Concours d’Elegance embraces rare, expensive cars

James Raia

The Ruxton lineup was only made for a short while in 1929.

After a week of event overdrive, Pebble Beach Automotive Week will conclude, as per tradition, with the 64th Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. It’s the Sunday finale to the yearly homage to automobile and motorcycle history.

The full-day affair will begin at dawn when an estimated 225 vehicles, including eight featured car and motorcycle marques, begin to assemble on the 18th hole fairway at Pebble Beach Golf Links.

Judging begins at 9 a.m. and the Concours is open to spectators beginning at 10:30 a.m. The award presentation will begin at 1:30 p.m. and continue until 5 p.m.

Each year, Concours d’Elegance organizers offer a varied mix of historically significant vehicles. This year’s selection is among the most diverse in recent history.

Fewer than 20 Ruxton cars remain and most will be at the Concours d"Elegance.
Fewer than 20 Ruxton cars remain and most will be at the Concours d”Elegance in Pebble Beach.

Maserati and Ferrari and Rolls-Royce are familiar nameplates, but for the first time the unheralded and rare Ruxton will have its own category. Fernandez et Darrin Coachwork, the marriage of American-born designer Howard Darrin and Argentinean-born financier J. Fernandez, and the Czechoslovakian-made Tatra will also be in the mix. Antique steam cars and Eastern European Motorcycles will complement the vast offerings.

The Tatra, founded in 1850, has a niche global following. It’s the world’s third-oldest automaker behind Daimler and Peugeot and the carmaker built cars with outrageous features for its time. The Type 77, for example, was aerodynamic, air-cooled and provided styling significance to the Bugatti Atlantic and the Volkswagen Beetle.

The Ruxton was a collaboration between an innovator and a businessman whose friendship and business arrangement quickly failed in 1930. The Great Depression didn’t help, either. As a result, fewer than 100 Ruxtons were made and only 17 of the rare vehicles have been identified in working condition.

For Concours d’Elegance spectators perusing the cars, keep in mind, the Concours has little to do with performance or speed. The vehicles are judged on excellence — a combination of historical accuracy, technical merit and style.

As the Concours d’Elegance has grown, spectator parking availability has also become increasingly at a premium. With new events at Spanish Bay, a shuttle system will make its debut for the short trip to Pebble Beach. The shuttle will run throughout repeatedly throughout the day beginning Thursday.

A spectator shuttle will also make a round-trip Sunday only from Carmel Plaza to the Pebble Beach from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. The cost is $20 with children under age 12 free. Shuttle passengers will be given a wristband that allows unlimited trips during the day. Shuttle tickets can be purchased in advance at the Carmel Chamber of Commerce, located on San Carlos, between 5th & 6th Streets. Tel. 831-624-2522.

Like visiting other events at Pebble Beach, spectators attending the Concours d’Elegance should come prepared. Pebble Beach is known for it unpredictable weather.

Weather can change several times in a day and a full day outside near the Pacific Ocean requires appropriate attire, including a hat and sunscreen. Temperatures are often cool in the morning and evening, and warm during the day. Comfortable walking shoes, sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, a sweater or jacket, handy wipes, a camera, and a blanket are recommended.

The Concours d’Elegance attracts a global audience that dresses in a wide array of styles — dressy to resort casual. Whatever your style, attire should be comfortable and convenient for walking. Spectators’ tickets must be visible at all time and a lanyard is provided.

Concession stands are available and the Pebble Beach Market also has a wide variety of take-out food. The Tap Room and the Gallery Restaurant are also located near The Lodge at Pebble Beach. Both restaurants are open to the public. Seating is limited and is on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Article Last Updated: August 15, 2014.

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