It’s been a couple of nail-biting weeks for Jeff Lotman. The Los Angeles car collector has been waiting three years to see the final results of the costly, ground-up restoration of his 1957 BMW 507 Roadster. He might have been fine with the wait if he hadn’t entered the groundbreaking two-seater into the annual Pebble Beach Councours d’Elegance.
There are collectors who wait years to get an invitation to exhibit on the lawn of the Lodge at Pebble Beach, something Lotman described as “the pinnacle” for “a car guy.” And he’s not alone. A select group of 275 rare and unusual automobiles were on display this weekend, more than a few just barely making it after restorations that could take years and, in some cases cost more than $1 million to complete.
These days, there are dozens of significant classic car shows around the U.S. Indeed, more than a million people gathered in the suburbs of Detroit over the weekend for the annual Woodward Dream Cruise, an homage to the era of hot rods and muscle cars. But no event quite matches the grandeur – or celebrity of the Pebble Beach Concours, an event that boasts a mix of four-wheeled and two-legged celebrities that routinely includes the likes of actor Jerry Seinfeld and TV talk show host Jay Leno, the latter visible seemingly everywhere shaking hands with fans and taping scenes for his own collector car program.