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1950 Best of Show Winner

March 30, 2020

1950 Edwards R-26 Special Sport Roadster shown by Sterling Edwards

The 1950 Edwards R-26 Special Sport Roadster created and shown by Sterling Edwards took the top prize at the first Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance in 1950 — but if truth be told, winning Best of Show wasn’t Edwards’ goal. He had his eye on winning the Pebble Beach Road Race.

In fact, it was Edwards who had first approached the Del Monte Properties Company, now Pebble Beach Company, with a request that they consider hosting the first real road races on the West Coast in the post-World War II era. He had passed that request directly to his good friend John B. “Jack” Morse, who was both then president of Del Monte Properties Company and a former Yale classmate of the Collier brothers who were behind much of the road racing on the East Coast.

After the decision was made to host the West Coast races at Pebble Beach, a Concours was added to underscore a more social and genteel aspect of motorsports.

As with many a race creator or sponsor, Edwards had his eye on promoting a car by winning a race with it. So, after successfully pushing for the race at Pebble Beach, he entered it with the car he was hoping to manufacture in South San Francisco: the “Edwards” — a bobbed Ford chassis bearing a Lincoln engine and fiberglass body.

He did not officially enter the Concours; he wasn’t listed in the program for it. But at the last minute, he decided to show his Edwards there too. It didn’t require much additional effort; the Concours was being judged just a few blocks from the start-finish line of the race, and Concours cars paraded down that start-finish line on the day prior to the final race to showcase their elegance to all.

After winning the Concours, the Edwards Special won its class in an early race, garnering the Del Monte Trophy. But in the big race, won by Phil Hill driving his Jaguar XK120, it came in 14th overall.

Edwards was a man of determination, and he entered the Pebble Beach Road Races time and again, finally winning overall in 1953 — driving a Ferrari 340 MM rather than a car of his own making.

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