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Pebble Beach Concours d´Elegance
Aug. 11-15, 2010

Hausmann's 1923
Bugsby is leading a line of stunning, collector cars across the Rocky Creek Bridge on Highway 1 during the Pebble Beach Tour d'Elegance. (Photo by Steve Sweetman)

Jump to:
  The Long Road to Pebble Beach
  The Pebble Beach Tour d'Elegance
  The Photo Shoot
  Saturday is Cleaning Day
  It's Show Time
  The "Most Yellow Car" Award
  Bugsby in the Blog-o-sphere

The Long Road to Pebble Beach

Test drive to Sunol
A week before leaving for Pebble Beach, Lynn takes Bugsby on a 55-mile shake-down drive.

Lynn pinches himself to make sure it's real. Exhibiting at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance was his number-one goal for the car when originally proposing acquisition of Bugsby to his wife, Jeanne, over five years ago. It's hard for Lynn to believe that he's actually going to accomplish this aspiration, showing the car at what is arguably the premiere collector car show in the world!

One of the organizers of the show tells Lynn that of the 600 owners that applied to show their cars at Pebble Beach this year, only 180 cars were accepted to exhibit. Indeed, Lynn is humbled and excited by the rare opportunity he has been granted.

While working for years toward this objective, the effort has intensified and reached a singular focus in recent months. Major new items completed this year include:

  • a folding soft top, boot, side curtains and cockpit cover created by Joe Anino (something that car has been without since at least the 1940s);
  • new pyramid-textured, aluminum flooring;
  • six new B.F. Goodrich Silvertown Cord 5.50x20 tires; and
  • repairs, nickel plating and polishing of all the bright work by Johnson Plating.

In addition, work on a myriad of smaller details occupies Lynn for the weeks leading up to the show. Only days before he is scheduled to leave are all of the action items on his long preparation list finally done. For the first time since he's owned the car, it is complete and everything works.

In spite of years of experience in a variety of national and international professional endeavors, Lynn experiences a touch of "stage fright" in the final days. He knows that Bugsby will be displayed along side some of the rarest and most painstakingly prepared cars that exist anywhere. Lynn steadies himself with the thought that he has done the best job that he can within resources. Besides, it's too late to do anymore, now. The trigger has been pulled and events are now ballistic.

On Wednesday, Jeanne and Lynn trailer Bugsby to Pebble Beach. They unhook and store the trailer containing Bugsby on the Polo Field at the Equestrian Center and are pleased to meet several friends that they've made from other shows, tours and car activities.

Later they attend the gala pre-event reception hosted by Infiniti, then go out for a delightful dinner in Pacific Grove.

The Pebble Beach Tour d'Elegance

Bugsby in line at 7 am tour cars Carmel street scene
Bugsby is queued for the tour at 7 a.m. (left). On the road, a long string of beautiful cars runs before Bugsby (center). In Carmel-by-the-Sea, Lynn explains some of the finer points to a spectator (right). (photos by Jeanne Kissel)

Thursday is the day for the Pebble Beach Tour d'Elegance, a 70-mile drive on which all cars in the show are expected to participate. Of course it is a great pleasure to drive the show cars along beautiful the Big Sur coast with breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. More importantly, the tour demonstrates that the cars are not simply static museum pieces, but kinetic works of automotive art.

By 7 a.m., Bugsby joins the other 160 cars being staged for the tour. It is surprising and exciting to see the large number of spectators on hand that photograph and move amongst the parked cars. For about 90 minutes, entrants and spectators mingle and interact as the tension mounts.

At about 8:30 a.m., the cars start to move out. Collected into three waves, each wave is escorted by the California Highway Patrol on motorcycles. All along the tour route, people are stationed with cameras, smiles, waves, cheers and contagious enthusiasm for the cars as they pass. One begins to feel a little like a movie star from all the adulation that the spectators lavish on the cars.

Lynn wonders to Jeanne how many images of Bugsby are being captured this day; literally thousands he thinks. Steve Sweetman is one of these spectators/photographers/enthusiasts who has positioned himself on the Rocky Creek Bridge on Highway 1 to view and take pictures of the cars. He will later introduce himself at the show and subsequently send the photo that appears at the top of this page.

By about 11:30 a.m., the tour arrives in Carmel-by-the-Sea for a spectacular catered lunch. More surprising than the lunch is the massive crowd of people waiting to greet the cars. Before entering town, the cars form up into parades that are individually escorted into town by the Highway Patrol. Having participated in several parades, the Kissels have never seen so many cheering people as are on hand to greet the cars. The tour cars are parked in four lanes, completely occupying both sides of Ocean Avenue, the main street in Carmel. For the next 2-1/2 hours, the spectators flow around the cars and interact with the drivers and passengers. What a hoot!

