Monterey Car Week

10 Top Collector Cars We Can’t Keep Our Eyes Off

10 Top Collector Cars We Can’t Keep Our Eyes Off

Monterey Car Week‘s annual concours, the Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, always attracts a covey of automotive outliers in addition to more familiar fare in the world of collector cars. Last month’s event was no exception, as it proved a showcase not just for historic classics but also for cutting-edge concepts and even new production models from manufacturers aiming to put their star cars in front of enthusiasts fortunate enough to score a ticket to the exclusive expo.
Acclaimed photographer Scott Williamson—no stranger to the Robb Report audience since 2001, when his automotive portraits first appeared in the pages—joined us once again for an informal stroll around the field with a singular objective in mind: to argue, debate and then finally choose ten favorites we could agree on. While each selection is a concours specimen in its own right, a few of the cars were definitely unexpected while others were altogether unique. Some were wild, and some were subtle, likely to be overshadowed by the glitz and glamor of more famous, flamboyant models. Yet every one of them left an indelible impression.

From a 1963 Aston Martin to a 2020 Ford GT: The 10 Best Collector Cars at the This Year’s Quail Motorsports Gathering

From a 1963 Aston Martin to a 2020 Ford GT: The 10 Best Collector Cars at the This Year’s Quail Motorsports Gathering

Monterey Car Week‘s annual concours, the Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, always attracts a covey of automotive outliers in addition to more familiar fare in the world of collector cars. Last month’s event was no exception, as it proved a showcase not just for historic classics but also for cutting-edge concepts and even new production models from manufacturers aiming to put their star cars in front of enthusiasts fortunate enough to score a ticket to the exclusive expo.
Acclaimed photographer Scott Williamson—no stranger to the Robb Report audience since 2001, when his automotive portraits first appeared in the pages—joined us once again for an informal stroll around the field with a singular objective in mind: to argue, debate and then finally choose ten favorites we could agree on. While each selection is a concours specimen in its own right, a few of the cars were definitely unexpected while others were altogether unique. Some were wild, and some were subtle, likely to be overshadowed by the glitz and glamor of more famous, flamboyant models. Yet every one of them left an indelible impression.

Lincoln’s New Jaw-Dropping Concept Car Came from Design Students

Lincoln’s New Jaw-Dropping Concept Car Came from Design Students

Imagine a sleek coupe that whisks you away to a favorite place, projecting memories of past visits on expansive displays and playing music that evokes remembrances of the destination and people that matter most. That’s the concept behind Lincoln’s Anniversary concept, a project conceived by a team of students at Pasadena’s famed Art Center College of Design. But this one has a twist: Lincoln has turned the virtual proposal into a real-life show car, one that was debuted to the public at the Quail, a Motorsports Gathering, during Monterey Car Week.

It’s not uncommon for automakers to sponsor student competitions at well-known design schools, but full-sized models rarely get made. Project judges, including Ford president Jim Farley and Lincoln head of design Kemal Curic, said they were so impressed by the Anniversary car’s design and the emotional story behind it—a married couple celebrating their anniversary with the help of the futuristic sports car—that they wanted to bring it to life. “Watching them on screen, quite frankly, gave me goosebumps,” Curic says.

The Lincoln Anniversary concept car. 

Photo: Courtesy of Lincoln.

The Anniversary concept is one of four winning entries chosen by the Lincoln team earlier this summer. For the first time, Lincoln expanded the project to go beyond car design and included students and instructors from illustration, animation and film. “We wanted to open up the course and solicit visual storytellers to see what these future vehicles would look like,” says Jordan Meadows, global strategic design specialist for Lincoln and an assistant professor at Art Center. “The car is important, but just as important is the world that this car lives in,” notes Meadows, adding, “that really made a lot of sense because not only is Art Center a fantastic school for vehicle design, but it’s in the home of the entertainment industry near Los Angeles, and we have these storytellers, so we wanted to take advantage of those opportunities.”

Project judges included Ford president Jim Farley and Lincoln head of design Kemal Curic. 

Photo: Courtesy of Lincoln.

Teams were challenged to create a virtual presentation for what the marque would like in the year 2040, and were given two main sets of criteria: Communicating the Lincoln brand pillars of “quiet flight” and “beautiful-gliding-human-sanctuary,” as well as meeting the requirements of connected, autonomous, shared and electric (CASE) elements.

Student teams were challenged to create a virtual presentation that communicated the Lincoln brand pillars of “quiet flight” and “beautiful-gliding-human-sanctuary.” 

Photo: Courtesy of Lincoln.

Other winning entries include the Lincoln Glider sedan, which imagines solutions for a disabled person to get behind the wheel for the first time in years; a future family SUV with features such as touchscreen windows and a large moonroof fit for an astronaut; and a six-passenger luxury cruiser that imagines next-level autonomous driving while carrying a group of musicians in an interior that more closely resembles a well-appointed living room.

Another missive for the assignment was that the vehicle be connected, autonomous, shared and electric (CASE). 

Photo: Courtesy of Lincoln.

Projects like the Lincoln Anniversary aren’t just for show—they encourage and give a platform to young designers while providing a valuable pipeline to car companies searching for new talent. “We saw this as an opportunity to give back,” Meadows explains. “Yes, for brand exposure, but also for students to develop a relationship with a manufacturer and to develop their careers. And if there’s someone really talented and passionate, we want them to work for Ford.”

Learn more about Robb Report’s 2022 Car of the Year at the event taking place in Napa Valley here and in Boca Raton here.

