Pebble Beach Concours 2019

Pebble Beach 2019
Style and Glamour

I’ve always maintained that an individual with negligible interest in automobiles will be captivated in some manner or another while strolling the lawn among the breathtaking display of motoring history that is the Pebble Beach Concours. And this year I was able to test this notion.

My girlfriend, confidant and partner for the SF Ballet and museums from San Francisco to Paris, agreed to accompany me to this year’s show. She has generally no interest in cars other than that her Volvo V60 is clean and delivers her comfortably to where ever her travels take her. I was absolutely confident this artistically aware car show neophyte would love the scene.

 

Incongruous today, the recently recreated 1932 AVUS race winner’s aerodynamic design was state of the art in period. Manfred von Brauchitisch piloted the original car to victory on Avus’s high banks. A very important element of Mercedes-Benz’ current celebration of 125 years of Motor Racing success.

Automobiles as Art.

As we strolled onto the lawn her eyes widened at the glittering display of cars. We’d barely covered a class or two as she began to exhaust her phone’s battery shooting…well, just about everything; the fabulous hood/grille ornamentation, Lucite interior elements, mother of pearl dash finishes and de Portago’s 1954 Ferrari 735S Monza.

Flawless weather undoubtedly helped our experience and the compliments about her outfit and accessories put her mood over the top. Mercedes was blessed with a class of its own – Mercedes-Benz Prewar – and we were able to experience a diverse group that ranged from the minimalist bare aluminum 1932 SSKL Avus race winner painstakingly re-created by Mercedes-Benz Classic to the outrageously proportioned mauve 1936 540K Erdmann & Rossi Special Cabriolet.

This was a most unrestrained expression of sporting touring in the mid-’30s by Erdmann & Rossi. The coachwork firm erased many of the styling cues we associate with a Mercedes 540K by fitting coachwork of exaggerated proportions and excessive chrome sculpting. The ribbed full wheel covers further disguise MB’s traditional supercharged¬† roadster appearance. Decadently excessive in every detail.

We came upon an upright two-tone pea green Mercedes roadster fitted with what I would loosely describe a ‘skiff’ coachwork and a hood in turned-aluminum. In fact it was a very special 6 cylinder model K with special coachwork from Fleetwood, the Pennsylvania coach builder that was eventually absorbed by Fisher body. This 140 HP roadster was one of the fastest road cars of the day.

This 1936 540K Sport Cabriolet A looks positively sober compared the mauve 1936 Erdmann & Rossi Special Cabriolet.

The Mercedes Museum’s perfectly proportioned 1938 320 Combination Coupe. It has been reported that of the total production of about 12 cars, only 3 remain today. The hardtop is removable and a soft top could be fitted.

My Pebble Beach newcomer, Ms. Inna Edwards, enjoying the proceedings under perfect skies. While the 320 Combination Coupe caught her eye, I have to report that her favorite car on the lawn was the 1938 Talbot Lago T150C-SS Figoni Falaschi Teardrop Cabriolet. A woman of fine taste.

Until next Year

As we made our way out of the show against the growing wave of humanity flowing onto the lawn, I thought we should wander through the Ferrari display on Pebble’s first fairway before Ubering back to Carmel. Maybe I could show Inna a Ferrari 250GTO in the flesh. I’d seen WeatherTech founder David McNeal and his wife on their way to dinner through the Del Monte forest in their Series 1 GTO #4153 early Friday evening on my way home from Legends of the Autobahn.

I thought maybe the McNeal car would be in the Ferrari display. Sure enough, both the McNeal silver GTO and Tom Price’s red Series 1 #4757 were sitting side by side at the top of the display. What a treat and what a perfect ending to a flawless day exploring automotive excellence with an enthusiastic newcomer.

Parting shot from our day at Pebble Beach. Motor racing royalty: Ferrari 250GTO’s #4153 (silver) and #4757. A rare glimpse of two examples of arguably one the most compelling automobiles ever constructed.

roy spencer/editor mercedesheritage.com
photography/inna edwards-mercedesheritage.com

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