24 Apr

Pebble Beach concours, other Monterey Car Week stalwarts cancel 2020 events due to coronavirus concerns

Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, 2019. Photo by Matt Litwin.

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, 2019. Photo by Matt Litwin.

Pebble Beach, CA – Due to “ongoing health concerns” related to the coronavirus pandemic, the organizers of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance have canceled the premier event on the automotive calendar for the first time in 60 years and only the second time in the event’s history, a decision that has triggered other Monterey car week cancellations.

“Some of our overseas entrants were nearing the point of putting their cars on boats and planes, and their own travel arrangements have long been made,” Sandra Button, the chairman of the concours, said in a statement. “The same is true for many of our international cadre of judges.”
The announcement came on the same day that California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that no timeline exists for reopening the state and that, even when the state does start to reopen, it will do so slowly—certainly avoiding mass gatherings such as those that descend on the central California coast during the annual Monterey car week.

According to Button’s statement, organizers of the concours—originally scheduled for August 16—recently completed their car selection process and sent out invitations to car owners, all of whom will now be automatically entered in next year’s concours, scheduled for August 15, 2021. “The acceptance letters stressed that these cars were invited to appear at the 70th celebration—even if it was delayed,” the announcement noted Featured classes for the 2021 concours will remain the same as the 2020 event: a selection of past winners, Pininfarina-bodied cars, Porsche 917s, Talbot-Lago Grand Sports, Miller racing cars, Iso cars, early electrics, and cars of La Carrera Panamericana. All tickets purchases in advance for the 2020 concours will now be valid for the 2021 concours.

Other Monterey car week cancelations and changes of plan announced this week:
* Gooding and Co., the official auction house of the Pebble Beach concours, has announced that it has canceled its Pebble Beach auction, originally scheduled for August 14-15.
* Organizers of Legends of the Autobahn, the Monterey car week show focused on German carmakers, had announced the cancellation of their 2020 show, originally scheduled for August 14, prior to the Pebble Beach announcement.
* On Thursday, following the Pebble Beach announcement, organizers of The Quail, a Motorsports Gathering, announced that they would suspend their event, scheduled for August 14, and their rally, scheduled for the two days prior; officials at Bonhams, which holds an annual auction in conjunction with The Quail’s event, announced that they will schedule an alternate auction in California to replace the Quail Lodge auction.
* Also on Thursday, organizers of the Concorso Italiano canceled their event, originally scheduled for August 15, citing “the uncertainty of events being permitted by state officials and the California Governor.”
* Organizers of the McCall’s Motorworks Revival postponed their event, originally scheduled for August 12.
* Worldwide Auctioneers has postponed its Pacific Grove Auction to 2021.
* Organizers of the Concours d’Lemons have canceled their 2020 Monterey event.

As of this writing, organizers of other shows and auctions that make up Monterey car week have not announced similar cancellations or changes of plan.

The Pebble Beach concours, which was supposed to celebrate its 70th anniversary this year, has only been canceled once before, in 1960 due to inclement weather. Organizers of the show at the time rescheduled it for the following spring.

Courtesy Daniel Strohl, Hemmings.com 4/23/20