Missed Monterey Car Week 2021? Here’s a Recap of the World’s Premiere Motor Fest

Missed Monterey Car Week 2021? Here’s a Recap of the World’s Premiere Motor Fest

If the veracity of the adage “absence makes the heart grow fonder” was ever in question, all doubt was removed over the course of roughly 10 days this month—at least when it comes to motoring enthusiasts. After the automotive world’s hallmark confluence in Northern California was garaged last year due to the pandemic, the industry’s glitterati, esteemed collectors and admirers of every age seemed determined that the 2021 edition of Monterey Car Week would not only see the light of day, but shine as bright as ever.

Alone as far as prominence on the global stage when it comes to a celebration of automobiles, the series of exhibitions, historics racing, concours and auctions started as a single-day car show scheduled to complement the Pebble Beach Road Race in 1950. Although the latter went idle after 1956, the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance continued strong and began inspiring related events which, like celestial bodies to the sun, were drawn into orbit around the greater luminary, Pebble.

A crowd gathers to catch a glimpse of the awards ceremony at the 2021 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. 

Photo by Tom O’Neal, courtesy of Rolex.

The Role of Rolex
As storied as Monterey Car Week itself, so too is one of its primary supporters, Rolex. The watchmaker long synonymous with success is the namesake sponsor of the historics races and tour, as well as the official timepiece of both the Quail and Pebble concours. Reflecting on his own time at Pebble, Rolex Testimonee and hall-of-fame racer Sir Jackie Stewart told Robb Report just prior to the event, “It’s one of the greatest collections of cars . . . and Rolex has been a very large part of that for a very long time.”

One of the ubiquitous Rolex timepieces at the Quail, A Motorsports Gathering. 

Photo by Tom O’Neal, courtesy of Rolex.

Start Your Engines
This year’s “week” actually ran from August 5 through 15, starting with a party the evening before the Concours Pasadera on August 6. Located on the grounds of Club Pasadera, a private golf and residential community, the show commemorated the 50th anniversary of Porsche’s victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 24 hours of Daytona in 1971, a feat the marque repeated at both contests the following year as well. On the four-wheel front, a 1959 Ferrari 250 TR59 took Best of Show, while a 1939 Rudge Special 500 earned the top honor for motorcycles.
The myriad subsequent attractions during the preliminary days included a select display of vintage race cars and a meet-and-greet with drivers prior to their competing at WeatheTech Raceway Laguna Seca; the Concours on the Avenue, a presentation of classics and supercars along Carmel’s Ocean Avenue on August 10; and McCall’s Motorworks Revival at the Monterey Jet Center, where the viewing of exotic flying machines and automobiles paired elegantly with regional wines.

A 1973 Porsche 917/30 Can-Am Spyder winds along the coast during the Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance. 

Photo by Tom O’Neal, courtesy of Rolex.

Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance by Rolex
For most attendees, Monterey Car Week didn’t really get in gear until the final four days, starting with the Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance by Rolex on Thursday, August 12. The tony rally featured approximately 150 of the same vehicles that would end up on Pebble’s concours lawn on Sunday. The 70-mile course, which begins and ends at Pebble Beach, includes famed 17-mile Drive and the stunning vistas along Highway 1 to Big Sur. Interestingly, a classic that completes the route and then ends up in a draw at the concours will be given the win because of its tour participation.

A convoy of classics on the 2021 Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance. 

Photo by Tom O’Neal, courtesy of Rolex.

The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering
One exhibition fast becoming a favorite is the Quail, A Motorsports Gathering hosted by the Quail Lodge & Golf Club in Carmel Valley on Friday, August 13—a most auspicious day for top-tier automakers and coachbuilders showcasing their latest masterworks. The massive OEM representation is a major differentiator between the Quail and Pebble, with the former attracting a heavy field of prospective, qualified buyers. It’s why Automobili Lamborghini chose the venue to debut its $2.64 million Countach LPI 800-4, commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Countach; Rimac Automobili brought its 1,914 hp all-electric projectile, the Nevera; and SSC North America shared its SSC Tuatara, the very one that set a production-car speed record of 282.9 mph (averaged after two runs) back on January 17.

The Lamborghini Countach LPI 800-4 (right), unveiled at the Quail, A Motorsports Gathering. 

Photo by Tom O’Neal, courtesy of Rolex.

“It’s a proud moment for us to be able to have it [the SSC Tuatara] here, open everything up and let everybody see the attention to detail,” mentioned Jarod Shelby, founder of SSC North America. When asked about the Quail’s Motorsports Gathering in particular, he noted being “blown away by the level of vehicles and the level of buyers that are here, it’s been really impressive.”
Rumored to have had access substantially reduced compared to the 2019 offering, the contest and exhibition fostered even more of the casual ambiance and sense of community that it has become known for. But while attendees were relaxed, the competition between the assemblage of more than 200 collector cars was intense, ending with a 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster being crowned Best of Show.

The 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster that won 2021 Best of Show at the Quail, A Motorsports Gathering. 

Photo by Tom O’Neal, courtesy of Rolex.

Concorso Italiano
Bookended by the Quail and Pebble shows, Concorso Italiano is where those who gravitate to the machines of il bel paese migrated to on Saturday, August 14. On the fairways of Bayonet and Black Horse Golf Course, in neighboring Seaside, over 560 examples of mobile Italian artistry vied for attention.
Director Tom McDowell describes this particular concours as “the celebration and enjoyment of all things Italian, starting with automotive excellence.” McDowell seemed genuinely surprised by this year’s response, stating, “I was getting bombarded with appreciation for bringing back Concorso this year.  Normally I don’t get these comments from people. It felt kind of good.”

