The 2021 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance was an automotive Elysium: Hundreds of cars scarcely seen in the wild line the famed golf course’s 18th fairway for enthusiasts to view up close, as they usually do for this annual event. But it was all the more special as the 70th installment since COVID-19 canceled the 2020 event.
Each year, Monterey’s Car Week’s crescendo is so packed with the finest and rarest examples of automotive history, we worry a few crown jewels might get crowded off the fairway and take the plunge into Stillwater Cove. Thankfully, none have suffered any flood damage—so far.
There were 230 autos in all at the 2021 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, curated from discerning collectors around the globe. We wandered the rows in wonder and admiration of each, but some left a lasting impression. Here are 13 models we found on the 18th fairway we can’t stop thinking about.
Our Favorite Cars From the 2021 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
1. Best in Show: 1938 Mercedes-Benz 540K Autobahn Kurier
This swooping, elegant car nabbed Best in Show honors at this year’s installment. The design’s flawless lines evoke an alluring 1930s sense of speed tempered with exquisite beauty—surely a showstopper worthy of the trophy.
2. 1931 Alfa Romeo 6C 1750 GT Touring Coupé
Jack Braam Ruben — Maastrict, The Netherlands
While we probably wouldn’t drive it much, this Alfa Romeo is an extremely unique piece. Perhaps the only 6C 1750 left of the three (or four) that were made by Alfa in the early ‘30s; its Carrozzeria Touring coachwork was an evolutionary step toward Superleggera construction that Carrozzeria pioneered.
3. 1965 Aston Martin DB5 Vantage Convertible
Lawrence Stroll: Warwickshire, England
James Bond’s DB5 was a hardtop, but given our druthers we’d rather drive the convertible. Only 123 DB5 droptops were made, and only five of those came with the Vantage spec.
4. 1948 Bentley Mark VI Facel-Métallon Cresta Coupé
Fred and Donna Kriz: Monaco
This post-war Bentley was the first to be finished by famed Italian coach builder Pinin Farina. Rumored to be one of only 13 Crestas made, the gracefully elegant lines of this two-door fastback make it one for the ages.
5. 1929 Bugatti Type 35B Grand Prix
The Pearl Collection/Fritz Burhard: Switzerland
The Type 35 is an icon of pre-war racing and an early example of Bugatti’s technical prowess with its hollow front axle, cast aluminum wheels, and integrated brake drums. This eight-cylinder Bugatti won the 1929 Spanish and French Grand Prixs, and sold at the 2021 Pebble Beach Auctions for a shade over $5.6 million.
6. 1960 Ferrari 250 GT Pinin Farina Cabriolet Speciale
Robert Davis: Elizabeth, NJ
Originally built for a French lawyer and friend of Enzo Ferrari, this stunning 250 sits on a short-wheelbase chassis, is powered by a V12, and outfitted with a lightweight, alloy gearbox. It also features a removable hard-top roof.
7. 1966 Ford GT40 Mark I Coupe
Janus Associates: San Clemente, California
There’s no clear winner in the battle of the blues when it comes to Ford vs Ferrari on this list, but this was the singular GT40 to get an Opalescent Sliver Blue paint job. One of only 31 Mark 1 road cars, this 1966 Ford GT40 Mark I Coupe served as pace car at the 1967 Laguna Seca Can-Am race, where it was driven by legendary racer Stirling Moss and James Garner, aka Jim Rockford.
8. 1970 Iso Grifo Bertone 7 Litri Coupe
Michael Eckstein: Kirkland, Washington
The slightly obscure Italian brand Iso Grifo only produced cars between 1963 and 1974, designing and building its wares in Italy but using American-made engines. This car is one of only 15 seven-liters that features the sought after five-speed ZF transmission.
9. 1976 Lamborghini Countach LP400 ‘Periscopia’ Bertone Berlinetta
Malcolm Welford: Irvine, California
Painted in her favorite color, this Countach was originally constructed and customized with white accents for Princess Dalal pint Saud Al Saud as a birthday gift.
10. 1936 Lancia Astura Series III Tipo Bocca Pinin Farina Cabriolet
Robert Bishop: Palm Beach, Florida
Of the pre-war Pinin Farinas, this was our favorite. To look at it is to know love. Named for an Island off the Italian west coast, during the Astura’s production run between 1932 and 1939, around 3,000 were built.
11. 1964 Mercedes-Benz 230 SL Pininfarina Coupe
Russell Hook: La Jolla, California
This one-of-one 230 SL, AKA the Pagoda, was conjured by Tom Tjaarda, who was then in his freshman year designing for Pininfarina. The special version is as clean as they come with a permanently fixed roof rather than a detachable hard top the production model featured.
12. 1896 Riker Electric Roadster
Richard and Judy Riker: Grant’s Pass, Oregon
Most people don’t know there were several makers experimenting with electric-powered automobiles more than a century before Elon Musk sold his first Tesla. This single seater uses five batteries to power its electric 3HP motor. So, it doesn’t have a ‘Ludicrous’ mode, but it was still quick for the time.
13. 1964 Porsche 904 GTS Coupe
The Ingram Collection: Durham, North Carolina
Perhaps the most visually arresting Porsche of all time, the 904 was built for racing. This precursor to the legendary 917 series featured a light-weight fiberglass exterior and a flat, four-cylinder engine with a top speed of 160mph.
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