The annual 2016 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is almost upon us, promising an exciting array of rare and elegant cars perched on the manicured 18th green set against the splendid backdrop of the pacific ocean. The featured classes, as always, are a true testament to elegance, in the automate genre.
- Chapron Coachwork
- BMW Centennial
- 50th Anniversary of Ford GT40 Victory at Le Mans
- Lamborghini Miura
- Two-Man Indianapolis Race Cars 1930–1937
- BMW Motorcycles
As one looks at the list, it is easy to understand the word elegance used in context with Delehaye or Chapron and of course the Lamborghini Muira, but motorcycles and race cars? Absolutely. Elegance does not mean stuffy, untouchable or so pretty your eyes hurt.
Elegance defined, embodies a sentiment which can be visual or related to the simple way a complex problem is solved as it relates to engineering. What are cars and motorcycles if not an engineering solution?
From 1898 to 1954 Delahaye was a prominent French car and truck builder. Those early cars, being at the inception of the automobile, featured the latest engineering marvels: belt-drive, rear water-cooled engines, and surface carburetors amongst others. Like other car builders their success with race cars fueled demand for more consumer friendly vehicles.
In 1919 Henri Chapron began as a coach builder in the Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret building custom bodies for French luxury car makers. Talbot, Delage and Delahaye received most of his sleek styling. After WWII as the luxury car market diminished he switched his efforts to modern cars, particularly Citroën, creating limited one-offs in both the DS and SM versions.
People say the Lamborghini Miura was the world’s first Supercar. If you compare the sexy Miura with other cars in 1966, it was far ahead. Not only was it the fastest production car at the time, it was at the forefront of road cars with independent suspension and tranverse-mounted rear engines. In 1965 after putting only the chassis on display in Turin, 10 orders were received and the body hadn’t even been finalized! The Miura was a game changer.
After a stint at Alfa Romeo and Ferrari where after developing the 250 TR, 250 GT SWB and the notorious 250 GTO, Giotto Bizzarrini was fired in the famous “palace revolt” in 1961. After developing three cars for Iso Rivolto, he left to make it under his own name. The street legal 5300 Strada, 1900 GT Europa, and P538S – entered at LeMans in 1966 but spun out at the start, make up the 140 cars produced at his factory until 1969. Since then he has continued to build, develop and design his own cars.
In an attempt to halt Miller and Delahaye from continually dominating the podium at Indianapolis, the rules were changed in 1930. New rules known as the “junk formula” were put in place. The supercharger engine was outlawed and the mechanic was back on board as two man cars with larger engine displacement became the new thing. Part of the reasoning was to encourage more cars racing which looked like cars of the driving public, returning the Indianapolis Speedway back to its roots of being a proving ground for passenger cars.
By now you know this is the centennial of BMW. The prolific manufacturer of automobiles and motorcycles promises to be well represented on the show field. Expect to see lots of BMWs around the Peninsula at other events as well.
We recently wrote about the Ford GT40s, having all the winning cars on the lawn, with a number of the drivers will be an exciting spectacle.
And these are just the special classes… See you there!