PHOTOS: Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance Showcases Most Exotic, Rare, Expensive Cars This year's Concours features 204 of the best cars that have ever been made. The 67th annual event caps off a week of intensive, obsessive car love in Monterey Peninsula, Calif.
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PHOTOS: Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance Showcases Most Exotic, Rare, Expensive Cars

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PHOTOS: Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance Showcases Most Exotic, Rare, Expensive Cars

PHOTOS: Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance Showcases Most Exotic, Rare, Expensive Cars

PHOTOS: Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance Showcases Most Exotic, Rare, Expensive Cars

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/544898397/544978511" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

Before sunrise, a 1928 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A S Castagna Landaulet on the Pebble Beach Golf Links' 18th green for judging. The car is owned by Peter and Jennifer Gleeson of Edmonds, Wash. Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance is where hundreds of the wealthiest car collectors buy, sell and show off their cars. Bruce W. Talamon for NPR hide caption

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Bruce W. Talamon for NPR

Before sunrise, a 1928 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A S Castagna Landaulet on the Pebble Beach Golf Links' 18th green for judging. The car is owned by Peter and Jennifer Gleeson of Edmonds, Wash. Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance is where hundreds of the wealthiest car collectors buy, sell and show off their cars.

Bruce W. Talamon for NPR

Classic car shows are a summer tradition. But if you want the most exotic, rare, and the most expensive cars in the world, then you need to head to the Monterey Peninsula, Calif. The 67th annual Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance caps off a week of intensive, obsessive car love.

The Concours this year features 204 of the highest-caliber cars that have ever been made. Essentially, the international car world descends on the region. Fifteen countries and 31 states enter the elite car show held on the famed 18th hole of the Pebble Beach golf course.

Dan Schaefer does a last-minute detail before judging on the 1968 Ferrari 275 GTS/4 Scaglietti NART Spider owned by Chris and Ann Cox, Chapel Hill, N.C. Just 10 examples of this car were built and this is tenth one. Bruce W. Talamon for NPR hide caption

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Bruce W. Talamon for NPR

That's just the end of a week of car madness, when cars take over the coastal towns of Monterey, Pebble Beach and Carmel by the Sea. The Monterey airport hosts an event of cars and airplanes. There's the Tour d'Elegance, where show cars cruise the streets, a wild exotic car show on Cannery Row (Steinbeck fans wouldn't recognize it), and, most importantly, plenty of public and private auctions. Take a look at the top 20 most expensive cars ever sold (publicly) and more than half were sold in or around car week on the Monterey peninsula.

Wayne Craig (center) gives last-minute instructions to the volunteer docents who lead tours and have knowledge of the cars. Bruce W. Talamon for NPR hide caption

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Bruce W. Talamon for NPR

To get an idea of the caliber of cars shown around town, Ferrari chose the show to celebrate its upcoming 70th anniversary with a concours of its own. This year, Jeff Mosing, a serious car collector from Austin, Texas brought his Ferrari F40. For him, cars are way more than a form of transportation or even rolling art They are more like pets: "There's a gut feeling just like if you meet somebody and you've never met them before that you know that there's something there. Definitely had a connection with this car."

Mosing's Ferrari goes for between $1.3 million and $1.5 million. His car wasn't for sale, and it wasn't entered in the big show. His car, a mere 27 years old, wouldn't make the cut at Pebble. The Concours is about painstaking restoration.

Left: Ferrari specialist, Tom Shaughnessy, assembles a tool kit for his client's 1952 Ferrari 212 Inter Ghia Cabriolet before judging. The car is owned by Jimmy Page of Boca Raton, Fla. Right: Shaughnessy's assembled tool kit for this specific car. Bruce W. Talamon for NPR hide caption

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Bruce W. Talamon for NPR

Thomas Shaughnessy from Oceanside brought his 1958 Ferrari Ghia to show on the 18th hole. As he prepped his vehicle, Shaughnessy unrolled $25,000 worth of tools. These look like ordinary wrenches and hammers, but when you're restoring a classic car, it's about the right tool for the right car.

For the privilege of strolling on the greens of the course, an estimated 15,000 attendees paid $350 each. Men and women parade the fairway dressed to the nines, with hats and parasols. The show also draws its share of car loving celebrities, Jay Leno (naturally), former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and ABC's Michael Strahan were just a few of the bold name celebrities.

As wealthy and star-studded as the show was, it's hard not to be affected. Deep and profound love is shown these classic cars. Morris Lum was detailing a 1958 Dual Ghia, owned by Tom and Gwen Price of Belvedere, Calif. Lum uses a toothpick to get into the crevices. The Dual Ghia is an example of an extremely rare car, only 115 were completed and only 36 are known to have survived.

Ferrari race cars are lined up at dawn on Pebble Beach Golf Links' 18th green at during the 67th Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. California's Monterey Peninsula is home to the renowned car show that displays the most exotic, rare, and the most expensive cars in the world. Bruce W. Talamon for NPR hide caption

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Bruce W. Talamon for NPR

Ferrari race cars are lined up at dawn on Pebble Beach Golf Links' 18th green at during the 67th Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. California's Monterey Peninsula is home to the renowned car show that displays the most exotic, rare, and the most expensive cars in the world.

Bruce W. Talamon for NPR

Paula Blair's love of the automobile reached its maturity at Pebble Beach, she says: "I started off as somebody who really wasn't interested in a car." Blair and her husband Peter first came to the show 11 years ago for a anniversary and now she considers herself "becoming what I call a minor car person somebody, who just likes the look of them versus other people who love them so much they start collecting."

Sandra Button has worked at Pebble Beach for 32 years. She started coordinating events at the course and began over the years to focus year round. Button has become one of the most prominent women in this male-dominated world. "They'll call my husband instead of me 'cause it's like a guy talk thing," Button says with a laugh about the men who can't believe she's really the boss, when it comes to cars and Pebble Beach.

"And I don't really care because as long as a great car gets to Pebble Beach, if they want to talk to my husband instead of me, that's fine. But ultimately, he'll even say, 'You know you got to talk to the boss.' "

Left: A Concours judge checks the undercarriage on the 1938 Lagonda V12 Rapide Drophead Coupe, owned by Ron Rezek. Right: Detailer Morris Lum uses a toothpick and microfiber cloth towel on his client's 1958 Dual Ghia Convertible. Only 115 Dual Ghias were completed and just 36 are known to have survived. Bruce W. Talamon for NPR hide caption

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Bruce W. Talamon for NPR

With self-driving and electric cars in the future, it's not hard to see this antique car show as, well, antiquated. Button says she was reluctant to accept electric cars, but now she's been converted. "They're fun. They're torque-y and you feel the power under you." Button says as the world goes more electric, an issue for antique car lovers may be access to gasoline.

But even when cars drive themselves, she believes the Concours will prevail: "If you go all the way back to the days of the horse and carriage," Button said while strolling onto the 18th hole, "People don't need horses in the same way we used to. I mean everybody used to really need their horse ... (but now) there's still horse shows and there are still places to race them."

She says that may turn out to be what happens with cars. "We're going to have great places to enjoy our cars" she says, "but not in the everyday way."

That's because, the future will come to Pebble Beach, eventually.

For the privilege of strolling on the greens of the course, an estimated 15,000 attendees paid over $300 each. Bruce W. Talamon for NPR hide caption

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Bruce W. Talamon for NPR

NPR's Emily Bogle edited the photos for this story. Maquita Peters edited and produced it for the Web.