The term “barn find” has been extended well outside its original meaning of barns and unmolested original finds, but that’s okay. Could something found in a hole on the internet be a barn find as well? That’s how I feel about this post, because I wrote it six months ago and kind of…abandoned it. This is more or less a gallery of the coolest cars I saw at the 2016 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, but classic cars are timeless, right? I still think it’s worth checking out, so I’d like to share it. The original text is as follows:
There are a lot of “concours” events around the world. Hell, it seems like there’s one every few weeks out here in Northern California. But when people say “Concours”—with that capital C—they’re only talking about one thing: the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
I saw a really funny comment on Speedhunters the other day. Dino Dalle Carbonare, in setting up a post about driving the Pagani to Canepa Cars & Coffee, mentioned about how early he’d gotten up and left his hotel room. Impatience and intolerance clearly runs wild for some people, and I just have to quote this moron verbatim: Stop being like everyone else on the internet and posting a minutes worth of drivel before you show the content you actually promised to show. No one cares about your hotel room.
Well guess what? I like that setup info, because it gives context. It reminds us we’re all humans participating in human-created activities with other humans. I practically leapt out of my hotel bed at 5:20 AM to get downstairs and get into my friend’s GTI. This is what you joke about before dawn: “A GT3 RS parked next to me? Whyyyy?!”
Speaking of the guy next to you, as soon as we parked in this lovely lot by the beach, this ’35 Ford rolled up right next to us.
And then, on the walk to the shuttle, I noticed this 1936 Ford 5-window coupe.
Getting in was a bit of a whirlwind, and the next time I put the camera to my eye was when we arrived at the concept lawn. As you can see, even though there were already thousands of people there, we arrived before some of the cars were even uncovered.
Being early is great, and I wish we had gotten there even earlier. Later in the day there were so many people you could hardly move around, but this early in the day I had all the space I needed.
This one-off Bugatti Vision Gran Turismo was apparently sold to a Saudi prince, which is amazing. Do you think he’ll drive this thing on the road??
You want Prestige Gap, this Maybach concept delivers it in spades. Whatever happened to cars that were just huge for the sake of being huge?
This is the VLF Destino, which is essentially a Fisker Karma with a Corvette ZR1 drivetrain. My coworkers hung around this car all day, giving information to prospective customers. For those who don’t know, the Volvo/McLaren dealership where I work used to be a Fisker/McLaren dealership, and we still have a handful of never-sold Fisker Karmas that will hopefully be turned into Destinos. [2017 edit: they were all sold at auction]
I’ve seen a 919 up close before, but I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it. What an awesome looking race car.
At this point we meandered onto the main lawn to see the reason that most people show up early: to be part of the so-called “Dawn Patrol” where people watch cars roll in to the show.
Good luck trying to get in the front row!
I poked my camera through right as this Iso Grifo rolled by.
Some cars had been parked overnight, and many were still under cover at this early hour.
I wonder if there’s any chance of moisture building up in a plastic cover like this? Well, I’m sure someone who owns a car like this has it sorted out.
Rumble seat! And check out the McLaren Centre in the background, which I’ll get to shortly.
There was a big gathering for the 50th anniversary of the first GT40 win at Le Mans, and so many types of GT40s were present, each one with a different look:
Another featured marque was the Delahaye, and there were many beautiful examples.
Can you imagine driving a car like that, then or now? I can’t imagine a time or a place where a car like this wouldn’t make a splash.
When the show is in full swing, the cars are usually closed up unless they’re being judged. Getting there early lets you see the owners and caretakers still doing a bit of prep, which lets you poke around a bit.
Gotta get that last spec of dust off! Although, with the amount of salty mist blowing over the cars at that hour, I wondered how these guys can stay sane.
Although, there’s a certain amount of insanity built in to Pebble Beach. This guy was cleaning the tread on this Ferrari with a toothbrush.
But that’s okay, simply because it is Pebble Beach. Everything is immaculate, no matter the age.
It seems like most cars are about the same size today, but back in the day before bumper height regulations and all that, cars were all different sizes. Like this tiny, impossibly low Miura.
To this imposing Avions-Voisin.
What a crazy cool interior; there’s something alluring about gauges and switches everywhere.
This is a car that makes it worth waking up in the morning: a Ferrari 330 P4 Drogo Spyder. Wow.
A little out of focus, but oh well.
Gotta love the little “mail slot” for the spare tire!
Who needs a license plate when you can just stencil on the numbers? Okay, we’ll have to come back to this one.
Another epic racing Ferrari, this time a 1956 290 MM Scaglietti Spyder.
Whatever happened to round lights and rounded grilles? Everything is all swoopy and angular now.
A much later model (1947) Delahaye, showing off its suicide door arrangement.
On a Camry or Jetta, you would be disgusted by this color.
But on a 250 GT? Ohmygawd. It’s incredible.
One thing I’m regretting is not taking enough detail shots. I think I was overly worried about the details getting lost in the mix and then not being able to remember what car it was from.
From phones to DSLR’s to gimbals to beefy RED setups, I saw so many types of image capturing devices. I think it’s a safe bet to say that every successive Pebble Beach Concours sets a new record for most photographs taken.
I guess this is an example of my fear coming to life: this is a lovely Ferrari interior, but I have no idea what car it belongs to!
