Like you — I imagine –I am really jonesing to get off of couch arrest and get back to the automotive shows, events, and races that we’ve all missed for about a year.  For me, attending the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance every August is much like the proverbial swallows returning to Capistrano (as the saying goes) every year for mating and migration. 

As I write this, plans are proceeding apace for the whole of Monterey Car Week to happen, almost as normal, back on schedule this August.  And unless the whole Covid scene goes to hell in a basket, I plan to be there to soak in every minute of it – you know, cars, people, parties, driving, racing, auctions, Monterey’s magnificent Peninsula – all of it.

It has been my privilege to serve as a judge at Pebble Beach for 25 years. By any measure, it is the world’s most significant concours, as it’s the one in which the big game collectors wish to play and the one they all want to win; taking home trophies and top-in-class finishes mean substantial bragging rights in the classic and collector car world and add measurable value to one’s car.

What I’ve learned in my more than two decades as a PB Judge is that the process is relatively straightforward. However, the knowledge – and judgement —  required to get it right is deep, and that the rumors and (false) enigma surrounding Pebble Beach must be dismissed as quickly as Hollywood tabloid gossip.

There are nearly 100 judges that convene at 7:00 AM in the judge’s room to soak in the welcomes and opening remarks of Chairman Sandra Button and Chief Judge Chris Bock; both have decades of experience in their Pebble roles and are great leaders who set clear expectations of the judges, broken into small teams and assigned to classes of vehicles; some are clearly defined, such as Pre-War (that’s WWII we’re speaking of) Alfa Romeo or Mercedes-Benz; Open Coachwork, others less brand specific, such as Post-War Sports or Grand Touring.

Some are special annual classes that change each year, like 100 Years of Bentley, 100 Years of Zagato, and 50 years of Lamborghini Miura, or this or that. This year, the selection committee has invited back all previous Best of Show winners. 

It all happens quickly; the judges hit the field at 8:30 AM and must review each car, deliberate, and file their results by 11:45. To make this possible, the judges’ preparation work and pre-show research begin months before the show; each judge is provided with the entry form, history, production numbers, and provenance documentation of each car; all of us do our own pre-event homework, and then the teams often confer and compare notes.  

During the day of show judging hours, judges’ “field

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By: Matt Stone
Title: Inside the Judges Room at Pebble Beach
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Published Date: Tue, 16 Mar 2021 05:07:18 +0000

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