Bobbie and George Andreini earn Best of Show at the 2021 Concorso Italiano for their 1965 Maserati Mistral Spider. 

Photo: Courtesy of Concorso Italiano.

Aside from Italy’s Motor Valley mainstays like Ferrari and Maserati, such marques as Bizzarrini, Iso Grifo and De Tomaso were also well represented. But it was the town of Modena that garnered bragging rights at the finale as judges selected George and Bobbie Andreini’s 1965 Maserati Mistral Spider for the day’s ultimate honor.
Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion
Although rare and rich with provenance, many of the collector-cars at Monterey Car Week are far more than museum pieces and proved it across four days of hard racing at the Rolex Monterey Motorsport Reunion, held August 12 through 15, at WetherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. The field comprised 12 groups based on age and classification, varying from race cars from the 1920’s to historic Formula 1 examples to endurance machines from this millennium. Testing their mettle was the 2.2-mile track’s 11 turns, including the infamous set known as the Corkscrew.

A 1964 Shelby Cobra 289 dances on the Corkscrew at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. 

Photo by Stephan Cooper, courtesy of Rolex.

Thursday and Friday were spent qualifying for the weekend’s final showdowns, where victors included famed racer and restorer Bruce Canepa, finishing first in the 1981-1991 IMSA GTP/GTO group piloting a 1989 Porsche 962C 3200; Charles Nearburg, who took the checkered flag in the 1966-1985 Masters Historic Formula 1 group behind the wheel of a 1981 Williams FW07C 2992; and Paddins Dowling, who steered a 1934 ERA R2A 1488 to glory in the 1920-1951 Racing Cars group.

Another day at the races, all part of the 2021 Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. 

Photo by Stephan Cooper, courtesy of Rolex.

Special this year was a tribute to the Sports Car Club of America’s (SSCA) Trans-Am Series, specifically the 55th anniversary of Ford winning the inaugural 1966 season’s championship. Ken Adams paid his own tribute by besting rest of the pack in the 1966-1985 Trans-Am group with a 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 302 4949.
Big on the Block
All the action wasn’t limited to the circuit, though, as serious collectors found the head-to-head competition at numerous car auctions equally compelling. Among the cadre of auction houses that set up temporary shop were the power trio of RM Sotheby’s, Bonhams and Gooding & Company.
It became clear fairly quickly that people were back and ready to spend. Spread over three evenings, the RM Sotheby’s auction fetched a total of $148.5 million. That figure includes the sale of a 1962 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato for $9.25 million and a 1962 Ferrari 268 SP by Fantuzzi for more than $7.7 million.
“We achieved a sale total that ranks in the top three best Monterey auctions of all time, says Gord Duff, global head of auctions for RM Sotheby’s. “This week has demonstrated that the market is as strong today as it has ever been, with collector-grade cars finding willing new buyers from all over the globe.”

The 1928 Mercedes-Benz 26/120/180 S-Type Supercharged Sports Tourer that crossed the block for over $5.39 million through Bonhams. 

Photo: Courtesy of Bonhams.

Bonhams saw close to $37 million in sales, highlighted by a 1928 Mercedes-Benz 26/120/180 S-Type Supercharged Sports Tourer cross the block for over $5.39 million. But the lot that grabbed the headlines was offered through Gooding & Company, a 1995 McLaren F1 that went under the hammer for $20.46 million. That result is not only the top price ever received for a McLaren F1 at auction, but made it the most expensive car to cross the block in 2021.

This 1995 McLaren F1 that went under the hammer for $20.46 million at Gooding & Company’s Monterey auction. 

Photo by Jensen Sutta, courtesy of Gooding & Company.

But that wasn’t the automobile that really caught the attention of David Brynan, Gooding & Company senior specialist. “The F40 that we sold from the Donald Weber Collection stood out to me, as it shows the power of provenance,” says Brynan. “A one owner, low mileage US F40 brought a tremendous premium over two similar cars offered during the weekend. The result is also nearly double what good US cars were bringing at Pebble Beach in 2019.” In all, Gooding ended up amassing $107.04 million from sales while in Monterey.

The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
The impetus and raison d’être for Monterey Car Week, the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance held its 70th running on Sunday, August 15, as the grand finale to the multi-day motor fest. The rarified assortment of 230 show cars, the finest in the world, took their positions on the 17th and 18th fairways of the Pebble Beach Golf Links, separated into 27 classes. Just by being on the lawn, every example received a boost in provenance and, therefore, value. And to complement the stunning metal on display, most attendees and, in some cases their pets, dressed in their Sunday best . . . and then some.

The fabled 1936 Bugatti Type 57Sc Atlantic receives special commendation at the 2021 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. 

Photo by Tom O’Neal, courtesy of Rolex.

To add to the celebratory ambiance were a few new and noteworthy collections, including 38 past Best of Show winners, an exclusive category for the Porsche 917 and another honoring the 50th anniversary of the Lamborghini Countach. The latter two were won by a 1969 Porsche 917K Coupe, belonging to Chris MacAllister of Indiana, and a 1981 Lamborghini Countach LP400S Series III Bertone Berlinetta, owned by Robert Bishop of Florida, respectively.

A collection of Porsche 917s at the 2021 edition of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. 

Photo by Tom O’Neal, courtesy of Rolex.

Yet of all the marques, Mercedes-Benz ended up the big winner as its 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn Kurier—the only one in the world—carried off Best of Show; a bit of déjà vu considering another 1938 Mercedes 540K variant earned the same title at the Quail two days prior.

The 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn Kurier was named Best of Show at the 2021 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. 

Photo by Tom O’Neal, courtesy of Rolex.

As with the Quail, the latest examples from automakers are also showcased, albeit to a far lesser degree; relegated to the Concept Lawn and a few surrounding pavilions. Such was the case with Aston Martin and its Valkyrie Spider, Ford’s presentation of its GT Heritage Edition and Bugatti with its track-only Bolide. As for how Pebble still fits in the Monterey Car Week hierarchy, Bugatti’s COO of the Americas, Cedric Davey, was unequivocal, calling it “very important for us. . .  this was the main one.”

Learn more about Robb Report’s 2022 Car of the Year at the event taking place in Napa Valley here and in Boca Raton here.

First Look: Aston Martin’s 1,139 HP Valkyrie Spider Moves Out of the Shadows During Monterey Car Week

First Look: Aston Martin’s 1,139 HP Valkyrie Spider Moves Out of the Shadows During Monterey Car Week

Aston Martin’s Valkyrie has been on boil for years, promising Formula 1 levels of performance in a package that more closely resembles futurist sculpture than a street-legal road car—and production can’t come soon enough for deposit holders of the 150 coupes. Now, the soon-to-be-owners club welcomes 85 additional members awaiting the even more limited-edition Aston Martin Valkyrie Spider, a model variant unveiled during the festivities of Monterey Car Week. But if you were just finding out about it then, you will not be getting one, as the marque says each example has already been claimed.

The 1,139 hp hybrid convertible offers a vast majority of the coupe’s performance with incremental compromise. Unlike typical open-air spinoffs, the Valkyrie Spider’s carbon-fiber structure required no additional structural reinforcement apart from new doors to accommodate the modified windows; they tilt forward dihedrally, rather than lifting directly up. The roof uses a central carbon-fiber panel which connects to two fixed polycarbonate windows, and the removable panel only adds 33 pounds of total weight to the vehicle.

The Valkyrie hails from Aston Martin boss Tobias Moers, whose 26 years at Mercedes-Benz included seven years at tuning division AMG. Some of the most compelling performance products in the Mercedes-AMG portfolio came from Moers, such as the forthcoming Project One.

Aston Martin’s Valkyrie Spider hypercar. 

Photo: Courtesy of Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings PLC.

While both the AMG and Aston claim Formula 1 inspiration and over 1,000 hp, the Valkyrie takes a decidedly analog approach: Contrary to the AMG’s energy-dense 1.6-liter turbocharged V-6, the Aston packs a massive, naturally aspirated 6.5-liter V-12 that revs to 11,000 rpm. The choice is a bit of a high-powered throwback, one that trades the packaging and weight advantages of a small engine for the visceral and aural feedback of twelve breathy cylinders.
Moers is no stranger to involving driving dynamics, which the Valkyrie should offer in spades. Upon his arrival to Aston Martin, the smaller Valhalla supercar was slated to be powered by a V-6 hybrid power train. Perhaps due to the fact that history has not been kind to V-6 supercars (the Jaguar XJ220, for example), or maybe because a free-breathing V-12 is inherently more engaging than a smaller turbo with fewer cylinders, Moers struck down use of a V-6 for the Valhalla and replaced it with an AMG-sourced V-8.

The Valkyrie Spider’s carbon-fiber structure required no additional reinforcement than that of the coupe, apart from new doors. 

Photo: Courtesy of Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings PLC.

Moers tells Robb Report that the challenges inherent to modifying the more powerful and complex Valkyrie Spider required recalibration of the active aerodynamics and chassis setups. A staggering 3,000+ pounds of downforce are produced at 149 mph, enough to theoretically destroy the tires if mismanaged. The Valkyrie Spider can reach a top speed of 217 mph, or 205 mph with the roof off. Its bodywork departs from conventional passenger-car design by wrapping the carbon cockpit in negative space: The tub is surrounded by Venturi tunnels which draw high-speed airflow to the rear of the car in order to reduce drag, as do the countless other active aerodynamic devices intended to modulate drag and downforce.

The Valkyrie Spider sits to the right of its coupe counterpart. 

Photo: Courtesy of Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings PLC.

As for the daily experience of owning an open-air Valkyrie, Moers quips “You better check the weather before you go for a drive,” as the al fresco model is so relentlessly focused on performance that it contains no stowage space for the removable roof.

Learn more about Robb Report’s 2022 Car of the Year at the event taking place in Napa Valley here and in Boca Raton here.

A $20 Million 1995 McLaren F1 Just Became the Most Expensive Car Sold This Year

A $20 Million 1995 McLaren F1 Just Became the Most Expensive Car Sold This Year

Monterey Car Week’s annual auction returned with a real bang over the weekend.

A 1995 McLaren F1 sold for a record-setting $20.47 million on Friday night at Gooding & Company’s Pebble Beach auctions. The stunning gavel price makes the supercar the most expensive F1 of all time and also represents the highwater mark for a vehicle at auction this year.

1995 McLaren F1 

Mike Maez/Gooding & Company

Despite the financial uncertainty brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, the classic car market has remained as strong as ever, according to CNBC. Eyes were on the F1 road car, which was seen as a barometer for the market overall and was expected to go for north of $15 million. An unnamed buyer ended up paying $20.47 million (including fees) for the pristine vehicle. That easily tops the $15.62 million paid for a road-going version of the supercar in 2017 and the $19.8 million paid for an LM-spec variant in 2019.

