By John Lamm
If you equate older automobiles with quiet, solitude and inactivity, you don’t know the Revs Institute or the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. While the Revs Institute may be home to the 115-car Miles Collier Collections, it isn’t a static museum. No dusty derelicts. If there isn’t a car hauler out back to transport one automobile or six to another event, there will be soon.
In the same manner, the Pebble Beach Concours isn’t a staid classic car show, but a busy, bustling salute to fine automobiles. It starts at sunup with the early-rising Dawn Patrol crowd checking out cars as they roar onto the field. There are vehicles driving on and off the awards ramp all afternoon, which gives the crowds a chance to enjoy the machines on the move. And, as the event closes, many linger to watch the world’s most expensive traffic jam as the cars queue to depart the field.
This year, in addition to the pair of race cars competing at nearby WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, the Revs Institute sent three cars from the Miles Collier Collections to the Pebble Beach Concours.
The Revs trio on the show field included three cars that saw competition. Lance Reventlow’s 1958 Scarab race cars were famed for their on-track success, scoring national championships in 1959 and 1960. Revs’ Scarab, which is finished with Meister Brauser branding that promoted Peter Hand Brewery’s Meister Brau beer, was one of three Scarabs at Pebble. Another class had 16 Italian OSCAs, the famous small racers built by the Maserati brothers. All were beautiful, and possibly the most famous is the Revs example that won overall in the 1954 12 Hours of Sebring, driven by Stirling Moss and Bill Lloyd.
Not necessarily looking like a race car was the 1920 Cunningham V3. Though Cunningham (of Rochester, NY, not to be confused with Brigg Cunningham’s eponymous company from the 1950s) was best known for its high-priced automobiles and hearses, this example was used by Ralph De Palma to set several world speed records.
Then there were the other 215 cars on the show field spread across 28 varied classes. First came 11 1948 Tuckers, those symbols of Preston Tucker’s failed attempt to outdo Detroit. Next up, in stark contrast, were 12 “Motor Cars of the Raj,” hugely (literally) impressive Rolls-Royce, Bentley, Lancaster and more, nine of them shipped from India. After them? Special bodied examples of the Citroën DS, as well as an SM convertible.
Weaving your way through the crowd you might come across a multi-colored 1930 Ruxton, a red 1958 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa, or even, in what must be a first for Pebble Beach, a 1952 Studebaker Commander Starliner Coupe that was entered by Wayne Carini in the Postwar Preservation class. Spread out on the lawn behind The Lodge were automobiles from many U.S. states as well as Japan, the Netherlands, Canada, China, Switzerland, Germany, Hong Kong, Australia, Belgium, Israel, the UK and the Czech Republic. You almost needed a passport to walk the field.
The finale was, as always, the Best of Show award. Chosen from a trio of class winners, this year’s top prize went to Ginny and David Sydorick’s superb 1937 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Touring Berlinetta. And how could we not applaud that choice? One of the gems in Revs Collier collection is another Alfa 8C 2900B Touring Berlinetta.
Mike Ellis (left) and Pedro Vela in the Miles Collier Collections’ Scarab having just driven off the Pebble Beach awards ramp. Photo: John Lamm
Scarabs were the brainchild of 22-year-old Lance Reventlow, heir to a fortune and husband of actress Jill St. John. Reventlow wanted to beat the Europeans with a combination of Chevrolet V-8 horsepower and the genius of California hot rodders. Rules changes hindered this attempt, but the Scarabs proved to be fast and reliable. Photo: Johnny Miles
Reventlow’s Scarabs bested the Europeans at the 1958 Times Grand Prix at Riverside, California. Scarab driver Chuck Daigh beat Phil Hill and his Ferrari 412 MI. Photo: Johnny Miles
Revs’ Jon Arsenault with the OSCA as he lines up to enter the show field early Sunday following a Ford GT40. Photo: David Santiago
Of the many OSCAs on the field at Pebble, this could be the most famous and it comes from the Revs Institute’s Collier Collection. That fame came with an overall win in the 1954 12 Hours of Sebring at the hands of Stirling Moss and Bill Lloyd. Photo: Johnny Miles
The OSCA class line-up at the Pebble Beach Concours. There were 16 cars divided into two classes by age. The OSCAs were brought from around the country and the world, including Germany, Japan, Canada and Israel. Photo: David Santiago
Behind the grille of this 1920 Cunningham Series V3 from the Miles Collier Collections at the Revs Institute is a 441-cubic-inch 90-degree V-8 with 95 horsepower. At the time it was the largest V-8 engine in the U.S. and to some, Cunninghams were considered the U.S. equivalent of a Rolls-Royce. Photo: David Santiago
Ralph De Palma used this boat-tail 1920 Cunningham to set three world speed records, quite a departure for a conservative company also known for the quality of its hearses. Cunninghams were quite expensive, and popular with famous actors and actresses in Hollywood. Photo: Johnny Miles
To celebrate the work of Preston Tucker, the concours gathered 11 of his sedans from 1948, along with the 1947 prototype and a test chassis. Among the owners who sent cars were George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola, who directed the movie Tucker: The Man and His Dream. Photo: Johnny Miles
