Winning Pebble Beach 2019, by Stephen Archer
For nearly 70 years, Pebble Beach has been the ‘Everest’ of Concours D’Elegance events worldwide. Getting to base camp is an achievement but getting to the peak first is very, very difficult.
To win Pebble is very special to the owner and for the car. As David MacNeil told me, ‘It was fantastic, an experience that I shall never forget’. He had won the Zagato class at Pebble in 2019 with his 1962 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato and came within a whisker of winning Best in Show – the most coveted prize of all.
David has a fine collection of cars so why did he put the huge effort into the Zagato? ‘It’s an iconic car, with magnificent styling - one of the greatest post war GT cars and of course this is Zagato’s 100th anniversary.’
In 2016 the same car came third at Pebble in the post-war GT class, so the car was hardly in need of restoration for 2019 – or was it? Here it gets embarrassing: David states, ‘There was this guy Stephen Archer, a credible historian who tore the Zagato apart after the last Pebble. So I had Kevin Kay Restorations work with Stephen to rebuild the car for 2019 – in 10 months I might add!’
The focus was on quality but also a fanatical attention to getting the details correct. The judges (including Andrea Zagato) rarely make comments on cars as they do their work but they were clearly very impressed with the car and to win in Zagato’s 100th year, at Pebble, in a field of 14 other Zagato-bodied cars was an achievement. Post-war cars rarely win ‘Best in Show’ but, as David recalls, ‘Being a finalist was a very proud moment and it was clear from the roar of the crowd that it was the people’s favourite’.
To summit Everest is a team effort and every detail has to be taken care of. Expect to see David back at Pebble trying for the summit of summits!
Books by Stephen Archer