Published April 27, 2021
By KEA YENGST
Carmel thrives on its endless waves of tourism, and the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance has become a favorite for locals and tourists alike. Though the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the globally recognized event in 2020, the 70th Pebble Beach Concours will shift gears this August due to previously made safety regulations, making this year’s car show a drive like no other.
“With it being our 70th year, we have invited at least half of our previous year’s show winners to this year’s d’Elegance,” says Sean Jacobs, the senior director of the Concours d’Elegance. “All cars on tour will be reflective of what makes and models are accepted and displayed both from 2020 and 2021.”
This year is especially notable for the fact that it is the 70th year that Concours has been hosted, withholding its abrupt cancellation in 2020. This shift is not only due to safety precautions, but also due to this notable milestone in the Concours’ history.
While the event itself is planned to remain the same as it has been in previous years, COVID-19 has led to a change in route for some of the more notable events from the Concours, including the Tours d’Elegance, a drive with many of the displayed cars along the 17-Mile Drive in Pebble Beach, Highway 1 and the coast of Big Sur.
“With the logistics and the crowd and such, it would just be more difficult,” Jacobs says. “The route will be shortened and there will be no downtown lunch stop in Carmel, but we will have the touring cars drive down the southern coast of Big Sur.”
The affiliates and recreational options of Pebble Beach’s main event have also been in the process of change, especially with regard to the catering staff of the Pebble Beach Lodge and access to local sanitation stations across the event’s landscape. In a typical year, numerous cars line up early in the morning at Pebble Beach to drive 70 miles down the coast of Big Sur; this year will see a reduction to 65 miles.
Prior to this year’s preview, the cancelation of one of Monterey County’s most prized events in wake of the pandemic was no easy task for the Concours board of directors. Due to many cars and attractions being transported by boat from countries overseas, especially ones with outbreaks of COVID-19, a decision had to be made for the sake of visitor safety and to follow the CDC’s guidelines.
Alongside the now commonly known safety guidelines of wearing masks while on grounds and limited purchases on tickets, the location where all cars will be displayed will be expanded to the 17th Fairway at Pebble Beach so spectators can better follow social distancing guidelines. This expansion practically doubles the geographic area of a typical year, allowing more space to showcase the cars that were intended for the year prior.
While plans and safety regulations are still in the final stages of planning, it is safe to say that this year’s 70th annual Concours d’Elegance will definitely be one for the history books of Monterey County.