Pebble Beach: The noblest classic car meeting suffocates on itself

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The noblest classic car meeting suffocates on itself

Pebble Beach: The noblest classic car meeting suffocates on itself-beach

Lots of highly polished automotive heritage is on the posh golf course in Pebble Beach. But the event is suffering from increasing commercialism

Source: Thomas Geiger

Because of oldtimers! The Concours in Pebble Beach is no longer just about valuable classics. More and more car manufacturers prefer this beautiful backdrop to the boring exhibition halls.

W.Unfortunately, e have to stay outside. New cars have lost nothing on the last hole in front of the Pebble Beach Lodge, and even the officially invited design studies don’t make it further than the putting green.

Because even if many classics at the Concours d’Elegance look newer than factory goods, they need a long and eventful history to be able to compete in the world’s most famous classic car show.

All around, however, it looks very different. Because the richest car freaks also come to the noble peninsula two hours south of San Francisco with the noblest classics, the horsepower industry is doing big there.

Pebble Beach: The noblest classic car meeting suffocates on itself-beach

In Pebble Beach there are vintage cars that you would otherwise not get to see. For some viewers, however, it is more about being seen than marveling at the classics

Source: Thomas Geiger

With caviar and champagne, they present their finest sports cars and luxury limousines on the golf courses all around, reveal rare small series or look into the future.

So the Monterey Car Week becomes a kind of luxury old-timer IAA, for whose tickets you have to pay 600 dollars at the Quail Lodge.

Every year more visitors come, the traffic jams in the triangle between the racetrack of Laguna Seca and the Carmel Valley with golf courses like The Quail and the otherwise quiet billionaire exclave Pebble Beach are getting longer and longer.

Cursing in the most expensive traffic jam in the world

But apart from a few prevented golfers, nobody cares. On the contrary: A million dollar Rolls-Royce next to a rusty AMC Pacer, Bugatti and BMW in perfect harmony – there are people who stand for hours on 17-Mile Drive and do nothing but look at cars.

And in the hopelessly overcrowded parking lots at the individual events, more money is gathered than the affluent community of Carmel will ever have in its budget. Only men like James are starting to find the circus a bit excessive.

He drives the hotel shuttle, usually only has a few quiet golfers on board and these days a heart rate of 180. “I can’t keep up the hustle and bustle for much longer,” says the man in his mid-fifties, cursing himself in what is probably the most expensive traffic jam in the world.

Pebble Beach: The noblest classic car meeting suffocates on itself-classic

A ticket to Pebble Beach costs up to $ 600. In return, the visitors are also offered a lot of exclusive items

Source: Thomas Geiger

Finding bigger seats seems to be one of the main problems during Monterey Car Week. Because every single event seems to be bursting at the seams.

The “Legends of the Autobahn” festival, for example, to which hundreds of German import models from all over the USA travel, has meanwhile become so big that the Porsche Club has pulled out again and is cooking its own soup.

Classics are auctioned every minute

On The Quail, the search for a parking space ends in the billionaires’ front gardens, the lodge is so full. And around the central golf course of Pebble Beach a tent city is growing, against which the Oktoberfest in Munich is a village fair.

In piecework, auction houses auction off valuable cars for days. Because while some proudly present their treasures, others are expanding their collections. Classics and those that want to become one are auctioned every minute at a dozen auctions.

More than 1200 cars go under the hammer, and almost half a billion dollars are turned over, that has determined the classic insurance Hagerty. But here, too, Pebble Beach seems to slowly suffocate from its own size, the tents are getting bigger, the lists of bidders are getting longer.

Pebble Beach: The noblest classic car meeting suffocates on itself-noblest

One of the most beautiful events of the Monterey Car Weel is the festival "Legends of the Autobahn", in which the BMW parliamentary group is particularly well represented

Source: Thomas Geiger

RM auctioneer Ian Kelleher is pleased that many younger collectors are coming and that for the first time you can see a significant number of Chinese in the halls. But the auctions themselves are rather sluggish, and the joy of record sales such as the 12.5 million US dollars for Shelby’s first Cobra or the 21 million US dollars for the winning Jaguar from Le Mans from 1955 is subdued.

Even if the price of the Jaguar D-Type was pushed up by the millions, many experts had expected higher prices. And at Goodings it looked no different the next day.

Automakers prefer Pebble Beach to trade shows

The really big rally of records, says Kelleher, is apparently over for the time being, and the market remains at a high level. Or maybe the selection is simply too big.

