Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg
Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Get Up Close and Personal With the World’s Top Classic Cars

The 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance didn't break records in terms of total sales, but it did showcase some of the best cars you'll ever see on the move.

Yesterday, on the Pebble Beach Golf Course near Carmel, Calif., the world’s foremost car collectors and investors ogled 204 of the most expensive and beautiful cars ever made.

Michael Strahan, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jay Leno, and Jackie Stewart walked among them, glad-handing fans while navigating their way past iconic classic autos such as a yellow multimillion-dollar Ferrari Dino, a 1965 Bugatti Type 101C, and a Rolls-Royce Phantom III. (The latter's dash featured cigarette stains left by Winston Churchill.) Not to mention the lone Porsche on the lawn, a “fashion-grey” 1952 Porsche 356 Reutter Cabriolet that won its class for open postwar sports cars.

The Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance is an annual car show set on Sunday at a prestigious golf course near Carmel, Calif. More than 200 cars compete on the 18th fairway in separate classes to receive Best of Show honors, while thousands pay as much as $750 per ticket to attend. 

A 1929 Mercedes-Benz S Barker Tourer took first prize overall at the annual event, winning top honors for its owner’s dedication to minute details of authenticity and provenance. And while the auction sales were down 6 percent this year from 2016, the cigars, Champagne, and canapés did much to bolster spirits among the hundreds of people who spent $750 on VIP tickets to be there. 

Here are the best cars we saw this year, parked just off the bay at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

The Entertainer
The Entertainer

Jay Leno circulated among automakers and enthusiasts during the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in Pebble Beach, Calif. Leno, who has experienced massive success with his Jay Leno's Garage show, is a legendary figure in the car world and has attended this show for years.

 The Winner
The Winner

A 1929 Mercedes-Benz S Barker Tourer drives through falling confetti into the winners' circle on Sunday to accept the Best of Show award. The car is owned by Bruce McCaw of Washington State and has a virtually perfect racing history and provenance.

Steer Me Straight
Steer Me Straight

This is a detail photo of the 1951 Cisitalia 202 SC Vignale Cabriolet. The little green car is known for its "rolling beauty" and attention to details inside and out. Its name derives an old Italian business conglomerate called "Compagnia Industriale Sportiva Italia," which was founded in Turin in 1946.

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Caption That
Caption That

An attendee snaps a shot of the Spirit of Ecstasy hood ornament on a 1937 Rolls-Royce Phantom III Freestone & Webb Sedanca de Ville. The copper grill and trim on that Phantom were exceedingly rare for the time, and this one was kept in perfect condition.

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

 The Future Is Now
The Future Is Now

Volkswagen unveiled the retro-updated I.D. Buzz concept vehicle Saturday on the lawn at Pebble Beach. The electric, all-wheel-drive microbus has ample travel space inside, with an electric driving range of up to 270 miles. It's also fully autonomous, if the driver selects that drive mode while on the road. VW head Herbert Diess said the bus will be on the market by 2020, with more than a million all-electric VW vehicles like it on the road by 2025.

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Drive By
Drive By

A 1936 Rolls-Royce Phantom III H.J. Milliner Sports Limousine rolls past the main clubhouse on Sunday during the concours. More than 200 cars in total showed, with 15,000 people attending and 50,000 on site during Pebble Beach Automotive Week in Monterey, Calif.

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Hat Confab
Hat Confab

During the concours on Sunday morning, a group of judges circulates on the lawn, moving from car to car in each of multiple competitive classes. It's a bit like a dog show: The winners of each class, separated by year and segment, then compete for the Best in Show title.

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Ruler of the Roost
Ruler of the Roost

Hood ornaments on classic cars such as this 1930 Delage D8C Chapron Cabriolet were often ornate, heavy, and irreplaceable. Here, a rooster sits atop the Delage as a reminder of which car brand ruled the roost that year in terms of style and character.

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Leader of the Pack
Leader of the Pack

A long row of cars along the bay is led by a gleaming grilled 1929 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A Castagna Commodore (whose owner is gently polishing the hood). The prep time before the group of judges circles up at one's car can be laden with anxiety. A car's every detail and corner must be pristine in order for it to have a chance to win its class and then contend for Best in Show.

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Art Deco Details
Art Deco Details

The top shot of a blue-gray 1947 Delahaye 135 MS Figoni & Falaschi Cabriolet displayed on the lawn. The cars were made by a French designer from 1935 to 1954, with straight-six engines and full racing capability.

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

The Champion
The Champion

Jackie Stewart( left) is an iconic retired Formula One racing driver who won World Racing Championships three times during a career that spanned the 1960s and '70s. Here, he speaks with professional golfer Ian Poulter (right, foreground).

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Fans Flock
Fans Flock

Many attendees to the concours wore hats and suits, or dresses and pearls, to watch the cars on the lawn. Others wore period-appropriate jumpsuits and jackets. Some arrived at 5 a.m. with hushed voices and windbreakers to watch the cars roll onto the lawn. Later in the afternoon, Champagne and cigars were the order of the day.

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

 Gold Star
Gold Star

This is a detail of a 1937 Rolls-Royce Phantom III Freestone & Webb Sedanca de Ville vehicle on display. This particular car is significant because this is the year Rolls debuted the grand Phantom VIII, the latest iteration of its longest, biggest sedan. Bespoke options of the current Phantom can easily cost more than $1 million.

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

For the Love of Ferrari
For the Love of Ferrari

This is a 1958 Ferrari NV 412 S, one of 70 cars Ferrari unloaded on a special green Saturday evening to celebrate its 70th anniversary. Others on display included a 1962 250 Ferrari in competition yellow and a 512 LM race car, plus Dinos and plenty of models with Pininfarina coachwork.

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

Red Envy
Red Envy

Spectators walk around the lawn at Ferrari's 70-year anniversary celebration Sunday at Pebble Beach. The automaker is traveling the globe this year doing brand activations in world cities to celebrate its heritage. Fans got to see the cars up close, take photos, talk with Ferrari executives, and drink Champagne throughout the event.

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg