We each have our own words to describe the magic of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Magnificent. Astounding. Crowded. Expensive coffee. Too many people. A once-in-a-lifetime gathering of important cars and people.
Can’t get a picture with all the people in the way.
Where did I leave my car parked? My pass doesn’t get me to the indoor bathrooms?
I used to own that car, but it was red then. I sold it too cheap.
Will the Gooding Auction start before they announce Best of Show?
How am I supposed to carry all of these books around?
But there was one word I don’t recall using in my 34 years of attending Pebble:
The 70th annual Pebble Beach Concours was scheduled for last Sunday, August 16.
Due to COVID-19, it was cancelled.
As I looked back over my social media posts about Pebble from the past few years, I realized just how much I had taken for granted.
My pictures show thousands of people pressing against one-another to get a glimpse of a car or a famous owner. The golf course was packed, without a mask in sight.
Luckily, SCM created its first and only Yearbook for 2019 – you can flip through the pages here and marvel at a world that seems almost beyond imagining.
There is no doubt that Pebble and other cars shows will return. A combination of medical advances and our new patterns of behavior will make that possible. But the jury is still out on whether there will ever be a time when thousands of us feel safe being in the same space as so many other people.
Even though we didn’t appreciate it at the time, we were lucky to have the experience of Pebble Beach. For 69 years, every August we entered a phantasmagorical world where every car was perfect, and every owner and spectator nattily attired.
This is a good week to savor those memories. We just don’t know when we will have them to enjoy again.