Indy champs. One class demonstrated the 1960s revolution that moved the engines in Indianapolis race cars from the nose to the tail. In the foreground is the Offy-powered Agajanian Willard Battery Watson Special that Parnelli Jones drove to win the 1963 Indy 500. Behind that is the Lotus 38-Ford in which Jimmy Clark won the 500 in 1965. Beyond that is a 1966 All American Racers Eagle Special. Photo: John Lamm
This is the 1946 Tucker Test Chassis #2. It has some features not found on the final car, like a 589-cubic inch six in back. Photo: John Lamm
There were two classes called Motor Cars of the Raj for which nine automobiles were brought from India and one from China. This impressive example is a 1927 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Windovers Limousine that was entered by His Highness Maharaja Gaj Singh of Marwar-Jodhpur. Photo: John Lamm
When the top three finishers in the 1960s Indianapolis 500 Revolution class were brought up on the awards ramp they were all started…no easy task with remote starters. Delightful noises. Here the driver celebrates winning the class in the 1965 Dean Van Lines Brawner Special Hawk 1. Photo: John Lamm
How about an excellent representation of American capitalism, the 1959 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Convertible that won, appropriately, the Eisenhower Era Dream Convertible class. Photo: John Lamm
Next up, and in marked contrast, is an excellent example of a Communist car, a 1965 Hong Qi CA72 that was brought to Pebble Beach from Chengdu, China. Photo: John Lamm
How often do you see a show car moving? But that’s what the 1970 Ferrari 512 S Modulo Pininfarina Coupe did to get on the awards ramp and take the Most Elegant Sports Car award named for famed designer Strother MacMinn. Photo: John Lamm
This unusual 1946 Fiat 1100C has a barchetta body by Frua. Photo: Johnny Miles
Before the Porsche Speedster, there was the 540 America. Built in small numbers by Heuer Gläser-Karosserie, it was, as you can guess, aimed at the U.S. market, but too expensive to build in numbers. The flat-4 had 1488 cc and was rated at 70 horsepower. Photo: John Lamm
An impressive lineup. There were only 10 NART Spyder versions of Ferrari’s 275 GTB and four were part of the automaker’s display at Pebble Beach. In addition, Ferrari revealed their newest convertible, the 488 Pista Spider, seen on the far left. Photo: Johnny Miles
Winner of the Postwar Custom Citroën class was this 1966 DS 21 Chapron Le Léman Coupé from Palm Beach. Photo: Johnny Miles
Consider a car called a 1921 Paige Model 6-66 “Daytona Speedster.” Now consider how vulnerable you would feel zipping along Daytona Beach sitting out there. No wonder it’s called a mother-in-law seat. Photo: John Lamm
All the way from the Czech Republic, the wonderful 1948 Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport Figoni Fastback Coupé. Note the little chrome pieces above the center light. They were added because the original owner, a Mr. Fayolle, was known as the ‘Zipper King.’ Photo: John Lamm
The most delightfully imposing automobile at Pebble Beach was this 1937 Series 90 Cadillac Hartman Cabriolet from the Patterson Collection in Louisville. It won the Gwenn Graham Most Elegant Convertible class. Photo: Johnny Miles
In a tribute to important Japanese cars, Infiniti created a display that included Isuzus, Mazdas, Nissans, Hondas and Toyotas. Considering Nissan’s involvement at the race track, this could be the year of ascendancy for Japanese cars during the Monterey Car Week. Photo: John Lamm
Likely the king of the concept lawn was Mercedes-Benz’ EQ Silver Arrow, which pays homage to the W125 streamliner from 1937. Keeping up with the times, this Mercedes is powered by an electric motor with some 738 horsepower, has a range of 250 miles and a body done in carbon fiber. Photo: John Lamm
The tension mounts. The three cars being considered for Best of Show await the announcement, their owners likely perspiring a bit. From the left, the 1948 Talbot-Lago T26 Grand Sport Figoni Fastback Coupé from the Czech Republic, a 1929 Duesenberg J Murphy Town Limousine brought from Florida and the winning Alfa Romeo from Beverly Hills. Photo: John Lamm
The annual tinsel snowfall on the Best of Show winner. This year it was Ginny and David Sydorick’s 1937 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Touring Berlinetta. This Alfa is built on the long-wheelbase “Lungo” chassis and was shown at the 1938 Berlin Motor Show. Photo: John Lamm
It’s difficult to get a head count at the Pebble Beach Concours, but as this photo demonstrates there are a great number of enthusiasts on the lawn behind The Lodge on Sunday. Photo: John Lamm
Time to head back to Florida. Sunday night and the Miles Collier Collections’ Scarab and OSCA wait to be loaded on a car hauler. Photo: Johnny Miles
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John Lamm started his automotive journalism career in 1965 as a racing photographer for Autoweek magazine. After a tour in Vietnam, he joined Motor Trend in 1969, then Road & Track in 1975, where he worked for 37 years. He has also written for Car and Driver and Automobile magazines. Credits include 10 books and Lamm has been honored with the International Motor Press Association’s Ken Purdy and the Motor Press Guild’s Dean Batchelor awards for writing. Lamm’s photo archives include hundreds of thousands of images ranging from an 1893 Benz Victoria to many of the latest automobiles. He is on the organizing committee for the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion and been a judge at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance for two decades. Lamm lives in San Clemente, California with his wife, Scheri.