You’ll need to wake up early to catch Pebble Beach in its best light.

The Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance is a gathering of of the oldest, most beautiful, and most expensive people on the planet.  There’s also a golf course full of cars.  Assuming you’ve got your monocle on and haven’t already drank too much 100 year old Grand Marnier, you’ll recognize these as being the among the most important cars on Earth.

It’s as if all the major art museums around the world gave up their most famous paintings for just one day, shipped them to America, and let someone set them up on easels in the park.  “Oh look, Peter, the Mona Lisa.”  “Ah yes, Guinevere, and so much smaller than I imagined.  I’d say that would fit perfectly above the guest bed on the boat!”

Welcome to car culture for the 1%.

By lunchtime, there was in fact a row of yachts parked along the shore like motorcycles in front of a dive bar.  I saw a woman pulling a chihuahua around in a tiny wagon that was made to look like a Porsche 356 Speedster.  The white person privilege meter at Pebble Beach is as firmly pinned as the judges’ badges on their navy blue blazers.

But, the cars.  Man, oh man.  I was lucky to attend Pebble Beach this year thanks to the fine folks at Jalopnik, who brought me with them on their Monterey Car Week antics.  The fairway on the 18th of Pebble Beach was packed with stunning, totally irreplaceable pieces of automotive history.  For a guy from New York City who is used to stepping over garbage to pull parking tickets off of his car, it was pretty overwhelming.

From the 1965 LeMans wining Ferrari 250LM to Sterling Moss’s #722 Mercedes 300SL to a gaggle of rare Shelby GT350 Mustangs, it was a mind-blowing collection of racing history.  For the purists, seeing Ford Mustangs among the gleaming pre-war Deuesenbergs, Bentleys, and Rolls Royces – your typical Pebble Beach material for the last 65 years – was like seeing the janitor eating with the guests at the country club.  I loved it.  Fuck country clubs.

A few of us woke up very early with a plan: we’d photograph Dawn Patrol, the annual tradition of the cars arriving on the scene as the sun rises.  This is how you want to see Pebble Beach.  Not only is the light just perfect as the cars roll into their places against the ocean backdrop, but the hoards of bourgeois are thankfully still absent.

Here are my favorite shots from the early morning arrival of the cars.  For even more of the photos I took the rest of the day, check out the mega post at Jalopnik.com.

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