Courtesy of Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance
What NASCAR is to brawn, the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance (August 17) is to beauty—and this year’s selection of iconic cars and motorcycles marks another exceptional occasion to fawn over some of the world’s finest luxuries.
Set on the 18th fairway of the Pebble Beach Golf Links, in Monterey, California, Concours will display roughly 200 prized collector cars and motorcycles competing against one another for points on their historical accuracy, technical merit, rarity and, last but not least, elegance.
Some of the featured marques and special classes for this year’s roundup include Maserati Centennials, Ruxtons, Ferrari 250s, Testa Rossas, early steam cars, postwar Rolls-Royce Phantoms, Tatras and Eastern European motorcycles.
The event has been so popular over its 60-plus-year reign that it has spawned ancillary events, including the Tour d’Elegance (August 14) and the Pebble Beach RetroAuto marketplace (August 13–16), as well as the brand new Pebble Beach Classic Car Forum, which hosts a selection of panels and interviews featuring automotive VIPs (August 14–16), and the Pebble Beach Classic Car Expo, a place for visitors to purchase authentic and unusual vehicles from classic-car dealers (August 14-16).
But as the crown jewel of the weeklong festival, and one of the most competitive collector-car contests in the world, Concours is a must-see event for any automobile aficionado—the racers, the lookers and otherwise. Tickets start at $275; 1700 17 Mile Dr.; 831-622-1700; pebblebeachconcours.net.
Photo by Maserati North America
There is a stretch of road in the mountains above Nice that tightly twists and turns as it runs steeply and narrowly uphill. On this foggy morning, the road is what the locals call “slippy” wet, but it’s a route that Maserati’s new 2014 four-door Quattroporte handles with the speed and agility of a drive on a bright, sunny day. The distinctive Italian purr of the 3.8-liter, 524-horsepower turbocharged V-8 engine nicely complements the dynamic bass adjustments of the brilliant British Bowers & Wilkins sound system as it compensates to mask road noise. At high speed loud winds become apparent, though they do prove to be an audible reminder that this car can move from 0 to 60 miles per hour in 4.6 seconds and has a top speed of 191 miles per hour. Wet pavement was the norm for the day, and the Quattroporte’s Increased Control and Efficiency (ICE) mode was engaged for much of the 260-mile route, while an electronically adjusted suspension system maintained a comfortable ride in the Poltrona Frau–leather interior with its spacious rear seats. The Quattroporte Maserati V-8 starts at $130,000; maserati.com.
As any serious car collector can tell you, the place to be in January is Scottsdale, Arizona. Every year the city plays host to the Barrett-Jackson auction—the highlight of the winter auto circuit—where thousands of people gather to see and bid on a treasure trove of historic vehicles. Among last year’s sales: a controversial 1963 Pontiac Bonneville ambulance said to have carried John F. Kennedy’s casket from the Bethesda Naval Hospital to the U.S. Capitol and Sylvester Stallone’s 1956 Ford F-100 pickup.
This year’s auction, running January 15–22, will have its own headliners. Among the not-to-be-missed? A red 1954 Desoto Adventurer II Coupe that originally belonged to King Mohammed V of Morocco and a 1928 Daimler P.1.50 Vee Front Royal Limousine, the largest British car ever built. barrett-jackson.com