The F1 is considered by many to be the first hypercar and, with just 106 built between 1992 and 1998, is among the most prized vehicles in the world. This particular example, Chassis 029, is the 25th of 64 road cars from the production run, according to the auction house. It’s finished in a Creighton Brown paint job, which is offset by an elegant light brown and tan interior. Originally sold to a collector in Japan, the car remains in “as delivered” state (meaning no changes have been made since it left the factory), and has just 243 miles on its V-12 engine.

Mike Maez/Gooding & Company

“We were incredibly proud to present this exceptional McLaren F1, and tonight, the market confirmed the sheer prowess of this unparalleled supercar from one of the most legendary names in motoring,” the auction house’s president and founder David Gooding said in a statement. “This sale was a historic moment not only for Gooding & Company, but for the McLaren legacy and the entire industry as a whole.”
While the F1 sale may grab all the headlines, it was a great weekend for the auction house across the board. In total, the two-day Pebble Beach sales event brought in $107 million. Other highlights included a 1959 Ferrari 250 GT California Spider that sold for $10.84 million, a 1929 Bugatti Type 35B Grand Prix that sold for $5.62 million and 1930 Duesenberg Model J convertible that sold for $3.97 million.

Mike Maez/Gooding & Company

Gooding & Company wasn’t the only firm that benefited from robust sales weekend, either, according to CNBC. In general, business was up 34 percent compared to 2019, the last year that Monterey Car Week was held. It’s never a bad time to be a car collector, apparently.

A 1938 Mercedes-Benz Takes Top Honors at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance

A 1938 Mercedes-Benz Takes Top Honors at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance

Monterey Car Week, the world’s flagship exhibition of all things automotive, culminated yesterday with the 70th edition of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance on its namesake stretch of Northern California’s coast. Amidst a highly festive atmosphere, one of the industry’s oldest automakers had even more to celebrate when the grand finale’s confetti rained down on a 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn Kurier, named Best of Show from a field of 230 contenders.

The concours field in full swing. 

Photo by Tom O’Neal, courtesy of Rolex.

It’s the ninth time that Mercedes has earned the accolade, tying Bugatti for most top honors at the fabled Pebble Beach Golf Links. Surprisingly, the award comes roughly 48 hours after another variant of the model from the same year, a 540K Special Roadster, took Best of Show at the Quail, A Motorsports Gathering in neighboring Carmel Valley.

“This Best of Show winner embodies so many sensational features—styling, speed and performance,” said Sandra Button, chairman of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, in the official news release. “Built to rule the new German Autobahn in 1938, this rare automobile is truly an example of beautiful German design,” she continued.

Arturo and Deborah Keller receive Best of Show for their 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn Kurier. 

Photo by Tom O’Neal, courtesy of Rolex.

Rare is right. It’s the only extant example of two that were made, and is now part of Arturo and Deborah Keller’s collection. The Keller’s are no strangers to Pebble’s coveted Best of Show recognition, which includes a massive silver cup and, with Rolex being the official timepiece for the event, a Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust 41 watch. The couple have had two other cars—both Mercedes-Benz models—capture the same title: a 1930 Mercedes-Benz SS Erdmann & Rossi Roadster and a 1936 Mercedes-Benz 500K Special Roadster, in 2001 and 1986, respectively.
Other classics in the running this year were a 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Corsica Drophead Coupé belonging to Joanie and Scott Kriens from Saratoga, Fla., a 1956 Maserati A6G Zagato Coupé owned by Wendy and Jonathan Segal out of San Diego, Calif., and a 1966 Ferrari 365 P Pininfarina Berlinetta Speciale, part of RQ Collections in Woodland, Tex.

Early risers participating in the “Dawn Patrol” tradition watch the world-renowned 1936 Bugatti 57SC Atlantic roll into position. 

Photo by Tom O’Neal, courtesy of Rolex.

In all, a small army of expert judges, including the likes of Stephan Winkelmann, president of Bugatti and Lamborghini, and Ed Welburn, former global head of design for General Motors, bestowed awards across 26 classes and doled out another 27 special honors.

A pristine example of a 1966 Ford GT40 Mark I. 

Photo by Tom O’Neal, courtesy of Rolex.

Perhaps it was due to the event’s cancellation last year, but the general spirit of camaraderie for the 2021 concours seemed on overdrive, as did a sense of inclusiveness. This was fueled, in part, by the presence of 38 past Best of Show vehicles and every first-place finisher from each Pebble Beach Road Race, which ran from 1950 to 1956. The latter included the 1955 Ferrari 750 Monza Scaglietti piloted by Phil Hill and Carroll Shelby during the last two contests.

Former Best of Show winners grace the fairway again as part of the 70th Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. 

Photo by Tom O’Neal, courtesy of Rolex.

Also on hand was an impressive stable of Lamborghini Countach models, in tribute to the car’s 50th anniversary, complemented by the commemorative Lamborghini Countach LPI 800-4 sitting nearby on the Concept Lawn and unveiled just two days prior. As usual, that patch of green before the main entrance was ringed by camera-clad enthusiasts trying to get a glimpse of the future through cars like the Koenigsegg’s Jesko Absolut and McLaren’s Artura. In some cases, vehicles were making their public debut while others, like the Maserati MC20 now in production, were making up for missing their moment in 2020. To be sure, automakers were paying rapt attention to how their new wares were being perceived.

