 2010 Jaguar XJ, Morgan Aero SuperSports and Porsche Panamera.
Several other manufacturers also opted to display new and concept vehicles, including Audi, Ferrari, Fisker Automotive, Lexus, Lincoln, Lotus, Mercedes-Benz, Rolls-Royce, Stile Bertone, and Tramontana.
“In 50 years we’ll be able to look at historical vehicles on our show field and trace some of their origins back to the Pebble Beach Concours,” said Concours Chairman Sandra Button. “The past and future combine effortlessly at this event because we have one primary purpose: celebrating the best automobiles in the world.”
Mercedes-Benz, the world’s oldest automotive manufacturer and longest participating Pebble Beach Concours sponsor, exemplifies the blend of old and new. The new Mercedes-Benz McLaren SLR Stirling Moss, a supercar that pays homage to legendary racer Sir Stirling Moss’ 1955 300SLR, was on display at the 2009 Concours along with nine generations of the E-Class and five original Silver Arrow race cars – the largest U.S. gathering of Silver Arrows ever assembled.
“The Pebble Beach Concours captures the essence of more than 120 years of Mercedes-Benz passion for automotive innovation and heritage,” said Ernst Lieb, President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz. “This year’s displays continued the great tradition of the brand, and represented Mercedes-Benz commitment to continuously produce fascinating automobiles that become icons of automotive history.”
Contrasting the rich history of Mercedes-Benz was Devon Motor Works, an upstart, California-based industrial design house building what it calls “the next great American supercar,” the Devon GTX. Devon used the 2009 Concours to introduce its brand, conduct the company’s first press conference and present the Devon GTX to the world.
“We’re building an ultra-exclusive supercar, and the best venue to reach our potential customers, on an international level, is the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance,” said company founder Scott Devon. “The Devon GTX blends bold design with uncompromised performance. The Concours reaches people who appreciate a vehicle of this caliber and we’re honored to have our company’s origins rooted in Pebble Beach.”
Infiniti has used the Pebble Beach Concours to not only launch new vehicles, but has employed some innovative techniques to unveil a car that hasn’t even been built. The 2009 Concours featured the North American debut of the Infiniti Essence concept, and with the help of new 3D-rendering technology, the 2011 M also made a global virtual debut – a world first.
“This is the fourth year that Infiniti has participated at the Pebble Beach Concours and we’ve become more active each year,” said Ben Poore, Vice President of Marketing at Infiniti. “Infiniti’s annual participation at the Concours has helped build our reputation among the most discerning luxury vehicle buyers and trend-setters.”