EVERY August, the history of the motor car rolls onto the competition field of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance where, this year, 216 classic cars from 17 countries and 31 states represented the evolution of the automotive dream.

Among the cars chosen to take part in this premier pageant of elegance and innovation was the 1931 Bentley 8 Litre Gurney Nutting Sports Tourer of Sir Michael Kadoorie of Hong Kong, and it was presented with the prestigious ‘Best of Show’ award at the Concours.

As the golden ribbon was placed on the windscreen alongside ribbons garnered for the car’s class win and completion of the Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance, Sir Michael expressed his gratitude for the award and the car.

 “The Centennial of Bentley may have played a role in this award,” he said.

“But the 8 Litre is the ultimate W O Bentley–era automobile. This is the car that represents Bentley at its finest, and I have been very fortunate to have a car that has this elegance and finish, and that the Pebble Beach Concours feels is worthy.”

 Sir Michael said hoped and imagined Walter Owen Bentley was looking down on the 18th fairway at Pebble Beach, feeling proud of his accomplishment and his company’s centennial celebration. 

“This is a high I have not known before,” he said.

 Concours Chairman Sandra Button said the car exuded strength and confidence, which “translates into elegance.” 

 “Yes, this is a fast, strong, sturdy car, but it also has perfect proportions, a stunning stance, and a boldness that draws you to it. 

“When you drive it, it does everything you ask of it.”

The race for Best of Show this year featured other strong contenders, including Richard and Melanie Lundquist’s 1938 Talbot-Lago T150C-SS Figoni & Falaschi Teardrop Cabriolet, David F. MacNeil’s 1962 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato Coupé and The Keller Collection’s 1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K Erdmann & Rossi Special Cabriolet. 

The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance raised more than US$2 million for charity.

Gooding & Company, the official auction house of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, realised more than $US76 million at the annual Pebble Beach Auctions at the weekend. 

The stars of Friday’s auctions were a 1958 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider which sold for $US9,905,000, ($AUD1.34m)and the 1975 Ferrari 312T, which garnered attention with a final sale price of $US6 million (a cool $AUD8.86 million in our cash). 

Saturday’s stars included the 1931 Studebaker Special Indy Car, which set a new auction world record when it sold for $US1.105 million, ($AUD1.632 million) and the 1939 Alfa Romeo Tipo 256 Coupe, which hammered at $US2.755 million, which translates to a tad over $AUD4 million, Australian.

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Buys

Bill Buys, probably Australia’s longest-serving motoring writer, has been at his craft for more than five decades. Athough motoring has always been in his DNA, he was also night crime reporter, foreign page editor and later chief reporter of the famed Rand Daily Mail. He’s twice been shot at, attacked by a rhinoceros and had several chilling experiences in aircraft. His experience includes stints in traffic law enforcement, motor racing and rallying and writing for a variety of local and international publications. He has covered countless events, ranging from world motor shows and Formula 1 Grands Prix to Targa tarmac and round-the-houses meetings. A motoring tragic, he has owned more than 90 cars. Somewhat of a nostalgic, he has a special interest in classic cars. He is the father of Targa star Robert Buys, who often adds his expertise to Bill’s reviews.