Pebble Beach Brings Huge Excitement
Monterey Week seemed particularly exciting this year. Despite the Tuesday Concours on the Avenue being cancelled this year, there was an undeniable enthusiasm at the auctions, events and the Concours itself. As in previous years, Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance brought together some of the finest collector cars on the planet to compete for Best in Class honors, and then from those class winners judges pick an overall Best of Show. For 2022 the featured automotive classes included 24 Hours of Le Mans Centennial, 1932 Ford Historic Hot Rods, Lincoln V8, Lincoln V12, Graber Coachwork and McFarlan, as well as classes for Ferrari, Duesenberg, Packard and Rolls-Royce. This year car collectors from around the world were invited to transport their rare vehicles to the Monterey Peninsula and undergo scrutiny from a prestigious panel of automotive experts.
There were some amazing Jaguars gracing the field this year! A SS100, owned by Tom Price from California, described it as “a peach of a drive that’s fast and very nimble.” Not hard to understand, given the powerful straight-six engine sat in a car that weighed just 1208 kg. The “100” in the name designated its 100-miles-per-hour (160-km/h) top speed. It could also rocket from rest to 100 km/h in 10 seconds. This example was complete, right down to the original tool kit that came with the car. Florida friends Eduardo and Michell Zavala Harris of St Petersberg were competing with their SS1. This rare SS1 Coupe spent 80 years in Buenos Aires before arriving in the United States. In 2015 it arrived in Miami where Eduardo and Michelle have been lovingly taking care of it.
In the postwar preservation class, well-known collector Christian Jenny from Switzerland showed his 1961 Jaguar E-Type. This particular car was delivered to Briggs Cunningham as his personal car while racing his two other E-types in Europe. Briggs dove this E-type to LeMans were he and Walt Hansgen participated in the 24 Hours race. Also in this class was the 1961 Jaguar Semi-Lightweight E-Type shown by Chip Connor from Hong Kong. This car was the third of three E-types ordered by Briggs Cunningham. Cunningham’s race engineer, Alfredo Mom, developed the car for international endurance racing, modifying and lightening the initially all-steel car to achieve success in the significant races. This car was a true time capsule, remaining in “as last raced” condition.
The 24 Hours of Le Mans was a fabulous site. These special cars were situated on the primo location directly against the Ocean. The 1953 Jaguar Lightweight C Type Race Car won Le Mans in 1953, driven by Tony Rolt and Duncan Hamilton, completed 304 laps at an average speed of 100 mpg, a first for the Le Mans race. This result furnished a 1st, 2nd and 4th finish for C-Types that year (2nd was piloted by Stirling Moss/Peter Walker). This car continued to race with Jaguar and later Ecurie Ecosse. The 1955 Jaguar D-Type achieved its greatest success in 1956 when it claimed overall victory in the 24 Hours of Le Man. That same year it had numerous podium finishes at Goodwood, Aintree, Charterhall and 12 Hours of Reims.
In a spectacular field of classics, ultimately the best of show was awarded to a gorgeous Duesenberg. Even among the six Duesenbergs that have won Pebble, this unique rarity stands out. Lee. R. Anderson Sr.’s 1932 Duesenberg J Figoni Sports Torpedo, was bodied by Giuseppe Figoni, several years before Figoni joined forces with Ovidio Falaschi to produce many truly marvelous cars under the name Figoni et Falaschi. The Frenchman Figoni made this body for another of Fred and Augie Duesenberg’s remarkable American chassis and drivetrain combination, nearly all of which have been uniquely powerful and all of them beauties to behold.
"This car has been a dream for us for a number of years because it was separated 70 years ago. Part of it went one way, and the other the other way, and we are able to buy both of those cars, and then put it back together as original," explained Anderson. "This car was originally ordered by Anthony Chapatia, who was a sugar grower from Peru, one of the largest in the world. He had three or four Duesenbergs. He brought it to Peru, and then later sold it and bought another Duesenberg."
The car then came to the US, but the new owner didn't like the body. "He wanted to change the fenders on it so he took the body off and put a replacement body on it," Anderson said. "Somebody else bought the first body and put it on another Duesenberg chassis. So now you’ve got two cars running around, saying, 'We're the French Speedster.' And neither one of them were the French Speedster anymore. So that's all really interesting."
Pebble Beach never disappoints. This year was particularly impressive and even more than the cars, the passion was palpable. In it’s 71st year, if the crowds were any indication, we’re all back in business!