Inside the circle of trust on the Concept Lawn. 

Photo by Tom O’Neal, courtesy of Rolex.

“The Maserati MC20 super sports car received an amazing reception at the Concept Lawn,” says Bill Peffer, head of Maserati Americas. “Production has begun at our plant in Modena, Italy, and this incredible vehicle is sure to impress the most discerning customers when it starts to arrive in North America later this year.”
Peffer’s optimistic tone was echoed by seemingly every manufacturer present, with the global lockdown resulting in a record number of orders for many automakers. But while the Quail’s “Motorsports Gathering” has overt OEM promotion as a major component, the Pebble concours keeps it at the periphery, with notables such as Ferrari, Bentley, Lamborghini, Bugatti and Aston Martin transforming pavilions or on-site residences into temporary lounges where VIP guests and valued customers can preview the latest releases and customize their orders on the spot.

One of the smartly dressed attendees. 

Photo by Ginger Mathew.

“We’ve always been here and have had many, many world reveals in the past,” said Cedric Davey, Bugatti’s chief operating officer of the Americas. “This is really our home away from home,” he adds, standing next to a production prototype of the new 1,600 hp Bugatti Bolide, a track-only beast that Davey describes as “the extreme version of what can be done with a W-16 engine.” Though more akin to an LMP1 prototype from Le Mans, the Bolide sports notable design cues from bygone Bugatti models such as the Type 57SC Atlantic, seen on the show lawn.

The Lamborghini Lounge prior to the start of the concours. 

Photo by Jordan Lenssen, courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A.

Just up the road from Bugatti’s temporary oasis, another French marque had set up shop. The storied Delage, which shuttered in 1953, has been brought back by entrepreneur Laurent Tapie, who, along with his team, is developing the 1,100 hp D12 hypercar. And while the “jet-fighter” descriptor is used ad nauseam within automotive parlance, it’s warranted in the case of the tandem-seated D12 fit with a cockpit canopy that raises like a jet fighter’s. Holding court while also surrounded by three Delage models from early last century, Tapie described Pebble as “the place to be,” adding that “it’s the most prestigious concours in the world, so it’s a must—a no-brainer for us.”

The trophy and Rolex Oyster Perpetual Datejust 41 given for Best of Show. 

Photo by Tom O’Neal, courtesy of Rolex.

The overall juxtaposition of unparalleled classic and cutting-edge machines set against a timeless backdrop is why the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance often becomes a lifelong tradition for car enthusiasts.
“This is my first time here, and the concours is just blowing away every expectation that I had,” said Jonathan Weizman, attending through Robb Report’s RR1 members club. Asked if he would return, Weizman didn’t hesitate. “Yes, absolutely,” he said, before adding, “Actually, I’m hoping to show a car in the next year or two.”

Learn more about Robb Report’s 2022 Car of the Year at the event taking place in Napa Valley here and in Boca Raton here.

The Quail’s ‘Motorsports Gathering’ Returned at (Almost) Full Throttle for 2021

The Quail’s ‘Motorsports Gathering’ Returned at (Almost) Full Throttle for 2021

Family reunions are a time to reconnect, reflect and further strengthen bonds that even distance and time apart can’t come close to compromising. For the automotive industry, such a homecoming took place yesterday at the 18th running of the Quail, A Motorsports Gathering—an exhibition and concours put on by the Signature Events division of Peninsula Hotels and hosted at the Quail Lodge & Golf Club in Carmel Valley, Calif. And as last year’s edition was scrapped due to the pandemic, the opportunity to reunite was embraced as a morale-boosting panacea for the world’s leading marques, collectors and avid enthusiasts alike.

The concours and exhibition is hosted by the Quail Lodge & Golf Club. 

Photo by Tom O’Neal, courtesy of Rolex.

“We’re a celebration of everything with an engine. This is about great friendships, great cars,” stated Philip Kadoorie, non-executive director of the Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited and son of the event’s founder Sir Michael Kadoorie, during the opening remarks. He went on to remind attendees that this was a time to “remember what we missed last year and celebrate everything this year.” And while the number of tickets available was reportedly reduced to diminish crowd size, the level of enthusiasm felt as big as ever.

Jenson Button and Philip Kadoorie chat on stage. 

Photo by Tom O’Neal, courtesy of Rolex.

Much more than simply a head-to-head competition between classic automobiles, the Quail is a preferred venue for prominent automakers when it comes to model reveals. This year, these included the global unveiling of the new Lamborghini Countach LPI 800-4, a North American debut of the Bugatti Bolide and the first time the general public could view the Audi Skysphere concept in person. Other heavy-hitters included Bentley, Koenigsegg, Pagani, SSC North America, and Hennessey, to name just a fraction on hand.

Lamborghini’s new Countach LPI 800-4 supercar. 

Photo by Drew Phillips, courtesy of Rolex.

Responsible for some of the biggest buzz of the day, though, was automotive wunderkind Mate Rimac showcasing his 1,914 hp Rimac Nevera. Almost as compelling as the car is the recent news of his eponymous company’s increased role with Porsche and partial ownership in Bugatti.
“Taking my CEO hat off, I’m just a car guy going around here soaking it up, it’s amazing,” Rimac told Robb Report. Referencing his decision to bring the Nevera, he adds; “The ratio of people here that can actually afford this kind of car is huge—nowhere in the world is like this.”

A production prototype of the Bugatti Bolide. 

Photo by Drew Phillips, courtesy of Rolex.

