1933 Delage Wins Best of Show at Pebble BeachBy JERRY GARRETT
MONTEREY, Calif. — A week of intense automobile worship on the Monterey Peninsula concluded with more than $100 million worth of classic cars changing hands at auctions, several new models being introduced by manufacturers and a 1933 Delage winning the coveted title as Best of Show.
The Delage’s distinction came at the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Élégance on Sunday, against a field of more than 200 exquisitely presented classic autos — and it was something of an upset because this vehicle was painted white.
“A white car has never won at Pebble Beach,” said the vehicle’s owner, Jim Patterson, of a streak extending back some six decades at this, the world’s premier automotive beauty contest.
Mr. Patterson, of Louisville, Ky., had acquired the Delage, a D8S Roadster with coachwork by the custom builder De Villars, at a Pebble Beach auction in 2007 for $3.74 million. He had it meticulously restored to its original condition, which was as a Delage debutante at the 1934 Paris motor show.
The auctions at Pebble Beach are, along with the swank concours, among the signature events in a week that includes more than 50. Several auction companies, including Gooding & Company, RM Auctions, Russo & Steele andBonhams & Butterfields, held high-dollar events.
The Gooding auction alone sold more than $64 million worth of classics in two star-studded nights of bidding. (Celebrity sightings included Jay Leno, Bill Murray and Patrick Dempsey.)
The biggest sale of the weekend was $7.26 million paid for a 1959 Ferrari 250 GT long-wheelbase California Spider Competizione at the Gooding auction. However, a bid of $10.7 million for a 1958 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa, at the RM auction, was spurned by its seller. Each of the Ferraris had earned acclaim in their past lives as winning racecars.
Fittingly, the weekend also included a slate of racing events, in actual classics, at the Monterey Historics event at nearby Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The earnestness with which these classics are put through their paces was illustrated by a fearsome crash on Saturday involving a veteran driver, John Morton. Mr. Morton was uninjured, but his one-of-a-kind 1958 Scarab was destroyed in the rollover accident.
Manufacturers also use the concours weekend to unveil special limited-edition models. Jaguar, Aston Martin and Bentley were among those seizing on the opportunity to do so this year. An example was the Jaguar XK175, which is limited to 175 copies. It is also so designated because of its reported top speed of 174 miles per hour. Yes, that’s not the same as 175, but Richard Beattie, executive vice president of Jaguar North America, said the company’s legal department had insisted on the discrepancy for undisclosed reasons.
Finally, the weekend was also a chance for the automobile world’s counterculture to be heard. And at the second annual Concours d’Lemons, haters of some of the worst autos ever produced assembled at a park well outside the city limits to crown a shortened 1958 Volkswagen Microbus, owned by Donna and Frank Atkinson of Atascadero, Calif., as Worst of Show.
1933 Delage Wins Best of Show at Pebble Beach - NYTimes.com