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Pebble Beach Hosts World’s Greatest Car Show

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Pebble Concours 2015 winner Picmonkey 2015's Best of Show, the 1924 Isotta Fraschini

By Dan Clarke

June 28, 2016 – Even though the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is still nearly two months away, a heads-up may be timely. Car buffs not terribly deeply-pocketed may need time to adjust their budgets.

Admission to this most prestigious of automotive events will cost you $325 if you purchase in advance. Buy your ticket on the day of the show and the price will be $375. For this kind of money you will get to inspect the entries while roaming Pebble’s 18th fairway along beautiful Carmel Bay. That’s cheaper than getting there as a golfer—green fees are $495 and you must also stay two nights at one of the Pebble Beach hotels (rack rates $600-$700 per night) to be allowed to book a tee time. But just as Pebble Beach is not your local muni course, its Concours d’Elegance is not a Show-and-Shine set in a shopping center parking lot. If you’re the best you deserve to be able to name your price. Besides, admissions to Pebble’s Concours help contribute more than a million dollars each year to local charities.

Pebble car on Bixby Bridge PicmonkeyTour crosses Bixby Bridge on Coast HwyThere are several days of related events leading up to Sunday’s glorious culmination and some of them are accessible by the public at absolutely no charge. First of these is the Carmel-by-the-Sea Concours on the Avenue. Take a walk in nearby Carmel on Tuesday (a pleasant diversion on any day) and you’ll see some of the world’s most gorgeous cars parked along Ocean Avenue. Two days later many of the entrants in Sunday’s Concours d’Elegance will participate in the “Tour d’Elegance.” They’ll earn extra credit for proving their roadworthiness—no slight accomplishment for some of those vehicles upwards of 100-years old. Find a good and safe spot by the side of the road and you’ll find that the show will come to you.

Other events can be interesting, too. Companies like RM Sotheby’s, Mecum and Gooding will be auctioning exotic automobilia. Attendance could get spendy if you have a bidder’s paddle in hand, but just hanging out might allow you to imagine what it would be like to have one of those beauties in your own garage.

So there are many ways to experience this automobile nirvana on the Monterey Peninsula. All are worthwhile, but being part of the sometimes glamorous crowd on Sunday may be the acme. Catching a glimpse of racing legend Phil Hill some years ago was priceless. Car builder and customizer George Barris browsed the display of automobile art next to me on another occasion. I didn’t run into Jay Gatsby, but as I was getting a beer at an outdoor stand near the 18th green Jay Leno walked by. His Bugatti Atlantic parked on the grass nearby was part of a contingent of these museum-worthy vehicles one year. England’s greatest racing driver Stirling Moss (now Sir  Stirling Moss) was there that day, too!

Pricey it is, but how else would you get a chance to rub elbows with automotive royalty?

Editor’s Note: More information is available at www.pebblebeachconcours.net