Hopes ran high for the 1949 Ferrari 166 Mille Miglia owned by Jim Kimberly when it pulled to the starting line of the 2nd annual Pebble Beach Road Races in 1951. It was the first Ferrari ever to race in California. Just a few weeks prior, it had triumphed over all of the competition in its first West Coast race in Palm Springs. Hope for a second victory was short-lived.
As Kimberly flew into turn three of lap 20—just before the halfway point of the race—he lost control of the Ferrari, flipping over a hay bale and landing upside down. The crowd gasped but the driver emerged from the wreck unscathed, and like a scene from a movie, Kimberly’s date for the weekend, actress Ginger Rogers, raced to his side, leaned over and kissed him on the cheek.
Kimberly’s car will return to Pebble Beach this August 16 to compete in a special class at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance honoring Ferraris that raced in the Del Monte Forest. Prior to this year’s Concours, on the morning of Friday, August 14, a closed portion of the old Pebble Beach Road Race course will be reopened and these racing greats will be invited to relive history.
The closed portion of the course was last reopened in 1990 for a reunion of Allards. The Ferraris will gather at the old start/finish line at 10 a.m. for parade laps, and spectators are welcome. To mark the legacy of the Pebble Beach Road Races, the main poster for the 2015 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, painted by respected artist Peter Hearsey, will feature Kimberly’s 1949 Ferrari as it winds through the tall Monterey pines of the forest.
“I have tried to keep the image loose in order to suggest speed and to capture the feel of the landscape,” said Hearsey. “The main thing was to try and capture the car’s inherent purity.”
For information on the events of the 2015 Pebble Beach Automotive Week, or to purchase tickets for the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, please visit: