The Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance starts off more like a parade, as the cars pass by the front of The Lodge where it Concours d’Elegance would take place on Sunday. Many of the cars on the Tour would be on display then, and would be judged for points. To win a trophy at Pebble is considered the ultimate prize in the Classic Car world, and a car’s participation in the tour can decide the win if there is a tie. Winding our way around parts of the 17-mile drive and onto the back roads of Carmel it becomes obvious that Simplex cars are powerful. With its huge engine, brass gauges, and dual-chain drive, menacing sound and imposing stature, it looks like something out of a Jules Vern novel. As we roar along the scenic tour route, it is hard to believe this car is 100 years old. But this is hilly 60-mile jaunt is a mere stretch of the legs for this 1914 machine. This car was recently driven down from Washington State, and before that, completed a tour from the East Coast.
A new addition to the tour this year is a lap around the historic Laguna Seca racetrack. There are some vintage sports and racing cars on the tour, and a few of them zipped by us on the track. A V-16 Cadillac to my left, a Duesenberg to my right, just another day in California traffic….what an incredible sight.
Next we worked our way down the coast on Highway 1 to Big Sur. The perfect weather enhanced one of the most beautiful roads on earth. What could be better? Ah yes, fill the road with priceless classic cars! Spectacular vistas and a photographer around every bend, this was truly heaven. The tour made a U-turn in Big Sur and started back to Carmel for lunch. As we entered Carmel, more and more people lined the streets. Soon people where shoulder to shoulder lining the tour route, jockeying for positions to take photos. Many were clapping, with the early brass-era cars receiving a lot of applause. All four lanes of Ocean Avenue in Downtown Carmel were reserved for the tour cars to park, and soon the street was filled with classic cars and people. As car the owners retreated to a nearby park for lunch, a sea of humanity surges in to view the cars up close. This was a rare chance to see some of the most rarest and valuable cars on the planet. After lunch it was just a short ride back to the finish-line where we started. A ride on the Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance: another bucket list item checked off my list.
Get the full story in PART ONE of this article