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.
“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.’ ”
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.”
The Weekly Driver Podcast encourages and appreciates feedback from our listeners. Please forward episode links to family, friends and colleagues. And you are welcome to repost links from the podcast to your social media accounts.
Support our podcast by shopping on Amazon.com.
Every episode is also available on your preferred podcast platform:
Article Last Updated: July 16, 2021.
- About the Author
- Latest Posts
A sports, travel and business journalist for more than 45 years, James has written the new car review column The Weekly Driver since 2004.
In addition to this site, James writes a Sunday automotive column for The San Jose Mercury and East Bay Times in Walnut Creek, Calif., and a monthly auto review column for Gulfshore Business, a magazine in Southwest Florida.
An author and contributor to many newspapers, magazines and online publications, James has co-hosted The Weekly Driver Podcast since 2017.