#189, Sandra Button: Queen of the Pebble Beach Concours

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Sandra Button has judged thousands of cars, Bentley to Bugatti, Maserati to Mercedes-Benz. But a masterpiece from yesteryear can still give the chairwoman of the Pebble Beach Concours a jolt.

It happens early Sunday mornings when 200 cars emerge at Pebble Beach Golf Links for the annual homage to automotive beauty and tradition.

“I have seen cars drive onto the field from the mist and thought, ‘that’s the one; that’s got a run for the roses,’ “said Button. Sometimes, I’m right and sometimes I’m not. Sometimes, they don’t even make it out of their class.

Sandra Button is celebrating her 35th anniversary as chairwoman of the Pebble Beach Concours.
Sandra Button is celebrating her 35th anniversary as chairwoman of the Pebble Beach Concours.

“But I’ve been surprised many, many times seeing a car come around the corner onto the field and saying, ‘wow, what is that?’ It didn’t translate in a photo. It’s the stance, the height and everything about the car.”

Button, celebrating her 35th year as the event’s chairwoman is our guest this week on The Weekly Driver Podcast.

Pebble Beach Concours: 70th anniversary

Co-host Bruce Aldrich and James Raia talk with Button about the upcoming Monterey Auto Week and the enduring status of the Pebble Beach Concours.

While Button celebrates her anniversary, the event is celebrating its 70th anniversary.

“One of the things that’s pretty neat about the Pebble Beach Concours is that our roots are definitely in motorsport,” said Button. “Actually, as we are celebrating 70 years of the Pebble Beach Concours we are also celebrating 70 years of the Pebble Beach Races, which really were the star of the show in 1950.”

“The Concours was honestly just an afterthought. The races were the show and all the attention was on that. But we thought, ‘Let’s kick tires and talk cars after the races are done.’ ”

Sandra Button the chairwoman of the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.
Sandra Button, chairwoman of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

To commemorate the occasion, the Concours d’Elegance will include a Reunion Class. So far, 40 of the best of show winners will return. The vehicles will be showcased on the golf course paralleling the Pacific Ocean.

“You can imagine what that’s going to be like seeing what the tastes were back in the day,” said Button. “Was it a more formal, bigger car? Or was it more of a French coachwork or European coachwork? They’ll all be there.”

Please join us for a lively 30-minute conversation with “The Queen of the Concours.”

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