05 Aug

Special Memories as duPont Family Members Prepare Historic Automobiles for Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance August 16

 

 

The Riegel family with their 1931 duPont Model H Sport Phaeton at the 2005 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance

The Riegel family with their 1931 duPont Model H Sport Phaeton at the 2005 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance

PEBBLE BEACH, CA – Richard “Dicky” Riegel III, a member of the duPont family, has a strong first memory of the only duPont Model H in existence. As he and friends emerged from their first grade classroom, his grinning father awaited him in the one-of-a-kind car.

“Dad’s enthusiasm and love for cars was infectious,” says Dicky. “Dad wasn’t always a man of many words, but you wanted to be with him because you could sense how much he appreciated the vehicles he was around—which immediately sank into me. My early love of cars was inevitable, unavoidable.”

Dicky’s father, the late Richard “Jerry” Riegel Jr., bought the 1931 duPont Model H Sport Phaeton in 1962, and after driving it for decades he restored it for the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 2005. There, it was First in Class and Most Elegant Open Car—an award often just a step away from Best of Show.

“This was one of the defining moments in my father’s life—and my mother, my sister, my wife, my son and daughter, and I were all there to share that super moment with him,” says Dicky. “I can say with a high level of certainty, the Phaeton will always be a member of our family.”

This year Dicky returns to Pebble Beach with the same Model H, now co-owned with his son Richard. Six other duPont family members will also be bringing their elegant automobiles to the forthcoming Concours on August 16, where duPont is a featured marque.

Only 537 automobiles were created by E. Paul duPont in a short twelve-year span from 1919 to 1931. About 30 remain in existence, and more than half belong to duPont descendants. Whether inheriting a legendary automobile or landing one at an auction, taking ownership of a duPont car has become a rite of passage. The duPonts now strive to keep the marque alive.

The duPont family transformed the early automotive world in many ways. They held leadership roles that helped define the multi-tiered nature of General Motors, they saved Indian motorcycles from an early demise, and their fast-drying paints and modern fabrics decorated classic cars from a multitude of marques. Their automotive legacy continues on in the world and in the lives of many duPonts today.

Automotive enthusiasts from around the world will flock to California’s Monterey Peninsula the second week of August, culminating with the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance on Sunday, August 16. As usual, several events will take place across multiple days, including auctions, historic races, art exhibits, and more.

Ferrari is this year’s featured marque. A special class will include examples of Ferraris that competed in the Pebble Beach road races of the 1950s, a street competition that predated Laguna Seca Raceway on a course that took drivers through the narrow, forested roads near the grounds of the current Concours. The last road race at Pebble Beach was in 1956, when driver Ernie McAfee fatally crashed his Ferrari into a tree.

1949 Ferrari 166 MM Touring Barchetta

1949 Ferrari 166 MM Touring Barchetta

The days of competitive street racing at Pebble Beach are gone, but spectators will have the chance to see many of the Concours d’Elegance entrants in action on Thursday, August 13, driving down a route that spans 17-Mile Drive and a portion of Highway 1.

Besides a collection of cars that bear the DuPont nameplate, this year will also feature designs by Italian coachbuilder Carrozzeria Touring, postwar examples of cars built by America’s Cup racer Briggs Cunningham, and early vehicles by Pope, a Hartford CT based bicycle manufacturer that experimented with several models, including electric vehicles.

03 Jan

Edward Herrmann, actor and voice of Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, dies

Edward Herrmann had a passion for American classic automobiles and served as Master of Ceremonies for the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

Edward Herrmann had a passion for American classic automobiles and served as Master of Ceremonies for the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

PEBBLE BEACH, CA —Edward Herrmann, the melodious-voiced actor who many on the Central Coast knew as the voice of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, died on Wednesday. He was 71.

Herrmann died at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital of brain cancer, his son, Rory Herrmann said. The actor, who had been hospitalized for several weeks, was surrounded by family members including his wife, and his three children, his son said. “He was full of knowledge and kindness and goodness. … He always wanted to share the great and beautiful things in life,” said Rory Herrmann. That included art, music and classic cars.

Organizers of the annual Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance issued a statement reading, “It is with a sad heart but much fondness and many wonderful memories that we note the death of our great friend, Edward Herrmann. Ed was an award-winning actor with an Emmy, a Tony, a Theatre Guild Award, an OBIE Award and several Audie Awards to his credit. But he was best known to us and to many others for his contributions to the car world, including his longtime participation as Master of Ceremonies at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.”

The statement continued, “Ed first joined our Concours team as Master of Ceremonies in 1999, and he continued to lend his magnificent voice and calm presence to our Concours through this past August-his 16th year with us. Along the way he played a major role in celebrating thousands of great cars as well as the people who created and cared for them. Ed had a particular fondness for great American Classics-for Packards, Duesenbergs, Cords and Auburns-but he had most recently fallen in love with and restored and participated in rallies with a 1934 Alvis. We shared an incredible ride together, and we will miss Ed. Our thoughts go out to his wife Star and his whole family.”

The towering actor brought Franklin D. Roosevelt to life in films and documentaries, won a Tony Award and charmed audiences as the dad on “Gilmore Girls.” The actor’s favorite role was playing President Roosevelt, which he did in projects including the TV movies “Eleanor and Franklin” (1976) and its sequel “Eleanor and Franklin: The White House Years” (1977) and in the 1982 movie musical “Annie.”
Herrmann also provided the voice for FDR in Ken Burns’ documentary series “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History,” which aired on PBS earlier this year. His urbane tones were heard on a variety of other documentaries and on hundreds of audio books including Laura Hillenbrand’s “Unbroken.” He had recently narrated a documentary on cancer, Rory Herrmann said.

He appeared frequently on the big screen, in major films including “Reds” and “The Wolf of Wall Street,” and was an acclaimed stage actor whose Tony-winning performance came in 1976 for “Mrs. Warren’s Profession.” Television was also a familiar home, with recent appearances on “The Good Wife” and “How I Met Your Mother. His best-known role came on the 2000-07 series “Gilmore Girls,” on which he played the patrician father of a single mother (Lauren Graham). Herrmann, a native of Washington, D.C., graduated from Bucknell University and studied his craft on a Fulbright scholarship to the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art in 1968-69.