The Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance Blog

For the Love of Cars

March 21, 2021

I often talk about driving the cars we love, but lately I’ve been thinking about how the cars we love drive us. This is not a reference to self-driving technology; it’s a nod to the fact that what we love often determines what we do. 

This past Valentine’s Day was a time of introspection for me, a time to think deeply about everyone and all that I love—and how that love has shaped me and the course of my days. 

The “who” was easy: my daughter Sonja was born on that holiday, so she tops any Valentine list. Martin, my parents, and the rest of my family are also priorities for me. And then, quickly, a host of friends come to mind. 

Martin and many of our friends come from the car world, of course. Cars are the things—the “what”—that we love, and much of our lives revolve around them. But more importantly they come with the “who” we love—our car tribe of friends.

Cars can supply a jolt of excitement or inspiration when needed, or they can serve as steady balance or calming balm in our day-to-day lives. As you will read in this Insider, cars were initially a source of therapy for Dr. Fred Simeone. That’s how his magnificent collection got started—in a garage across from the hospital where he faced the intense demands and stress of his work as a neurosurgeon. Turn a few pages further in this issue and you can witness the escapades of Dennis Varni and Dick DeLuna on the Carrera Panamericana, then decide for yourself whether that venture sounds fun or frightening. 

When we invited you, our readers, to share your favorite Pebble Beach Concours memories, many of you talked of course about your favorite cars—everything from an antique Henriod and early Silver Ghosts, to classic Duesenbergs and Bugattis and postwar singularities like the 1967 Gyro-X. In fact one reader, Carl F. W. Larson, named all of these and many more! 

Sandra’s daughter, Sonja, enjoying the ocean view from The Beach Club in 1998.

But you also talked about what your love of cars drove you to do. At age 16, unbeknownst to his parents, Bill Penny hopped a series of buses to get from his home in Eugene, Oregon, to Pebble Beach. John Ehle adamantly refused to miss our lineup of Ferrari GTOs even though he was ill; he arrived on foot and left via ambulance. And after the Concours, having fallen in love with a specific car here, more than one of you went in search of a similar model. Having seen what was possible, Christian Philippsen even started another Concours — not to mention the many subsequent events and competitions that he has founded to further a love of cars among enthusiasts worldwide.

Despite all that we lost this past year, cars are still with us. And many of us have been able to tinker with our cars—or go for a drive. For these things, I’m truly grateful.

But for so many of us, cars are a shared passion, a primary source of connection. And we miss gathering together. I can’t wait until my calendar is filled once again with not only cars, but car events and car people. A virtual gathering is not the same as seeing cars in person or talking about cars with car people in the presence of — cars! 

Kicking tires is kicking tires after all. 

At this point I’ve written “Pebble Beach Concours” in bold on the 15th day of August in my 2021 Calendar, and I hope you have too. I can’t wait to see you there.

Join me, for the love of cars.


Sandra Button


An Unmatched Tradition of Automotive Excellence since 1950

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