Thousands may apply, but only 200 make their way to the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance's famed lawn on the Pebble Beach Golf Links. The event is known for displaying some of the most elegant and exclusive cars in the world, but what process must the cars endure to be accepted?

The Concours detailed exactly how it selects vehicles in a video created after last year's event, and it's a great way to kick off this year's event. The process is actually pretty straightforward. A Selection Committee seeks out the best cars from a variety of classes, and it is always open to outside recommendations. Phone calls and emails flood the committee for a chance to enter, and if the committee likes what they hear, the individual will receive a formal application.

In the meantime, the committee also sends out formal applications to previous attendees and notable restoration shops.

What's in the application? Applicants must submit the year, make, model, coachbuilder, and body style of his or her car. The committee also asks for the chain of ownership, information on modifications, history of restoration work, and a final short story on the car's history and significance. Think of the final part as the owner's "pitch."

In time, the Selection Committee agrees to review and vet 1,000 applications. Each class can take just eight cars. Fifteen experts discuss the cars over a two-day-long meeting to trim down the list. The Concours said some cars are an instant "Yes," but many other require debate. Submitted vehicles must also fit the featured marques and special classes announced ahead of applications.

Finally, the experts bring the number down to just 200 cars set for display. The work is important and sets a tone for the event. As selection committee member Chris Bock puts it in the video, "Our judging process really starts with the selection process."

In 2017, 54 of the cars were from first-time participants and 41 came from overseas.

This year, Pebble Beach welcomes seven announced classes: 

  • Motor Cars of the Raj (cars sold into India during British rule)
  • Rollston Coachwork
  • OSCA (Italian mark from 1947 to 1967)
  • Tucker
  • Postwar Custom Citroën
  • Vintage-Era Sporting Cars
  • Eisenhower-era dream convertibles

We'll be eager to see the lovely machinery gracing the lawn when the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance gets underway on August 26.

In the meantime, we'll cover the festivities of the Monterey Car Week that accompanies the Concours. Watch our coverage at our dedicated hub.