Hagerty spokesman Jonathan Klinger shares this impression: Bidding beyond the “best of the best” category was slow, and sales rates were the lowest since 2000. It seems that buyers are no longer paying for profits they are still making have to.

Pebble Beach: The noblest classic car meeting suffocates on itself-classic

More than 1,200 cars are going under the hammer in Pebble Beach, and nearly half a billion dollars in sales

Source: Thomas Geiger

In addition to the collectors and auctioneers, it is above all the car manufacturers who are making the event grow. They prefer to present their classy innovations in Pebble Beach rather than later at the Paris Motor Show.

Literally the biggest wheel turns Mercedes – as the "inventor of the car" traditionally one of the main actors in Pebble Beach. At the start of the Concours, head of design Gorden Wagener unveiled the Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6 study – an almost six-meter-long gullwing in a streamliner design with 24-inch wheels powered by four 750-hp electric motors.

The luxurious super sports car represents the emancipation of the Maybach brand, the relaunch of which apparently turned out to be a success in the second attempt. But no one at Daimler stirs up hope for series production.

The special thing about the Maybach: It has a steering wheel

Still, the high-flyer is an interesting car. Also because it is an alternative to the bizarre Vision Next 100, which Rolls-Royce recently presented to its parent company BMW for its 100th birthday.

In similar segments at home, both electrically powered and both autonomous, the Swabian coupe not only looks more pleasing than the one from England. It also has one component ahead of the Rolls-Royce that is likely to be particularly important to car enthusiasts in Pebble Beach: the steering wheel.

“In a world full of autonomous cars, at some point it will be true luxury if you can actually drive yourself,” says Wagener, justifying this future anachronism.

Pebble Beach: The noblest classic car meeting suffocates on itself-suffocates

Classic cars for tens of millions, luxury sedans on every street corner and the most expensive super sports cars in the world – however, the star of Pebble Beach 2016 is a new dimensionybach coupe from Stuttgart

Source: Daimler

Mercedes does not look to the future alone at the classic car meeting. Cadillac and BMW also unveiled two studies at the Concours weekend, which, however, are much more grounded and realistic.

The 5.35-meter-long Escala coupe sedan could soon become an American competitor for the Mercedes CLS, Audi A7 or Porsche Panamera, and the BMW Turbo Master not only pays homage to the 2002 turbo racing cars from the early 1970s, but also applies as a blueprint for a possible M2 GTS.

Expensive small series today, valuable classics tomorrow

These three studies culminate a development that has been emerging for years: the increasing commercialization of the Concours. "With their marketing and classic car budgets, vehicle manufacturers are increasingly pushing for classic events," says Dietrich Hatlapa, who has developed a benchmark for the classic scene with the HAGI market index.

“They suggest that their new cars are also classy, ‚Äč‚Äčelegant and valuable and represent a good investment.” According to the message, what is an expensive small series today could be a valuable classic tomorrow.

However, this wish does not always come true, warns Hatlapa: “Because the luxury sector has been flooded with models in recent years. And only very few of them will experience huge increases in value. "

Pebble Beach: The noblest classic car meeting suffocates on itself-classic

Thanks to the orange and black Turbomeister stickers, the BMW 2002 Hommage study looks like a new car on its second public appearance. And with a little luck it will be the retro raceit will be shown in completely different colors in the future

Source: Thomas Geiger

This is one of the reasons why the exact production figures are often concealed in the meantime. "Because the more copies there are of a model, the less its value will skyrocket," says the expert.

For now, however, the automakers in Pebble Beach are doing good business: the Lamborghini Centenario Roadster was sold out when it was unveiled, Bugatti’s Chief Marketing Officer Stefan Brungs estimates The Quail alone has a dozen purchase contracts and configurations, and a millionaire at Mercedes as well asks again and again whether one the Maybach vision could not possibly buy after all.

The panorama is simply better than at the IAA

Money sits looser in Pebble Beach than anywhere else, says Hatlapa. First, because more wealthy people come to such events than to normal auto shows. And secondly, because the mood is more relaxed, the atmosphere more pleasant and the panorama better than at the IAA or the Geneva Motor Show. "What is an exhibition hall against the Monterey peninsula?"

However, market watcher Hatlapa has no problem with the idiosyncratic mix of classic and commercial: "The Concorsi have always had a commercial ulterior motive."

And that’s okay: "Because if the manufacturers get involved here, then the classic car fans can also be happy: More cars will be shown, there will be more to see, and in the end more classic cars will be obtained."

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