Pebble Beach returns to the roots of the Concours d’Elegance with Prototypes and Concept Cars
Today’s concours are all about the most beautiful cars restored to within an inch of their elegant skins. It wasn’t always like that. The earliest automotive Concours d’Elegance were for new cars – usually coachbuilt, one-off machines – crafted by the finest coachbuilders. It was only after World War II that concours transitioned into the weekend-long – and sometimes longer – events for collector cars they’ve become today.
The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is certainly the most famous of the modern interpretation of the concours, but it also pays homage to its original form with a green dedicated to concept cars, prototypes and previews of next year’s models. Some of these cars have never been seen before; others just haven’t been shown in the region.
Here is a brief look at some of the cars manufacturers presented to a car craving public on August 21, 2016.
Acura Precision Concept
Its extreme dash-to-front axle and rear-wheel-drive proportions distinguish Acura’s Preceision Concept. It’s also the most radical expression yet of the Acura grille shape, and sports heavily sculpted surfaces and dramatically wide rear haunches. In some ways, it’s like the Japanese Chrysler 300, but with better sightlines.
Alfa Romeo Giulia Quadrifoglio
Many of the other concepts on display were “clean sheet” designs, while this Giulia was a variation of a production car. It also debuted in Los Angeles almost a year ago. Regardless, it does offer advanced technology, exotic materials and supercar performance from a compact sedan package.
Aston Martin Lagonda: Vanquish Zagato
Less a concept and more a peek at a limited edition offering of the future, the Vanquish Zagato is the fifth collaboration between Aston Martin and famed Italian design house Zagato. It integrates Zagato cues while remaining immediately recognizable as an Aston Martin. The muscular 6.0-liter V-12 has been tuned to produce 576-hp and should hustle the big GT to 60 mph in 3.5 seconds.
Audi R8 V10 Spyder
While the Audi R8 has been around in several guises for 10 years, the German automaker chose to show the new 5.2-liter V-10 Spyder version at the Concours. The normally aspirated droptop makes 540 bhp, allowing it to sprint to 62 mph in 3.6 seconds and achieve 197.6 mph.
Bentley Mulsanne Extended Wheelbase
At first, glance this Mulsanne doesn’t look appreciably different than its Bentley brethren. But it is longer, allowing for more luxury and greater comfort—assuming that’s even possible. Mostly, it’s a reminder that it is still possible to have a fine automobile built to your specifications.
BMW 2002 Homage
If it’s possible for a concept car to look forward and backwards at once, that’s exactly the 2002 Homage’s mission. It celebrates the iconic 2002 via nods to styling but is a thoroughly modern BMW in every other way.
Bugatti Vision Grand Turismo
This Bugatti concept may be a first: Its inspiration came from the virtual world where the Vision Grand Turismo was created for the video game Grand Turismo. It is due out later in 2016.
Cadillac Escala Concept
The Escala is a new Cadillac concept built to show the company’s latest iteration of its design language. It displays a “dual personality” interior with a cockpit area stressing the driving experience and a rear passenger area that indulges the occupants.
Ford GT Public Showing
By now, most denizens of the car world know about the new Ford GT thanks to its class win at LeMans on the 50th anniversary of Ford’s win in 1966. Powered by a twin turbo V-6, a limited production version will be available soon if you’re lucky enough to be on the short list.
Genesis New York Concept
Melding performance and luxury, the Genesis New York Concept evokes both power and sophistication as Genesis seeks to establish itself as a new marque in the luxury market.
Infiniti Q80 Inspiration Concept
The Q80 Inspiration is a traditional concept if there is such a thing. It is long, low and wide, with heavy, organic sculpting. It also uses a hybrid drivetrain to offer both performance and economy. We’re more likely to see features from the Q80 enter production than to see the Q80 itself in showrooms.
Lamborghini Centenario LP 770-4 Special Edition
To celebrate Ferruccio Lamborghini’s 100th birthday, Lamborghini is offering a limited number of this special edition, which is essentially a tuned and rebodied Aventador LP 750-4 SuperVeloce. Top speed is a dazzling 219 miles per hour.
Lexus LF-LC Concept
This Lexus concept may have first been shown in 2012, but elements such as the grille shape have found their way into the current Lexus design language. Not intended for production, it was an exercise to advance Lexus design and advanced technology.
Lincoln Navigator Concept
Lincoln’s new full-size SUV is big, elegant and truly spacious inside thanks to many tricks gleaned from the yachting world. Access is easy through full gullwing doors and retractable steps for each side.
Lister Knobbly Stirling Moss Editon—New Car Announcement
The Lister Knobbly is essentially a continuation model of the famous Jaguar powered sports racers that Lister used to dominate racetracks throughout Britain, Europe and the United States in the late ‘30s. The shape is 60 years old, but the chassis is new.
Maserati Quattroporte—Updated Model Announcement
Maserati has updated the Quattroporte for 2017 and the stunning four-door will be powered by a choice of 2.8-liter 404 bhp twin turbo V-6 or a 2.8-liter 523 bhp V-8. With either engine the car will be fast.
Mercedes-Benz: Vision Mercedes-Maybach 6
It’s long and low and wide and the 24-inch wheels look colossal. If it weren’t red it would look a bit sinister. Instead, its extreme six-meter length and almost endless hood suggest the proportions of the finest cars from the 1920s and 1930s. Regardless of what they do with this new concept, Mercedes-Benz has our full attention.
Porsche 919 Hybrid Racecar
Famed racecar builder Porsche displayed its repeat Le Mans winner to showcase its rolling test bed of technology. A twin turbo four-cylinder engine boosted to 500 horsepower powers the rear axle, while an electric motor good for 400 hp powers the front.
Rolls-Royce Black Badge Bespoke Series
The Rolls-Royce Black Badge Series is a new line offering more power and more choice when it comes to building a car to personal specifications. It also offers a more aggressive driving experience thanks to a firmer suspension and uprated brakes to match the increased power.
Spyker Cars: C8 Preliator
One quick look identifies the mid-engine C8 Preliator as a Spyker. The sleek new mid-engine sportscar rides on a long wheelbase and is powered by a 4.2-liter Audi V-8 supercharged to 518 bhp and offers prodigious performance.
VLF Automotive: Destino V8
New automakers rarely enter the market, so when they do, it’s no surprise to learn that familiar names like Bob Lutz and Henrik Fisker are involved. Using the mighty LS9 638 bhp supercharged V-8 and a six-speed transaxle, the four-speed luxury sedan (that looks more than a little bit like Fisker’s failed Karma experiment) has a serious performance side, hustling to 60 mph in under four seconds and reaching 200 mph.