The old BMW Art Cars are always interesting, because they’re just so damn sloppy. But in an endearing way.
Despite it being BMW’s 100 year anniversary, it didn’t seem like there were many BMW’s.
This 3.0CSL “Batmobile” was one of only two E9’s at the show.
This race car was the other one, and apparently they install and remove the front air dam before moving the car around. On another note, it was really weird to see the E92 race car, as it was by far the newest vehicle on the lawn.
Taking it the other direction is my favorite class: Preservation. Added in 2001, this class is for original and unrestored cars.
This is a 1913 Mercer Model 35 J Raceabout. I don’t know too much about these cars, but I believe the “Raceabout” was the car for someone who wanted who wanted to race the car. Just remove the lights and fenders, and it’s ready for the track.
But this 1902 Thomas Model 17 makes the Mercer look positively late model. Just look at those tires!
And these lights: the patented “Neverout” lamps!
My theory is that any car with “Special” in its name is automatically badass.
This class, consisting of Indy 500 cars from the days when a mechanic rode with the driver, had quite a few different Specials.
Like this 1930 Duesenberg Special. Wow!
Ah, the days before aerodynamics. This 1935 “Ford V-8 Miller special” had some really beautiful lines, penned in the days when aerodynamics were hardly understood or even thought about.
Such is the craziness of Pebble Beach that people will even touch up minor nicks on their exhaust manifolds.
At this point, we decided to enter the McLaren Centre and take a look around before it opened.
The first thing we saw was this re-bodied P1. It does look a bit chocolate brown from this distance and under the clouds…
…but up close you could see that it was actually tinted Volcano Orange!
I still think it looks pretty badass in brown though.
Inside, we found this: the new 570S GT4. Intended to compete in any racing series that runs to GT4 class rules, or just as a track toy, these cars are detuned from the road versions but will still turn faster laps due to slick tires and the added aero.
And then this guy turned up! It was about 6:30 AM, and we chatted for only a couple minutes before he headed straight for the couches to chill out. I think he was just looking for a place to sit down! Coincidentally, right as we left he decided to leave right behind us, so we had to grab a photo.
Yup. Phone time. Society will never pull itself out of the technological rabbit hole we’ve fallen into, so I suppose we might as well embrace it.
At this point we were back on the concept lawn, and it seems like people had finally arrived for work as all the cars had been uncovered.
I really fell in love with this BMW 2002 Hommage concept, which looks even cooler in person than the photos I’d seen online.
Ah well, at least the build quality of the new VLF body pieces matches what was on the original Fiskers.
At this point my coworkers were now officially planted next to the Destino, but I was free to roam.
By this point, you could say the event was in full swing. Unfortunately the heavy marine layer made everything look a bit dull, but the event was as vibrant as could be otherwise.
I only managed to get one snap of this 356! It seemed like every time I walked by there was a crowd around it.
The Bizzarrini section was filled with incredible cars.
This Iso Grifo is owned by Bruce Meyer, and in fact, I think that’s him in this photo.
Another 1-of-1, this Bizzarrini “Manta” concept.
This is one of the very few cars in history that seats 3 across with the driver in the middle.
The dealership where I work belongs to a dealership group owned by a true car enthusiast. Among his collection is this lovely 275GTB/4, which took home third place in its class.
At this point it was becoming a back and forth scramble; I kept walking back and forth and discovering new things on each pass.
I was back on the concept lawn, quite literally. I was one of the special few who got to stand on the inside area.
But hey, that’s my job: I was there to capture McLarens.
Out of all the things that could be called “car porn”, I really think this is among the raunchiest things out there. The carbon fiber that reflects the exhaust really is pure pornography.
On the flip side, we have the shock value of Lamborghini.
The Lincoln Navigator concept was extremely impressive, albeit impractical.
One huge side door? Looks cool at least!
You think big wheels are a modern phenomenon? No way. Wheels used to be huge in the early days.
That McLaren Centre was 100% temporary, and made me want to come back on an average day during the year to see what this place normally looks like.
Delahaye was founded in the 1890s and survived until the 50s; this is a 1902.
Now that the McLaren Centre was open, it was hopping. If you look closely, you can spot Frank Stephenson on the right.
The inside of McLaren’s race cars are all business; I love the raised center console on this 570S GT4.
I walked by this subtle Acura a few times.
But then I noticed the front end.
Now that’s intricate.
How about that Hot Rod Lincoln?
Apparently, this 1901 Panhard was the first FR car in the world.
And check out this sweet spigot on the radiator.
This Pierce-Arrow initially caught my eye because of its interesting greenhouse, but then I looked inside.
It’s like a living room in there! It’s also interesting to see cars that are right hand drive, but also right hand shift. Kind of legitimatizes the left-hand-drive layout as “correct” in my opinion; most people prefer to shift with their dominant (right) hand.
Okay, that’s as far as I got–for now. Even after that, there are still plenty of photos to share, so I’ll write up a post for them as well.
Nine minutes thirty-seven seconds later…
The Wolf arrived to pick me up.
Please un-blur that plate, that’s not my mom in that Integra Type R. Seriously, the woman driving this ITR was at least 50 years old.
Head height in an NSX? About the door handle height of a normal car.
Suburban Northern California; it’s a nice place to be.
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