By on August 19, 2011

In the interests of timeliness, we’ve been posting press shots of the latest unveils from Pebble Beach as they happen, but our man on the ground, Alex Dykes, is updating us with his own photos and commentary as well. In his latest update: live shots of the Cadillac Ciel, a 1931 ‘llac, the last of the four-cylinder Lotus Exiges, a $52k Rolls-Royce-trimmed MINI, a Spyker and the Landie Evoque. Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Pebble Beach.

Like many of us, Alex seems completely taken by the dramatic Cadillac Ciel concept. But he notes that the concept’s unobtainium appeal just got a little stronger, as

The Cadillac concept car supposedly drives, stops and turns. This begs my question: why the hell doesn’t GM just sell it? It’s enormous, brash and no doubt expensive to make. Sounds like the perfect Cadillac to me. ATS? Meh. give me a Ciel.

Now that he mentions it, I’d take one too. Who knows what it would cost or where I would keep it… this is a concept that tickles all my brain’s most irrational pleasure centers.

Why? Because it’s the first “real Cadillac” in such a long time, I was beginning to genuinely believe that history had passed such a thing by. And maybe it has… after all, things have changed a lot since this 1931 Caddy ruled the road. And sometimes the past just isn’t enough, as Alex explains

Augusta Little ordered it new and was the sole owner until she decided to give it back to Cadillac in 1976, no doubt as a hint to tell Caddy they were gettin it all wrong.

Obviously the message took a while to sink in. And even when Caddy has “gotten it right” since ’76, it’s been largely with concepts like the magnificent Sixteen, which went nowhere in terms of production. Now that GM has the cash to bring something similar to the Ciel to market, the presence of a classic like a ’31 on the same stand sends an encouraging message. The only fly in the ointment is the reason that GM has cash for such a project, and the PR challenges involved with building a super-luxury car on the heels of a government bailout.

Speaking of bailouts, the Saab-Spyker stand at Pebble Beach was not a cheerful enclave of money and privilege this year. Alex describes a tragic scene:

Saab’s booth was deserted, and the two Saab employees were muttering that all the press was asking was “when is Saab closing for good”? Oops.


MINI, on the other hand, was flexing its pretensions of moneyed privilege, showing its hand-trimmed, $52k base-price “MINI Inspired By Goodwood.” So rareified are these super-plush MINIs that

nobody was allowed to sit on the hallowed cow thrones or sully the lambs wool rugs. Other than the sumptuous accessories, the interior is the same as a normal Mini which makes me wonder if it wouldnt be cheaper to just get a regular mini, and have Xzibit pimp your ride.

Speaking of pimped rides, the last-ever four-cylinder Lotus Exige, the Matte Black Final Edition, was on hand in all its murdered-out glory. In accordance with its new desperately upmarket image, Lotus is giving its new Exige the Toyota V6 from the Evora, so this is the last of the stripped-out, four-pot Lotus club racers. Whether you think Lotus’s new direction will succeed or fail, you’ll probably agree that this bit of history will be back to Pebble Beach in the future, possibly worth quite a bit more than it is now.

True to form, Alex continues to be uninspired by the latest in luxury crossovers, photographing but not writing anything at all about the Range Rover Evoque. I suppose we’ll have to wait for a review…

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12 Comments on “Live From Pebble Beach: The Show Goes On...”

  • avatar

    I’m sorry… I didn’t know the name and thought Maybach but there was a glint of “Did they render a Chrysler 300 onto a shoebox?” due to the rim selection and the flat face.

    Oooh shiny! Cadillac Ciel ‘eh?

  • avatar

    A question: Is this the first 4-door drop-top since the 1960’s Continental?

    A thought: It is nice to see Caddy can still build a car like this (even if, at this point, it is only a concept prototype.)

    An observation: A few years ago, MKF was all on, blathering about how Ford had to play to its strengths, and to be proud about being Red, White & Bold … yet it seems Caddy was the first to be able to deliver on that concept…

  • avatar

    Ciel looks like the marriage of a 1971 Eldorado back end and a giant brick. Production readying it with a real windshield, weather protection, wheel openings divorced of the back doors, and rationalized wheels and tires will make the CTS look decent.

    • 0 avatar

      Coming from the man who defended both the Accord Crosstour and the Acura TL.

      • 0 avatar

        By defending the Crosstour you mean I said it was no worse looking than the 535 GT, the Panamera, or the A7: It’s not. By defending the TL you mean I said it was alone in its class in not having a fart in the wind chance at being reliable. It is, particularly when you consider it is available with a manual transmission. Coming from the man who calls himself PintoFan…

  • avatar

    I hate these ‘concept prototypes’. They either look hideous and immensely stupid, or in this case the look awesome – but will never get built anyway. You just can’t win.

  • avatar

    So when is Ford going to sue Range Rover for making illegal copies of the new Explorer?

    • 0 avatar

      On the one hand, it does look like an Exploder. On the other hand, it looks like Land Rover products tracing straight back to 1970… If you have anything remotely like a point, Ford should get ready to settle with the Indians…

  • avatar

    to pay 52k for a mini, u got to have more money than Sultan of brunei and yours brains all blown out by snorting Ks.

  • avatar

    At this particular moment in GM’s history, I think it’s safe to say that even concept cars don’t get approved without a solid business case. I can’t say for sure what it is, but I am sure that there’s a hard-nosed reason why the Ciel exists. I suspect it’s a trial balloon: Directionally, it’s where GM’s current leadership wants the marque to go, and they want a sanity check before committing big bucks to the products that will take them there. I’m sure the reaction to this car — not just in the media, but among the big-bucks car geeks at Pebble, aka a slice of its intended demographic — is being watched and tracked very closely. (Ed, any clue as to how the Ciel is being received in person?)

    • 0 avatar


      The Ciel echos many of the styling cues seen in last year’s XTS Platinum Concept (and thus, the upcoming production XTS), which leads me to believe that this may foretell the direction in which Cadillac design themes are headed over the next several years.

      The only disappointment is that the taillights look wickedly good in red, but I don’t see how the design can work in markets that require amber turn indicators.

  • avatar

    I would like to see GM build this car and shoehorn the Cadillac 16 engine into it, along with the choice of a manual or 8 speed auto.

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