The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance 2008
Kazunori Yamauchi participates as an honorary judge, and a special award is added to the repertoire of awards, the first award to be added in 7 years since the last.
- Honorary judges gathered at Pebble Beach. Near the center at the forefront is Mr. Yamauchi, and you can see Mr. Shiro Nakamura, Senior Vice President and Chief Creative Officer, Design and Brand Management, for Nissan Motor Company towards the back.
- The judging of cars starts at dawn. The judges check the quality of the chrome, etc. details down to every last bolt. On the right is Hideo Kodama, the Japanese designer who designed for Opel.
- One of the feature cars makers this year was the Lancia. Coveted models such as the Lancia Aurelia and Flaminia were lined up during the concours event. In the forefront is the Stratos prototype that Bertone worked on. Wiper positions and the tail lights differ from the production model.
Concours for restoring historic cars, and competing for their level of excellence, are held throughout the world, and are events that place car culture in the limelight. However, looking at the type of cars present, their quality, history, and the level of the event’s perfection, there are none other like the “Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance”.
On August 17, Kazunori Yamauchi, producer of Polyphony Digital Inc., participated in the 58th “Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance” this year as an honorary judge, and was honored with the opportunity to award a special award, the Polyphony Digital Trophy. It has been 7 years since the last addition of a special award to this world renown concours, rich in tradition and history.
The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is held at the high class resort of the same name, approximately 60 miles south of San Francisco in the U.S. This place is also extremely famous as the location of the United States Open Golf Championship, and the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance event actually uses the fairway of the 18th hole on this distinguished golf course. It is held annually, on the 3rd weekend of August each year.
Those allowed to enter cars into this contest, are limited to those who have entered cars before, or those that have been recommended by previous participants and have received an official invitation from the committee.
Though divided in detail by year and model, to receive special awards and the honorable “Best of Show”, the car must undergo a very strict evaluation by famous race drivers, designers, journalists, and other hand picked judges from around the world.
The judgment, which is based on “how close the car is to its original, new condition”, goes as far as to evaluate the selection of bolt materials and the stitching of the seats, and its requirements are like that for a work of art.
As the phrase “Pebble Beach Condition” refers to “Immaculate” in the historic car world, you can get an understanding of the rigorousness, and the honor being awarded in this contest. Other than Kazunori Yamauchi, there are also other notable Japanese members that have been on the judging panel as well, such as Shirou Nakamura, Senior Vice President and Chief Creative Officer, Design and Brand Management, for Nissan Motor Company, and Mr. Wahei Hirai, the Managing Officer of Design at Toyota Motor Corporation.
The awarded car, is the oldest and only existing prototype in the world:
Out of these carefully selected jewels, this years Polyphony Digital Trophy went to the 1967 Lamborghini Miura P400, Bertone Prototype.
The Miura was originally only a show car to promote Lamborghini cars, but because of the outstanding popularity of the Bertone design presented in the 1966 Geneva Motor Show, It was decided to be put into production. The winner of the trophy is the only existing prototype that was created before its production, and is 1 inch lower in height than the production model.
The owner of this historic classic is J.W. Marriot. As you can guess from the name, he is the founder of the international hotel group, Marriot International. In 1967, he talked to Lamborghini and purchases the 2nd prototype car of the Miura that was just announced, as a “New Car”. This is that very vehicle. Because Prototype No. 1 was destroyed later, this is the oldest Miura in existence. Amazingly, in the 40 years since Mr. Marriot purchased the car, there has only been one owner, and it has been maintained in its original condition. Its existence is a miracle by itself.
Finally, the grand prize at Pebble Beach, the “Best of Show” went to the 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Touring Berlinetta. (Owned by Jon & Mary Shirley).
Polyphony Digital plans to continue partaking in the “Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance”, and offering the “Polyphony Digital Trophy”, to support those who are making an effort to preserve irreplaceable, precious automotive culture for the future.
- 【Comment by Kazunori Yamauchi, Gran Turismo series producer】
- “At the pebble beach event, there was an incredible number of very old cars, in absolutely magnificent condition.
For someone like myself, who has always been in touch with only more modern cars, it was a great opportunity to get a feel of the era in which cars were born.
Cars were born at the end of the 19th century. The solid mechanisms of these old cars gathered here, tells a story; that back then, man still lived in the “Age of Fire and Steel”.
And video games that we work to create, were born at the end of the 20th century. The end of the 20th century, was the start of the “Information Age”.
What I felt at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, was that I hope to some day make “Gran Turismo” a bridge that crosses the gap between these two eras that are separated by a hundred years. It looks like we still have much more work to do.