UPDATE: Pebble Beach issued a press release which we’re including after the jump.
You might not have heard of Horsch before, and we don’t blame you – pre-war German cars are kind of obscure by any measure if they don’t have a three-pointed star mounted on the hood. Well, August Horsch was the founder of Audi (both mean “to hear,” Horsch in German, Audi in Latin), but he started out making cars under his own name. This absolutely gorgeous Horsch is a ’37 853 Sport Cabriolet, and the moment we (and anybody else at the show) saw it, it was a foregone conclusion that it would be the best in show. No contest – it was unbelievably beautiful and simply overshadowed everything around it, including the largest collection of Bentley racecars ever assembled. Even folks who don’t even like pre-war classic cars would be hard-pressed to deny that this is simply a work of art. It attracted a huge crowd on the viewing green but we managed to get enough shots to make a gallery for you to peruse below.
The 853 here was powered by a 5-liter straight-eight engine, and the coachwork was by Voll and Ruhrbeck Company, a German coachbuilder which apparently pulled out all the stops to deliver a visually arresting car. Look at those flowing headlight cowls! Remember, it was the ’30s and anything this expensive was all handmade, which makes it doubly impressive. In addition, this opulent ride was produced at the height of the Great Depression, and at the same time that Hitler was consolidating control over Europe as the shadows of a horrible war loomed. Strange time to make such an indiscreet auto. We’re glad it survived WWII to show everyone on the greens on Sunday how to blow the world’s most impressive and difficult competition out of the water.
59th PEBBLE BEACH CONCOURS d’ELEGANCE
NAMES 1937 HORCH ‘BEST OF SHOW’
More than 200 Classic Cars from 19 Countries are
Showcased During Competition Along California’s Monterey Coast
PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (Aug. 16, 2009) – A 1937 Horch 853 Voll & Ruhrbeck Sport Cabriolet, owned by Robert M. Lee of Sparks, Nev., was named “Best of Show” at the 59th Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance held Sunday along the 18th fairway of Pebble Beach Golf Links®. Proceeds from raffles, auctions, sponsorships and gate receipts helped contribute more than $1 million to charity for the fourth consecutive year.
“The Horch has wonderful lines, a great proven chassis and all the beauty that make it the whole package,” said Lee, who also won best of show at Pebble Beach in 2006. “Pebble Beach is the greatest car show in the world and winning here is indescribable. It’s been a wonderful day for us here and I have the best team to thank for making it happen.”
Competitors from 30 states and 19 countries brought their prized automotive possessions to the California’s Monterey Peninsula for judging in 28 classes.
“This Horch is an incredibly beautiful open car with stunning styling,” said Concours Chairman Sandra Button. “It’s very Teutonic, but also almost French. It’s fantastic. Bob certainly knows how to prepare cars for competition.
“The Pebble Beach Concours is an annual glimpse of history’s most illustrious and significant automobiles. It’s absolutely thrilling to see more than 100 years of automobiles lining the 18th fairway – coming to Pebble Beach from places as far as Hong Kong, Argentina and Australia – while knowing that all proceeds are adding to the more than $13 million we’ve raised for our charities through the years.”
In 1935, the Horch Company, founded by August Horch in 1899, introduced a new model with a 5-liter, straight-eight engine called the Horch 850. The shorter wheelbase 853 model, which won Best of Show today, was very popular among Germany’s rich and famous, offering luxury at a very competitive price. The last Horch was built in 1958.
Bentley, a featured marque at the 2009 Concours, had the largest presence on the Pebble Beach show field. The Concours also celebrated the centennials of Bugatti, Audi and Morgan, and highlighted the styling of Zagato. Motorcycles were displayed for the first time in a class of British bikes built through 1959. In all, more than 200 cars and motorcycles were present, encompassing more than 100 years of the automobile.
Former Tonight Show host Jay Leno brought his 1928 Bugatti Type 37A 2 Seat Sports to Pebble Beach and was a guest auctioneer. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger also participated on stage, auctioning his signed bomber jacket, which raised $30,000 for charity. Comedian Jerry Seinfeld was a Concours participant, collecting second place in the Porsche class with his 1970 Porsche 908/03 Spyder.
The Pebble Beach Concours occurs every year on the third Sunday in August. Among the featured marques for the 60th Pebble Beach Concours, slated for Sunday, Aug. 15, 2010, will be Alfa Romeo and Pierce-Arrow. The event will also welcome Hot Rods back to the show field, as well as the second annual motorcycle class showcasing American bikes. Other features will be announced in coming months.
First conducted in 1950, Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance® (www.pebblebeachconcours.net) has grown to become the world’s premier celebration of the automobile. Only the most beautiful and rare cars are invited to appear on the famed 18th fairway of Pebble Beach Golf Links®, and connoisseurs of art and style flock to see these masterpieces. Charitable donations raised by Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance® now total over $10 million. Related events include the Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance™ presented by Rolex, Pebble Beach RetroAuto™, and Pebble Beach® Auction presented by Gooding & Company.
Pebble Beach®, Pebble Beach Golf Links®, Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance™, and Pebble Beach RetroAuto™ are trademarks, service marks and trade dress of Pebble Beach Company. All rights reserved.
Pebble Beach Company, headquartered in Pebble Beach, Calif., owns and operates the world-famous Pebble Beach Resorts®, including The Lodge at Pebble Beach™, The Inn at Spanish Bay™ and Casa Palmero®. The company also operates four renowned golf courses: Pebble Beach Golf Links®, Spyglass Hill® Golf Course, The Links at Spanish Bay™ and Del Monte™ Golf Course. Its other famed properties include the scenic 17-Mile Drive® and The Spa at Pebble Beach™. In addition to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance®, Pebble Beach Resorts® annually hosts the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, The Walmart First Tee Open at Pebble Beach and the Callaway Golf Pebble Beach Invitational. Pebble Beach Golf Links® has hosted four U.S. Opens, four U.S. Amateurs, one PGA Championship, and will host its fifth U.S. Open in 2010. For reservations or more information please call (800) 654-9300 or visit the Website at www.pebblebeach.com.