"Monday 5 Things" with D. Paul Graham

Monday 5 Things…..The Important of Automobiles

I secured the perfect parking spot by arriving at my desired location at 4:45 on a calm, serene, cool and cloudy Sunday morning; California affording me another day of welcomed reprieve from stifling Savannah humidity. The Bay of Monterey came into view as I walked over Peter Hay Hill, but the morning’s tranquility was abruptly interrupted by the cacophonic roar of engines starting up. I was not disappointed. The discordant jolt to the stillness was soon replaced by rhythmic rumbles of cars (with a combined value of literally hundreds-of-millions of dollars) making their way down onto the fabled 18th fairway of the Pebble Beach golf course. The bouquet of rich exhaust from the cars invaded my nostrils, and I inhaled deeply, letting the moment captivate my senses. The prior three days had been but a precursor to an event that I had wanted to attend for years.

South goes West, if you would, as South Magazine had secured media credentials for me to photograph the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Car nirvana. Here I was, cameras in hand, joining thousands of other car-nuts, petrol-heads and auto-aficionados in the tradition known as the “Dawn Patrol” at the Concours. The ease at which the volunteers handled the sheer logistical challenges of moving so many cars in amongst thousands of people in very little light was not lost on me. Nor was the incredible day that I was about to experience. As the sun came up, the fairway filled with even more people, young and not so young, rich and not so rich, famous and not so famous. Sitting on a bench across from the last remaining Cypress tree in the middle of the on the 18th fairway, I put my cameras down for a moment and simply took in the people, the sea and the breathtaking beauty that is Pebble Beach… And of course, the automobiles. The history that they represent, and the works of art found in each and every car. So, on that note, today’s M5T considers the importance of the automobile.

1. History

One could argue that the automobile may be the single most important invention of man. Each decade (ok perhaps not the 1970’s in North America) offered unique designs and uses for four wheels. Each country has contributed to the history, the design, the utility, and the pure unadulterated fun of the things we call cars.

2. Passion

I still remember the thrill of seeing my first 911 as a 10-year-old. The owner let me sit in it. I was immediately hooked. Cars have personalities – which is why so many people name their cars. Cars are often an extension of their owners/drivers. Cars create communities of like-minded fans of various models and uses for automobiles. Cars evoke emotion. They get our heart rates up. They can stop us in our tracks to take a closer look. They let us feel like kids again.

3. Creativity

Who ever said that engineers are not creative hasn’t met an automotive design engineer. Cars are forms of art. Just look at cars from the 20’s and 30’s that were sculpted pieces of art; both from interior and exterior design perspectives. Take a closer look at the European racing designs from the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, or the sheer elegance and grandeur of sedans from days of old. Consider the muscle cars of the 1960’s, or look at the designs and lines of today’s sports cars. You know the names. You know which ones make your heart flutter.

4. Freedom

Cars let us travel and cover more distance in less time. They are the reason for road-trips. Anytime, anywhere. They give us freedom to explore, time to be alone and think or to simply drive and not think. They could be the spot of a first kiss. Countless memories, good or bad, or of family vacations. They can be our own private stage to sing at the top of our lungs, or drum on a steering wheel (insert unabashed sighting name drop here from the Concours… like Nick Mason of Pink Floyd).

5. Possibilities

Cars allow us to dream. The esthetics of a car does not have to mean that the car is simply a tool of mere transportation. Cars let us race, to push limits with speed. To believe we can race like (insert second unabashed Concours sighting name drop here Hurley Haywood.) Think of what Elon Musk is doing with Tesla. Who would have thought that a hybrid Porsche or Mercedes could have 1,000 horsepower? The dozen other concept cars that were unveiled at Pebble this week represent possibilities for what the car can be and what could be possible in the future.

Here’s to a week of you and your car. Oh, and the picture of the 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO in today’s M5T? Only 36 were made, and this one sold at auction by RM Sotheby’s last Saturday for a record $48.4 million in Monterey. I apologize to the new owner for my nose marks from pressing up against the driver-side window.

© 2018 D. Paul Graham, all rights reserved. 

D. Paul Graham is passionate about people, culture, photography and business.  He has embraced his wanderlust with his travels around the globe and is at peace with his need for spirited drives in all things automotive.  

You can find M5T each Monday here on www.southmag.com  and by friending D. Paul Graham on Facebook.  Paul is also a contributing photographer to South Magazine.  His photographic work can be found on Instagram @dpgraham and at www.imageGRAHAM.com . Your feedback is always welcome.  Email Paul at dpg@imagegraham.com