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Only the Most Elite: Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance

Fielding a classic requires, patience, love – and lots of money.

by on Aug.17, 2015

Jim Patterson drives his 1924 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A across the stage to take best-in-show honors at the 2015 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

Champagne and a flurry of confetti put the cap on a weekend of festivities wrapped around the 2015 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

More than 20,000 classic car fans crowded onto the greens outside the tony Lodge at Pebble Beach Sunday to check out a gathering of 220 of the world’s rarest and most desirable automobiles, a collection pulled together from 15 countries.

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“I’m a little bit overcome, and a little bit emotional,” said Jim Patterson, the owner of the 1924 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A that took honors as best-in-show. “In this business, if you win at Pebble Beach, you’ve done the ultimate. Nothing else compares.”


Picking the Best-of-the-Best at Pebble Beach

Rare win for an American classic at Concours d’Elegance.

by on Aug.19, 2013

A 1934 Packard 1108 Twelve Dietrich Convertible Victoria owned by Joseph and Margie Cassini of West Orange, NJ takes honors as the winner of the 2013 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. Photo Courtesy Autoblog.

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.

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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.


Basking in the Glory: the Amelia Island Concours

No “trailer queens” here, please.

by on Mar.17, 2011

A rare barn find, a 1950 Allard J2 Le Mans.

A chill breeze whips through the pre-dawn darkness, an out-of-tune generator noisily providing the power for the sole spotlight marking the start of the “Dawn Patrol.”  Passing cups of coffee and sharing old war stories, folks like Hans Wurl and Jeff Orwig wait for the signal that will begin the day’s events.

“Go, go, go,” shouts the woman in the day-glo vest, waving her yellow flag as if chasing away a swarm of hornets.  Within seconds, a score of ancient engines have fired up, a 1937 Duesenberg Town Car Cabriolet leading the procession down onto the field.

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By the time the sun has risen high enough to boil the dew off the beach grass, most of the old machines have taken their places, the majority getting there under their own power – “trailer queens” not being favored here.  But a few must be towed to their spots on the manicured golf course greens, like Don Prudhomme’s impossibly long old rail dragster.


Pink Floyd’s Mason Betting on Car Fund

Investment fund focusing on sheet metal rather than stocks and bond.

by on Jan.27, 2011

A Ferrari Enzo owned by Pink Floyd's Nick Mason.

Nick Mason has always been good at banging on the skins, but now he wants to drum up some business through an unusual investment fund betting on the prospects of classic cars.

The drummer for the rock band Pink Floyd, Mason has signed onto the advisory board of IGA Automobile, which intends to invest $150 million on the world’s finest automobiles.  The group believes that it can yield annual returns of 15%, a figure not entirely off-the-wall considering what has happened in the collector car market, over the years.

Indeed, with the economy recovering there are signs that high-value auto collectors are looking to upgrade their garages.  Though it fell short of an all-time record, the annual Barrett-Jackson Auction, held in Scottsdale, AZ, last week, generated $70 million in sales, well ahead of 2010’s weak performance.

The IGA Automobile fund, which went into operation this month, is being described by director Nick Lancaster as “the first classic car fund that’s purely for financial returns, rather than passion.”