For the last few years, as a precursor to the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, event organizers have included a pre-event road trip to the show. This year, a 1902 Mercedes Simplex will take part in the Motoring Classic rally.
"The Motoring Classic is great prelude to the Pebble Beach Concours," said Pebble Beach Chairwoman Sandra Button. "In a practical way, it demonstrates both the elegance and technical ability that we celebrate."
Each year, some 30 cars participate in the Motoring Classic rally to show they are still capable of performing as they were originally intended. Entering its sixth year, the vehicles deemed elegant enough to participate travel down the Pacific Coast Highway as a prelude to the Concours. The 1500-mile, nine-day journey starts in Seattle, Wash., and ends at Pebble Beach, Calif., prior to the famed car show.
Said to be the oldest Mercedes currently on the road, the 1902 Simplex entered in the event (pictured above) is powered by a 28-horsepower engine. Mercedes adopted the Simplex designation to convey the car's simplicity of use.
"In 1901, this car was far, far ahead of every other vehicle in terms of development and design," said John Bentley, supervisor of the Simplex's restoration. "It's an extraordinary car that was amazingly advanced for the turn of the last century and ultimately put Mercedes on the automotive map. Its performance and hill-climbing abilities were phenomenal. And today, 108 years later, this car is still extremely exciting to drive. It's a remarkable experience to be behind the wheel of a car this age that is still so spritely."
This year marks the 60-year anniversary for the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. The show will be held on Sunday, August 15.