Sunday, August 25, 2013

Events Surrounding the Concours d'Elegance, Pebble Beach 2013

What an event, complete with the gratuitous use of French!  There were lots of great antiques, hot rods, and many other cars whose owners thought they belonged.  Here's an incoherent series of notes on what happened, because we neither have the time, nor the budget to do any better.

He said, "We're broadcasting live," while taping several takes.  Maybe NBC was doing some of it live.  In any case he did a good job of entertaining the crowd between takes.  "Back to you, Doug!"

Language Usage:  One big difference between British and American English is what gets Anglicized and what doesn't. Every event is filled with ads for future events. The ads in Monterey are for events all over the world.  I saw one for a, "Concourse of Elegance."   Had the term been fully Anglicized, it would have been an, "Elegance Concourse."  Lowering the register for Americans, it could have been an, "Elegance Contest."  Anglicizing various expressions makes their silliness more readily apparent.  Would anyone buy watches because of Cartier's musts?

Best Refreshments:  Hyundai/Kia.  They had two displays, one for each car company.  The company covered both kinds of weather that could happen at the show.  Hyundai was prepared for the North Coast, with hot chocolate, which is perfect on a cool foggy day.  Kia was ready for summer, with a lemonade stand.  Last year was Kia weather.  This year, it was Hyundai.  Covering both bases was a masterstroke.

Biggest Surprise:  A free ride from the Chrysler shuttle.  All 8 of us piled into a luxury minivan.  Attention to detail abounds.  There was a leather interior, an analog clock and seats that collapsed and came back up without landing on the passengers' feet.  Watch out if they get a reputation for reliability.

Biggest disappointment:  The Concours d'LeMons parody is still worth seeing, but the stench of corporate sponsorship is already there.  A 1977 Trabant made the show and ruined it.  It was great to see it, but it had a for sale sign with a long whine about California regulations. He couldn't be selling it because it was unreliable when new and ostalgie in Northern California is in short supply.

Bentley:  There was an old racing Bentley driving around.  It looked like a giant '32 Ford highboy, but with a big, high framed radiator.  On new Bentleys, you can see that updating old ideas doesn't always work.

Rolls-Royce looks as bad as Bentley.

Upstarts from Coventry:  How does Jaguar get away with selling heritage?  The SS90 showed up in 1935, long after the Brass Era.  I have heard Jaguar owners say that they prefer something with a pedigree, unlike a Lexus made by Toyota, an older company which also produced its first cars in 1935.  As such, Nissan was founded in 1934, with a history of car production going back to 1914.  Chevrolet, Buick, Ford, Cadillac, FIAT and even Mack Trucks have much longer pedigrees than Jaguar.

Most Fun:  The FIAT 500 Abarth. Lots of them were buzzing around.  Everyone wanted one.

Lamborghini:  A tragic origami accident.

Absent:  All of GM besides Cadillac, Ford, Toyota, Volkswagen, Mazda.

Free Advice from the Other Half:  Ferrari should build something simple that looks like what they made in the 1960's and sell it in the $70,000 range. 

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