GT series creator Kazunori Yamauchi was on hand at the 2008 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance last month to award the first “Polyphony Digital Trophy”. As an honorary judge, Yamauchi was given the chance to recognize his favorite vehicle from the hundreds of elite and storied competitors at the event. His final selection, a 1967 Lamborghini Miura P400 Bertone prototype, is certainly an exceptional automobile, but it got people talking in our forums. Could his recognition of a Lamborghini be a sign of things to come? It’s a fun theory, but don’t hold your breath. Instead, consider this unprecedented event a landmark for Polyphony Digital, and one of the highest recognitions the Gran Turismo series could possibly ever receive. Who could have dreamed the first new award in more than 7 years at Pebble Beach would be in the name of a video game developer? This respect and recognition is a testament to the professional, mature style that Polyphony and Yamauchi have crafted into the GT series over the years. Check out more details about the event after the jump…
The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is held at the high class resort of the same name, approximately 60 miles south of San Francisco in the U.S. This place is also extremely famous as the location of the United States Open Golf Championship, and the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance event actually uses the fairway of the 18th hole on this distinguished golf course. It is held annually, on the 3rd weekend of August each year.
Those allowed to enter cars into this contest, are limited to those who have entered cars before, or those that have been recommended by previous participants and have received an official invitation from the committee.
Though divided in detail by year and model, to receive special awards and the honorable “Best of Show”, the car must undergo a very strict evaluation by famous race drivers, designers, journalists, and other hand picked judges from around the world.
The judgment, which is based on “how close the car is to its original, new condition”, goes as far as to evaluate the selection of bolt materials and the stitching of the seats, and its requirements are like that for a work of art.
As the phrase “Pebble Beach Condition” refers to “Immaculate” in the historic car world, you can get an understanding of the rigorousness, and the honor being awarded in this contest. Other than Kazunori Yamauchi, there are also other notable Japanese members that have been on the judging panel as well, such as Shirou Nakamura, Senior Vice President and Chief Creative Officer, Design and Brand Management, for Nissan Motor Company, and Mr. Wahei Hirai, the Managing Officer of Design at Toyota Motor Corporation.
Out of these carefully selected jewels, this years Polyphony Digital Trophy went to the 1967 Lamborghini Miura P400, Bertone Prototype.
The Miura was originally only a show car to promote Lamborghini cars, but because of the outstanding popularity of the Bertone design presented in the 1966 Geneva Motor Show, It was decided to be put into production. The winner of the trophy is the only existing prototype that was created before its production, and is 1 inch lower in height than the production model.
The owner of this historic classic is J.W. Marriot. As you can guess from the name, he is the founder of the international hotel group, Marriot International.
In 1967, he talked to Lamborghini and purchases the 2nd prototype car of the Miura that was just announced, as a “New Car”. This is that very vehicle. Because Prototype No. 1 was destroyed later, this is the oldest Miura in existence. Amazingly, in the 40 years since Mr. Marriot purchased the car, there has only been one owner, and it has been maintained in its original condition. Its existence is a miracle by itself.
Finally, the grand prize at Pebble Beach, the “Best of Show” went to the 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Touring Berlinetta. (Owned by Jon & Mary Shirley).
Polyphony Digital plans to continue partaking in the “Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance”, and offering the “Polyphony Digital Trophy”, to support those who are making an effort to preserve irreplaceable, precious automotive culture for the future.