The tour ends in Pebble Beach with a champaign toast and a framed photo of the car for each participant.

This exciting day is concluded with a spectacular concours kick-off party hosted by Jaguar.

The Photo Shoot

photo shoot
Deserted earlier, the lot soon fills with spectators.

Although another fantastic reception awaits them on Friday evening, there are no major events on Lynn and Jeanne's calendar for the day. Instead, they plan to take Bugsby out for a joy ride around the Monterey Peninsula. As they are preparing the car, two photographers working for Ron Kimball Studios approach them, asking to take pictures of Bugsby. In exchange for the photos, they promise to send Lynn an art print.

Bugsby by the ocean Bugsby by the ocean
Here are two shots mimicking angles selected by the photographer.

They suggest using a vista spot along 17 Mile Drive overlooking the ocean which they found deserted earlier. While it is still deserted when they arrive to take the pictures, that doesn't last long. Once Bugsby is parked and the photographers pull out their camera, tripod and other equipment, the small parking lot quickly fills with spectators. It is something of a marvel. Once again, the events reinforce the feeling of being with a movie star.

This evening, Gooding and Company host a reception and preview of their cars for auction. The Kissels see many lovely cars, but are most enchanted by a 1931 Bentley 8 Litre Sportsman Coupe. Their buying decision is made easy as it's auction estimate of $700,000 to $900,000 is safely well beyond their means.

Saturday is Cleaning Day

Jeanne cleaning Bugsby
Jeanne helps Lynn give Bugsby a final cleaning.

Saturday is devoted to cleaning Bugsby for the big show on Sunday. Spending several hours and no small amount of effort, Bugsby is made as presentable as the Kissels can manage.

Others have much better plans and expend much greater effort preparing their cars. Most other cars are sitting atop tarps, to cut down on the dry grass and stray dirt, a lesson to remember for the next big show. Some people are using compressed air to blow dust off of wheels and frames. One individual has a portable generator powering an electric buffer. Many cars have small work crews of three of more individuals. Some people work in preparing cars for the show over two days!

Saturday evening is the gala event reception, dinner and dance sponsored by Jaguar, Credit Suisse, Ketel One Vodka, Galante Vineyards and MSN Autos. Raw oysters, a vodka bar (the entire 7-foot tall bar is formed from ice!) and a seven-piece band are just some of the things that impress the attendees. Fantastic food, drink and dancing occupy the Kissels until about 10:30 p.m., when Jeanne finally drags Lynn off the dance floor. They plan to get up very early tomorrow, so it's past time for them to go home and hit the sack.

With all the excitement and anticipation of the coming day, Lynn finds it hard to sleep.

It's Show Time

Waking before 4:30 a.m., the Kissels have Bugsby on the show field shortly after 7 a.m.. They are very surprised by the large crowds that are already in place to view and photograph the show cars as they enter the field.

Schwarzenegger and Leno
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and comedian Jay Leno at the show. (photo by Andrew Kissel)

In the early hours of the show, Jay Leno (comedian and renowned car collector) is walking the field. He rounds a corner, sees Bugsby and exclaims, "Oh, a Kissel!" He stops and exchanges a few words with Lynn. That was cool!

1920 Mercer - class winner 1922 Duesenberg 1922 Mercer
This 1920 Mercer Series 5 Sporting is the winner of Bugsby's class. This 1922 Dusenberg Model A (left) and 1922 Mercer Series A (right), both in Bugsby's class, are owned by friends of Lynn and Jeanne.

There are seven cars in Bugsby's judging class. Every single one of them is drop-dead gorgeous. Class B: Vintage contains

  • 1st Place Winner—1920 Mercer Series 5 Sporting—John W. Rich Sr., Pottsville, Pennsylvania
  • 2nd Place Winner—1919 Meisenhelder 6-55 Runabout—Stahls Automotive Foundation, Saint Clair Shores, Michigan
  • 3rd Place Winner—1924 Renault Labourdette Skiff—Dick DeLuna, Woodside, California
  • 1921 Heine-Velox Sporting Victoria—Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum, Fairbanks, Arkansas (exhibit only)
  • 1922 Duesenberg A Millspaugh & Irish Sport Phaeton—Robin and Michelle Onsoien, Nipomo, California
  • 1922 Mercer Series 5 Raceabout—Tom and JoAnn Martindale, Santa Cruz, California
  • 1924 Kissel 6-55 "Gold Bug" Speedster—Lynn and Jeanne Kissel, Livermore, California

The Kissels know the owners of two of the cars in Bugsby's class, coming to know the Onsoiens and Martindales on earlier car tours. A 1925 Duesenberg Model A that Robin restored was sold late last night at the Gooding & Company auction (see Lot #58 on these auction results). Yahoo!

