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2015 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance: Ferrari Featured Marque; Mustangs On the Lawn

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On: Thu, Oct 29, 2015 at 3:44PM | By: Jon Summers

2015 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance: Ferrari Featured Marque; Mustangs On the Lawn

Each year Pebble Beach committee tries hard to invite vehicles which truly represent the full breadth and depth of automobility: this year there was a class of significant Mercury lead sled customs. The featured marques were du Pont and Ferrari. It was most enjoyable to see a class of Shelbys, and thus a row of Mustangs, on the Pebble Beach lawn amongst all the Ferraris!

For many people, automobiles are part of their identity. For most of us, cars connote status. For collectors, they are perhaps reminders of a mis-spent youth, or demonstrations of wealth and excellent taste. The du Pont family are able to take the automobile as identity concept to another level, since they have their own family car maker. Of more than five hundred Duponts made, only around thirty survive, most owned by members of the du Pont family. These cars are like a noble European family castle or chateau.

I presented to some students recently on Ferrari and identity; I work in Silicon Valley, land of product management and branding, and I wanted to show that Ferrari’s veracity as a brand depends upon the bloody, heroic deeds of Ferrari racing drivers and engineers, and, above all, on the bloody-mindedness of one remarkable man, who used hardship and grief as the motivation to build perhaps the greatest single name in all of automobility. People aspire to the cars, and buy the clothes, just so they feel associated with this Italian opera.

Retrace was a one-off event, and a really lovely experience. It was certainly not a race, but, like the Goodwood Festval, it looked very much like the original Pebble Beach Road races look in period photos—a course marked out with hay bales, a narrow road, and some narrow-tired Ferraris with exciting coachwork. The cars were flagged off by Alma Hill, widow of 1961 Formula 1 Champion Phil Hill, who made his name racing Ferraris at Pebble Beach, and the event was emceed by Derek Hill, their son. They did three laps around the narrow, winding roads of Pebble Beach, on a course similar, but not identical, to the original races. Your scribe did overhear one spectator saying,“It’s a shame this was only for Ferraris; it would have been nice to see a Jaguar, or a CadAllard out here too…”. That said, this remained a very enjoyable event.

It is worth making a final comment that the very atmosphere during Monterey week, and on the lawn at Pebble Beach particularly, seems to become a little bit more rarefied each year—by this I mean there are more conspicuously wealthy people each year. Breaking this down a little, as car values increase it is impossible not to notice that more and more of the very rich are coming to Pebble Beach as part of their annual social calendar. I mention this because I always attend the Goodguys West Coast Nationals Hot Rod Show the following weekend, and while I prefer the cars at Pebble, I tend to feel more comfortable amongst the t-shirts and hotdogs, simply because everyone at Goodguys is there for the cars.

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