monterey car week recently concluded with its traditional finale, the pebble beach concours d'elegance. if vintage cars were greek gods, pebble beach would be mt. olympus but even more exclusive. this week's challenge was to find a car made in the past ten years that could earn a spot on the pebble lawn 50 years from now. the budget: $150,000.
fresh off a win last week, road & track senior editor john pearley huffman wanted to make it two on the trot. instead, he pulled up way short of the west coast green—like, in bowling green, kentucky—in a chevrolet corvette z06. the american coupe wore a magnetic red hue, but pearley had a lot of convincing to do to make the car itself anywhere near as attractive.
contributor jonathon ramsey chose a first-gen, special-edition porsche boxster spyder. he argued its connection to the vintage porsche 550 spyder—a shoo-in for pebble beach—would make the spyder a lock for the lawn in five decades. the judges cross-examined his arguments with questions about the spyder's fiddly manual roof, loud exhaust, and a driver's seat that might have been trampled by elephants.
senior editor elana scherr tried to turn the judges green with envy or british racing fever with a lotus evora 400. calling out the english coachwork wrapped around a toyota engine, she drew a line from her lotus back to 1960s italian coachbuilt cars like the iso grifo, another pebble favorite. the evora is a wonderful car to drive, the question is whether lotus tuned it to conquer window shop as easily as it conquers b-roads.
deputy testing director k.c. colwell followed ramsey over from germany, carrying the keys to a first-generation audi r8 v-8. colwell tried to sell the r8's timeless design and marvelous powertrain in the kind of sports car we'll never see again. but the r8 is a bit more common than the typical pebble beach showstopper—not hard to do with all the one-offs on the lawn, admittedly—and it's a shame about that understeer. . .
deputy editor tony quiroga surprised everyone, rolling silently through the back gate with a cadillac elr. pitching the electric car's concept looks and, well, not much else—something about the leather, maybe?—the elr struggled as much here as it did on the showroom floor.
tune in for talk of judges, maaco, earl scheib, seersucker suits, iron lungs, and pearley's warm goodbye to the best dog ever, alabama.