Interestingly, across the fairway from the Rimac display was the Bugatti stage drawing equal attention for the same reason. “This is a very special moment, as we are now announcing that the [Bugatti] Bolide is going into production” mentioned Cedric Davey, COO of Bugatti of the Americas. “The Quail is the perfect format with the right audience.”

The same assessment of the Quail’s value is echoed by many of the key players in attendance, including fellow hypercar developer John Hennessey, who commented; “We’re just very thankful to be here. I think this is ground zero, the most focused concentration of car people during [Monterey] Car Week, and to be able to share the [Hennessey] Venom F5—in Speed Devil Blue and Mojave Gold—at the Quail is very, very special.”

The 1,817 hp Hennessey Venom F5 hypercar in Mojave Gold. 

Photo by Drew Phillips, courtesy of Rolex.

This isn’t to say that the actual concours element takes a backseat. Over 200 impeccable automobiles graced the golf links, divided into 11 classes for judging. In addition, a convoy of classic Trans Ams paraded in at midday from nearby Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca while taking a break from track action.

This Bugatti Type 57S Gangloff won the Custom Coachwork class. 

Photo by Drew Phillips, courtesy of Rolex.

Out of the highly competitive field, a 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster was named the Rolex Circle of Champions Best of Show. The winning example, which has belonged to K. Heinz Keller for more than three decades, benefitted from a ground-up restoration that spanned eight years.

The 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster crowned Best of Show. 

Photo by Drew Phillips, courtesy of Rolex.

Category winners included Allan McCrary’s 1936 Cord 810 Cabriolet for Pre-War Sports & Racing Cars, Peter Klutt’s 1966 Ford GT40 Mark II for Post-War Racing Cars and Dr. Richard Workman’s 1937 Bugatti 57S Gangloff in the Custom Coachwork class. Motorcycles also had their moment in the sun, and Shawn W. Coady’s 1902 Indian Single Cylinder shined bright enough to garner the Spirit of the Quail honor, while William “Chip” Connor’s 1969 Honda CB750 was given the crown for Sports and Racing Motorcycles.

Audi’s Skysphere concept. 

Photo by Tom O’Neal, courtesy of Rolex.

Anyone worried about the next generation’s involvement in car culture can take heart in knowing that a fair number of youth were present, including 10-year-old Nicolas Kolarow, camera draped around his neck while engaged in conversation with Bugatti’s deputy design director Frank Heyl. When later asked if he thought his peers were, in general, disinterested in automobiles, Kolarow was adamant: “No, I really don’t think so. I have a huge interest in cars and there are a lot of younger people who have an interest.”

The 1966 Ford GT40 Mark II that won the Post-War Racing Cars class. 

Photo by Drew Phillips, courtesy of Rolex.

That youthful exuberance still came across loud and clear when automotive celebrity Ant Anstead discussed his partnering with past Formula 1 champion Jenson Button to revive bygone coachbuilder Radford. Standing in front of the new Lotus Type 62-2 coachbuilt by Radford, Anstead was frank in articulating what the day at Quail meant to him.
“I kind of had one of those boyhood-dream moments when we were setting up, because this was just a concept, an idea that was shared on a whiteboard with a group of people that had this crazy ambition to build a supercar,” Anstead explained. “I look back on the last 30 years of me in the industry, from a boy that built a go-kart to a guy here now on the lawn—it’s pretty much magic.”

Learn more about Robb Report’s 2022 Car of the Year at the event taking place in Napa Valley here and in Boca Raton here.

The Lamborghini Countach, an Icon of ’80s Luxury, Is Back as a Modern, Hybrid Supercar

The Lamborghini Countach, an Icon of ’80s Luxury, Is Back as a Modern, Hybrid Supercar

During the 1970s and ‘80s, the only poster as ubiquitous on bedroom walls as that of actress Farrah Fawcett in a swimsuit, was the hero shot of a Lamborghini Countach—the very definition of “dream machine” for an entire generation. It appears the Raging Bull marque knows that a few of those young aspirationals are now grown, prosperous and ready for the real deal.

With that in mind, and in honor of the benchmark model’s 50th anniversary, the team at Sant’Agata Bolognese has just revealed a reimagined hybrid Countach at the Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, in Northern California’s Carmel Valley. It’s a debut that’s already a highlight of this year’s Monterey Car Week.

Lamborghini ‘s Countach LPI 800-4 wearing the Bianco Siderale color scheme. 

Photo: Courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A.

“In 1971, the Countach was presented at the Geneva Motor Show and, for us, this was a real game-changer,” says Stephan Winkelmann, president and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A. “It made us stand out in the crowd and changed the way other manufacturers looked at cars like this.” Referencing the new version, Winkelmamm adds: “It’s a really modern interpretation—a very clean design with elements of the various generations of the Countach, without overloading the car.”
The new release’s official moniker, Countach LPI 800-4, references the power plant’s Longitudinale Posteriore orientation (the engine is situated parallel with the length of the car and near the rear), it being hybrid (or Ibrido in Italian), the output (just over 800 hp) and the permanent four-wheel-drive configuration. Fittingly, it’s the engineering that truly sets this version apart from its renowned predecessor, and no element more so than the power train.

The latest release reflects the classic Countach’s overall aesthetic but in a contemporary design language. 

Photo: Courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A.

