When Leslie Mark Kendall, chief curator of the Petersen Automobile Museum, gets behind the wheel of the jet-black 1938 Delahaye with orange pinstripe details, a feeling of calm comes over him. He starts up the car, listens to its rumble, then turns to me and smiles. “There’s artistry in everything about this car,” he says. “Artistry in how it looks, artistry in the mechanism and artistry in driving it. These cars transcended transportation.”
We pull out behind a handful of incredible cars, with more than a hundred following us in the Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance and Kendall explains to me that this is exactly how it is supposed to be.
“Cars can only be fully understood and appreciated when they are driven, to see them do what they were meant to do,” he says. “It makes your heart sing when you see these cars. Even though they are worth millions of dollars, you can drive these cars every day—they have modern performance. Not driving them is missing the point.”