Navigating the Road Ahead
June 24, 2020
Over the years, while enjoying a host of tours and rallies, I like to think I’ve become a pretty competent navigator. No, I’m not Denis “Jenks” Jenkinson, who helped Sir Stirling Moss win the 1955 Mille Miglia in record time; I don’t use a tiny roll of paper with the route written in reverse, nor a complicated system of hand signals. But without the need for excessive speed, and with a decent routebook or map, I can usually guide a car to its destination even when GPS isn’t working.
Moreover, I’m not easily rattled, and I’m willing to lend a hand, or two, when necessary — relaying tools, holding assorted parts, or pushing our London to Brighton car, a Lenawee, uphill (not to mention trying to douse the fire under its seats while barreling across a finish line in Brighton).
But navigating through the last three months, seeking to do my best for the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, has been difficult. It’s hard to make plans without knowing certain parameters, without knowing what will be allowed — or, more simply, what the future will be.
The route before us has yet to be determined — or perhaps it has yet to be created.
Amidst these times of confusion and turmoil, when we are faced with so many life-and-death concerns, why do cars even begin to matter?
As I asked myself this question, my thoughts turned to an eloquent essay by Ed Herrmann, who served for many years as our Master of Ceremonies. Ed used to write a column for the print edition of our Insider magazine, and in 2009 as the world was struggling to emerge from financial calamity, he argued passionately for cars as a source of inspiration. He noted that many of the cars we celebrate were created from times of significant struggle, such as the Great Depression or after World War II, and they serve as a reminder of all that can be accomplished even in the worst of times. Ed’s words are reprinted in this digital Insider for your consideration. And his comments are underscored by the creations of Pininfarina, founded in 1930 and a focus of the forthcoming 2021 Pebble Beach Concours.
I think that cars are a way to connect us to others. Cars are a language spoken by many people, uniting us across borders, classes and races. And in these trying times, communication and connection are more important than ever.
At the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, we come together to celebrate cars, but what we create is a caring community — and it is that community that I find myself missing now.
I want to be with you all as soon as possible. I want to be able to see and share your latest restoration and preservation efforts, I want to mourn with you over the loss of dear friends like Sir Stirling, I want to be able to raise a toast to the new enthusiasts who will carry our love of cars into the future, and I want to join with you to do even more to help people in need through our charities. (As you will read in the next issue, Lexus, a longtime partner of both the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and Pebble Beach Company, has generously stepped forward despite the absence of our event to offer a car to help us raise funds for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Monterey County.)
Until the Concours is once again possible, we are doing all that we can to communicate and connect with you online. This digital Insider, the first issue of a new monthly online publication, is a first effort in that regard. And we are also pleased to announce that our new website, which has been in planning and development for over a year, is now live at
With your input, we are working to determine the right road forward for the Concours. Meanwhile, I hope you find the route that is right for you.