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…