Son Andrew and friends Steve and Maurie travel to Pebble Beach and to join the Kissels on the show field. It is a great feeling to be able to share these special moments with family and friends.

There are interesting interactions with the media this day. There is a video interview for "Around Carmel with Hunter Finnell" that might appear sometime in the future on his website. Jan Tegler (contributor to the collector car section of Autoweek.com) and Brian Smith (chief editor for RedlineReview.com) collect material for possible future articles.

Judging Bugsby Lynn with Bugsby Friends and family Interview with Hunter Finnell
The judges are giving Bugsby a thorough examination. (photo by Jeanne Kissel) Lynn, dressed in 1920s golf clothes, stands next to Bugsby. (photo by Anne Steele) Friends Steve and Maurie, and son Andrew, join Jeanne and Lynn at the show. Video interview with Hunter Finnell. (photo by Steve Louis)

Bugsby doesn't receive any additional awards this day, beyond the considerable privilege of being on the show field. Before and during the show, Lynn tells people that he doesn't expect that Bugsby will place in his class knowing that the competition is the crème de la crème of the collector car world. Still, deep in his heart he thinks of what a treat it would be to drive Bugsby up the ramp and into the winners circle at Pebble Beach. Ah, not this year.

The "Most Yellow Car" Award

When they finally return with Bugsby to their trailer late in the afternoon, a fellow exhibitor stops to chat. Lynn is tired and most of the conversation is a blur, but there was one thing said that stuck in his mind. The fellow exhibitor said he thought Bugsby should have received the "most yellow car" award. Now that is funny!.

Bugsby and the castle
Bugsby poses in front of "the castle".

The Kissels stay another night and the next day they take Bugsby for a drive around the Monterey Peninsula. Most of the concours crowd has dissipated and life appears to be returning to something of a more normal pace in the area. Stopping at various scenic spots along the coast, then going for a lunch in Pacific Grove, they have a nice, mellow après-concours (after concours) day. On the way back to the trailer they anticipate driving past a house that is for sale that they have been admiring all week (and which they've dubbed "the castle"). On a whim, they drive in the open gate, hoping that the house is empty, and take a dozen photos of the car with the house as a backdrop. Lynn and Jeanne hope that the owners don't mind using their beautiful home as a photo backdrop, but the pictures are some of the nicest ones that Lynn takes this week.

Without a doubt, Lynn expects that there may never be another car experience to top these six days spent in Pebble Beach at the World's Concours d'Elegance.

Bugsby in the Blog-o-sphere

Lynn is thrilled to find many stories and photos of the Pebble Beach Tour and Concours posted online. Many include spectacular photos of Bugsby.

A video interview with Lynn and Bugsby appears in Episode 105.1 (second video on this page) of Around Carmel with Hunter Finnell. (The interview appears about 7/8-ths of the way through Episode 105.1. After the video has started playing and has been downloaded to your computer, you can pull the little progress bar along the bottom of the viewer to more quickly jump to the relevant portion. Also, you can view the video "full screen" if you click on the appropriate control.)

The most beautiful pictures of Bugsby are posted on Autoblog.com, in a post called Monterey 2010: Pebble Beach Tour d'Elegance creates ultimate photo-ops. In a gallery of 160 high-resolution images of the tour there are three spectacular pictures of Bugsby.

Robert Myrick Fine Photography has well framed photos of the individual cars on the tour. Here's a link to the one of Bugsby.

There appears to be a comprehensive collection of photos of the vehicles at the event on Ultimatecarpage.com. The tour and concours photo galleries of the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance report contain these photos of Bugsby.

Another good shot of the car can be seen on Sportscardigest.com in an article entitled Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance 2010 – Photo Gallery.

There are six photos of Bugsby on Supercars.net off of the page 2010 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance.

Here is an interesting New York Times article "‘Besotted’ at Pebble Auto Show, Perfectly the Norm," that emphasizes (too much Lynn thinks) the moneyed side of the show. Readers' comments left on this New York Times posting on the best-of-show car reflect mixed reactions to (and some misinformation on) the Pebble Beach event. (There were some cars behind ropes, but most cars and owners were accessible on the open lawn. Exhibitors and attendees are not exclusively from the ranks of the super rich, and non-gazillion-dollar cars were indeed among those judged.)

Here are links on Jay Leno's website with a photo gallery of the show and a video of the 1933 Delage that is awarded Best-of-Show.

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Last updated: June 23, 2012