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The Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance Blog

Our Historic Ties to Racing

July 23, 2021

Pictured above: After winning the first Pebble Beach Road Race, Phil Hill could barely fit the tall trophy in the car.

70th Celebration to Feature All Overall Pebble Beach Road Race Winners

Seventy years back, on November 5, 1950, the very first Pebble Beach Road Race took place. To mark the occasion, we paired Derek Hill with his father Phil Hill’s winning Jaguar XK120 to retrace the first Pebble Beach race circuit.

Phil Hill was forced to start well behind the pack seventy years back when the first race for the Pebble Beach Cup took place on the residential roads above what is now The Lodge at Pebble Beach. The clutch on his Jaguar XK120 had locked in the engaged position in a preliminary competition, and when he pushed the starter button on this occasion a large lurch forward was expected. Instead, nothing happened — and a push start was required. Twenty-five laps later, as the evening fog began to mix with billowing dust and flying gravel, Hill crossed the finish line in first place. 

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The Jaguar XK120 Phil Hill drove to victory in the first Pebble Beach Road Race.

The date on that first Pebble Beach Road Race was November 5, 1950. 

Amidst the racing, a small contingent of collector cars — participants in the first Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance — paraded down the start-finish straight. 

“The Race itself was all so new,” Hill said years later. “We were driving through this forest, with just a bunch of snow fencing and hay bales lining the road. It was a real road race, and I hadn’t been in one before.” Hill would go on to win the World Drivers Championship just over a decade later.

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The Ferrari 750 Monza that won the last two Pebble Beach Road Races.

Three more drivers and four more cars would record overall wins in the Pebble Beach Road Races before the tree-lined course proved to be too dangerous and a new circuit would be built to host them at Laguna Seca beginning in 1957. But the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, which began in tandem with the races and has continued on long after them, will gather all five of the winning cars at its 70th celebration, which is scheduled for August 15, 2021.

“The history of the Pebble Beach Concours begins with the history of road racing on the West Coast of the United States, and we want to recognize that heritage when we come together for our 70th celebration,” said Concours Chairman Sandra Button. “We want to pay tribute to the people that founded this event and the cars that made their mark here.”

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The Allard J2 that Bill Pollack raced to wins here in 1951 and 1952.

The overall winning cars of each of the annual Pebble Beach Road Races will be displayed on the 18th fairway of Pebble Beach Golf Links, alongside many past Best of Show winners from the Concours. 

As previously announced, additional features and special classes will pay tribute to early electric cars, those coachbuilt by Pininfarina or powered by Miller, Porsche 917, Lamborghini Countach, Iso Rivolta, and Cars of the Carrera Panamericana. 

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Phil Hill stands beside the Ferrari 250 MM Vignale Spyder he drove to victory in the 1953 Pebble Beach Road Races.

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