California is the most car-dependent market in the US, so it’s no surprise that the state also plays host to the largest annual celebration of automotive culture in the world: the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
This year saw nearly 200 vehicles – of which 22 concept cars and an array of motorcycles – grace the lawns outside the Pebble Beach Lodge and the Pebble Beach Golf Links green.
The event celebrated Lincoln custom coachwork; Vanvooren coachwork, Aston Martin’s centennial, Lamborghini and the Porsche 911’s 50th anniversaries; the BMW 507; Alfa Romeo 8Cs; and Prinz Heinrich Benzes. British car and motorcycle manufacturer Simplex and French motorcycles also headlined.
The overriding theme was the proliferation of one-off bodies, semi-customs and first prototypes. These included the first 911, the first Duesenberg, the first Lamborghini prototype and production cars, and Italian and American coachbuilders, concepts and the largest collection of Alfa Romeo 8Cs ever seen in one location.
Best in Show
This year’s Best in Show winner was this 1934 Packard 1108 Twelve Dietrich Convertible Victoria owned by Joseph and Margie Cassini of West Orange, New Jersey.
By the mid-30s many custom coachbuilders such as Dietrich had transitioned to making slight modifications to limited-production series-built bodies. Known as ‘semi-customs’, these cars were developed in small ateliers and their bodies ordered in quantities of 25 to 100 to be sold through the larger automakers’ dealerships. This example features a unique set of stretched, flowing fenders, a defining style of the era.
While prewar coachbuilders in the USA withered, postwar Italy experienced a boom in demand from volume manufactures such as General Motors, Chrysler and Ford.
This 1955 Lincoln ‘Indianapolis’ first appeared at the 1955 at the Turin motor show. Henry Ford II, who had assumed the design responsibilities of the late Edsel Ford, consigned it and it was built on a 1955 Lincoln chassis. Felice Mario Boano is credited with this design, along with his son Gian Paolo Boano.
As was typical for the ‘jet age’ period, and when GM were ramping up with ‘Firebirds of the Future’, Lincoln went extreme with caricature design cues, utilized for their sheer shock value.
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