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In Search of the Best: 2011 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance

"Great people...and the best cars in the world."

by on Aug.22, 2011

Peter Mullins' Voisin Aerodyn takes Best-in-Show.

Parked on the lawn, the motor of his 1934 Avian Voisin C-25 Aerodyne idling, Peter Mullin had no idea what to expect.  The next couple minutes might bring the biggest surprise of his life or the biggest disappointment.

There was no question he’d delivered a showstopper with the French sedan he’d entered into the annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.  It took a full three years to restore the Voisin – “And I had already been planning it for seven years,” he recalled.  But there were two other striking examples of pre-war automotive elegance sitting alongside, anyone of which might grab the most coveted trophy in the world of classic cars.

Suddenly, like angels calling, the trumpets began their fanfare, fireworks bursting into the air as Mullin got the signal he was hoping for.  Yet it wasn’t until he had the Aerodyne parked on the center stage that the long-time collector finally allowed the reality to set in. After 30 years of trying, he had just won the Concours’ Best-in-Show.

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“I just can’t believe it,” Mullins repeated, still in shock, confetti now covering the dark grey and black Voisin, which was one of only six C-25s built by French aeronautical pioneer Gabriel Voisin after he decided to switch to automotive manufacturing in the wake of World War I.  “I thought I’d finished third.  This is the most rewarding thing that ever happened to me in the car world,” said Mullin.


The Beginning of the End: The ’40 Ford

When America marched off to war, the ’40 Ford was waiting on the home front.

by on Jul.18, 2011

One of the most influential cars of its era, the 1940 Ford, is subject of a new book.

In the dark days before America was plunged into war, the nation’s smokestacks were finally beginning to belch smoke again, and nowhere was that more apparent than in Detroit, the auto industry finally ramping up after more than a decade of the Great Depression.

It was an era of grand transformation as automakers began experimenting with more powerful engines, automatic transmissions, air conditioning and streamlined, often art deco styling. Some of the most striking designs emerged from the studios of Ford Motor Co.

Yet few knew that the ’40 Ford, in particular, would mark the beginning of the end. Not long after its introduction, the Japanese raid on Pearl Harbor would send the nation into full conversion to wartime manufacturing. And, for many enlistees and draftees heading off to war, a ’40 Ford was the car they would dream about owning once they finally returned home. Film fans may recall that Actor John Payne was driving a ’40 Ford coupe in the closing scenes of 1947′s “Miracle on 34th Street.”

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Now Detroit Author Joe Cabadas—“in cooperation with The Henry Ford”— gives us a close look at the era leading up to the ’40 Ford in a new “coffee table” type book aimed at Ford enthusiasts in particular and automotive historians generally. The somewhat short-changing title is ’40 Ford, a label dictated by publisher Motorbooks.

In case you’re not familiar with the name, The Henry Ford, it’s the new handle for the long-known number one tourist attraction in Michigan, Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village.


Pebble Beach Concours Pits Millionaires Against The Billionaires

Classic car show a Woodstock for the upper class.

by on Aug.16, 2010

This 1933 Delage D8S De Villars Roadster from the Patterson Collection took Best-of-Show honors at the 2010 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

Bill Tanner was at a rare loss for words.  He was running down a list of his car collection and got through the Bentleys, the Ferraris and the new Mercedes-Benz SLS.  But he couldn’t quite remember what the rest of them were.  So goes life when you’ve got some of the most exclusive automobiles in the world vying for space in your 14-car garage.

The Los Angeles investor was just one of the many affluent car collectors gathered in Pebble Beach, the tony Central California community, over the weekend, for the annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, an event generally conceded to be the most elegant and exclusive classic car show in the world.

A Classic!

Celebrating its 60th anniversary, the Concours was crowded with more than 180 rare collector cars, hot rods, motorcycles and even some historic camper trailers, all competing for the Best-in-Show award that can turn the rare automobile into one of the world’s most sought-after and expensive vehicles.