The commemorative iteration, featuring a monocoque chassis and body panels that are all carbon fiber, stays true to the original’s internal-combustion ethos with a V-12 engine. This one, however, makes 780 hp compared to the former’s roughly 400+ hp. The needle moves toward bleeding-edge tech, though, with the 12-cylinder heart being paired with a 34 hp, 48 v electric motor at the gearbox complemented by a supercapacitor that, while weighing the same as a comparable lithium-ion battery, offers triple the storage capacity. Sound familiar? It’s similar to the innovative setup in the automaker’s 819 hp Sián model, comprising only 63 coupes and 9 roadsters, introduced in 2019 and 2020, respectively.

The hybrid Countach presents its predecessor’s iconic Periscopio lines flaring out from the roof toward the back, although narrower and more streamlined than the original. 

Photo: Courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A.

“We have the same supercapacitor and same electric engine that was used in the Sián,” mentions Maurizio Reggiani, Lamborghini’s chief technology officer, in a conversation with Robb Report. “What’s different is the application of the components in terms of engine management and power management.”
That management Reggiani refers to is responsible for claimed performance specs that, with the assistance of the seven-speed ISR transmission, include the 3,516-pound (dry weight) car’s ability to cover zero to 62 mph in 2.8 seconds and top out at 221 mph. But while those numbers considerably overshadow those of the original Countach, the one key element of the latter that shines through is the overall design.

Square-stitched red leather with black accents define the interior of the example unveiled today. 

Photo: Courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A.

“The heart of our design DNA is, for me, the Countach,” notes Mitja Borkert, Lamborghini’s head of design. Yet the inspiration for the latest model is not just any Countach, but the LP500 variant. Borkert used famed automotive creative Marcello Gandini’s original aesthetic, including the hallmark Periscopio lines flaring from the roof toward the back, as the template for a supercar that pays tribute to its predecessor while simultaneously forging its own contemporary identity.

A new 8.4-inch HDMI touchscreen is exclusive to the Countach LPI 800-4. 

Photo: Courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A.

According to Borkert, much of what differentiates the LPI 800-4, which he mentions is longer in proportion, is due to the bolstered power train and subsequent need to compensate, citing elements such as the pronounced NACA air intakes on the flanks and “the integrated wing and diffusor.” “We transported the lines of the Countach toward what was necessary today,” he says. And that modernity carries through to the interior. No eight-track player here, rather an exclusive 8.4-inch HDMI touchscreen serves as mission control for most onboard amenities.

The distinctive back end continues the hexagonal design motif that’s become a signature of the marque. 

Photo: Courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini S.p.A.

Lamborghini’s internal name for last century’s Countach was LP 112 when it was being developed, so it’s only fitting that 112 examples will be made of the LPI 800-4. Priced at $2.64 million, each one has already been presold, and deliveries are expected next year.

“I always said that I don’t want to have retro cars because we have to be a company that’s looking forward and not repeat what we’ve done in the past,” Winkelmann explains. “But with this few-off, I think we’ve made the right choice.”

Learn more about Robb Report’s 2022 Car of the Year at the event taking place in Napa Valley here and in Boca Raton here.

Bentley’s First Hybrid Flying Spur Mulliner Just Debuted at Monterey Car Week

Bentley’s First Hybrid Flying Spur Mulliner Just Debuted at Monterey Car Week

Bentley just took one step toward its carbon-neutral goal.

This Thursday, the British carmaker revealed a new Flying Spur Mulliner at Monterey Car Week. The four-door luxury grand tourer is the first electrified model made by the manufacturer’s elite bespoke division.
The hybrid’s exterior includes exclusive 22-inch wheels with self-leveling wheel caps that stay upright as the wheels rotate in a gray painted and polished finish. Its sophisticated design is accented by a “double-diamond” front grille and chrome front lower grille that are matched by the division’s branded wing vents and satin silver painted mirror caps. The signature Bentley Flying B hood ornament, which is deployed electronically, is another distinct feature of the hybrid’s exterior.

The backseat with both electronically operated picnic tables displayed. 

Bentley

The comfortable interior can be styled in a selection of eight custom color combinations. The model is fitted with Mulliner’s signature “Diamond-in-Diamond” quilting. This specialized interior pattern uses an embroidery process that took 18 months to develop—each diamond is formed with exactly 712 individual stitches. Additionally, the center and rear consoles display a diamond-milled finish.
Each rear passenger has access to an electronically operated picnic table that lowers and self-levels to reveal a leather-trimmed surface. The tables are mounted to the rear of the front seats and are easily deployed or returned to their home position with the touch of a button. The LED driver’s instrument panel sports new Mulliner graphics, and the steering wheel itself is heated. The centerpiece of the dashboard is a brushed silver Mulliner clock, and a panoramic sunroof lets light in to enhances the ambiance in the cabin.

The LED driver’s instrument panel with new Mulliner graphics. 

Bentley

But while the new Flying Spur Mulliner edition is decidedly luxurious, its performance is what sets it apart. Previous versions were available with Bentley’s V8 and W12 powertrains, but the new Flying Spur Mulliner is equipped with a 2.9 liter V6 hybrid. The engine, with an electric motor, allows the grand tourer to accelerate from 0-60 mph in 4.1 seconds (0-100 km/h in 4.3 seconds) with a top speed of 177 mph (285 km/h).
Though it may not be the fastest engine Mulliner offers, it is the most eco-friendly, and rolling it out in the marque’s most luxurious vehicle proves it’s committed to its Beyond100 plan. The plan should see Bentley become carbon-neutral with an entirely electrified range by 2023.

Pricing information was not immediately available, but non-Mulliner Flying Spurs start around $214,000. You can see more images of the new hybrid below.

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