When it came down to it, the best of show winner at the 2007 Pebble Beach Concourse d'Elegance ended up being both a logical and surprising choice. It's a representative of the featured marque. It had elegant and long lines. It had a very colorful history to match its colorful exterior. It attracted a lot of attention parked high above the water along the coastline beside the 18th fairway at the Pebble Beach Golf Links, and yet it somehow didn't seem to capture our attention as much as a few other spectacular vehicles that made this year's 57th Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance so incredible. It's amazing how easy it is to get jaded when you see one incredible car after another for a full week. But in the end, a 1935 Duesenberg SJ Special, owned by Harry Yeaggy from Cincinnati, Ohio, was named "Best of Show."
This car is more famously known as "The Mormon Meteor." It's a supercharged speedster that was raced and then used as daily transport by Salt Lake City's former mayor Ab Jenkins. Okay, so maybe that's reason enough to elect it. But the car also set a 24-hour speed record (135.58 miles per hour) in 1935. It even sold for a record $4.45 million at the Gooding Auction here in 2004. The thing looks like it's 30 feet long and still ready to race. It really was a deserving champion. More details and quotes from the winner after the jump.
57th Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance Names Duesenberg SJ Special (Also Known as the Mormon Meteor) 'Best of Show'
Classic Cars from 12 Countries and Throughout the U.S. are Showcased During Competition Along California's Monterey Coast
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (Aug. 19, 2007) – The 18th fairway of Pebble Beach Golf Links® hosted some of the world's rarest vintage vehicles and thousands of spectators Sunday at the 57th Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. The Concours competition, which included judging in 24 classes, culminated when a 1935 Duesenberg SJ Special, owned by Harry Yeaggy from Cincinnati, Ohio, was named "Best of Show."
The winning car, also known as "The Mormon Meteor," is a supercharged speedster that was raced by Utah's Ab Jenkins (the former mayor of Salt Lake City) and then driven on the city streets. The car, which set a 24-hour speed record (135.58 miles per hour) in 1935, sold for a record $4.45 million at the 2004 Pebble Beach Auction conducted by Gooding & Company.
"I'm trying to catch my breath," said Yeaggy on the winner's ramp. "I knew I had a great car. I love the styling and the art deco look, and it's a performance car. It's just elegant from every different direction. For me to get a performance car and a beautiful car is a perfect combination. In my opinion, this is the most significant American car ever built.
"I'd also like to give loads of credit to Chris Charlton, who did the restoration work."
Competitors from 30 states and 12 countries brought their prized automotive possessions to the California's Monterey Peninsula for judging. Additionally, proceeds from raffles, auctions, sponsorships and gate receipts helped contribute more than $1 million to charity for the second consecutive year.
"The Pebble Beach Concours has truly become 'the world's concours,'" says Concours Chairman Sandra Kasky Button. "In addition to enthusiasts, sponsors and media from around the globe, this year we welcomed exotic, historic vehicles from as far away as Hong Kong, Australia, Italy, Switzerland, Netherlands and Argentina."
The featured automotive marques for 2007 were Aston Martin – with four classes, including a special exhibition of historic Astons and three postwar classes – and the Auburn-Cord-Duesenberg group. (The James Bond Aston Martin DB5 and Duesenbergs once owned by Clark Gable and Gary Cooper were among the most well-known vehicles.) Additionally, the historic hot rod class celebrated the 75th anniversary of the iconic '32 Ford (known as "The Deuce"), and the "10-plus Club" focused on cars with engines displacing 10 liters or more. Overall, nearly 200 classic vehicles, including the event's oldest competitor – an 1897 Henriod – competed in the annual classic car showcase along the Monterey coastline.
"It happens every year on the third Sunday in August; a blending of automotive design, craftsmanship and history," says Kasky. "Car aficionados nervously roll their vehicles onto the 18th fairway of one of the world's most famous golf courses, seeking to win 'best of show' honors. For spectators, it's an automotive time capsule, with the finest artistry and design on display from more than 100 years of the automobile. And the best news of all, with the $1 million-plus we raised for our charities this year, the Pebble Beach Concours has now contributed well over $10 million during the event's history."
The 58th Pebble Beach Concours, slated for Sunday, Aug. 17, 2008, will include a celebration of the centennial of General Motors and the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run.
First conducted in 1950, the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance® (www.pebblebeachconcours.net) has grown to become the world's premier celebration of the automobile. Only the most beautiful and rare cars are invited to appear on the famed 18th fairway of Pebble Beach Golf Links®, and connoisseurs of art and style flock to see these masterpieces. Charitable donations raised by the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance® now total over $10 million. Related events include the Pebble Beach Tour d'Elegance™ presented by Rolex, Pebble Beach RetroAuto™, and the Pebble Beach® Auction presented by Gooding & Company. The 2007 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance®, featuring Aston Martin and the Auburn Cord Duesenberg group, will be held on Sunday, August 19.