The biggest honor a collector car can receive is “Best of Show” at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, so it only makes sense that the biggest honor an automotive event can receive is “the next Pebble Beach.”
There are multiple candidates popping up around the United States; Amelia Island, Greenwich and Radnor Hunt come to mind. But The Bridge, in Bridgehampton, NY, isn’t exactly shooting to be that. It’s clear that it’s aiming to be something different altogether.
The setting seems to fit, though – it’s a well-manicured golf course, separated from society and overlooking the water. And similarly, what you find scattered across the greens and fairways is hardly found anywhere else in the world, and ranges from muscle cars to supercars to legendary classics. Anything that’s collectable is brought out for The Bridge, sometimes exclusively so.
But from there, The Bridge attempts to establish itself as something entirely new, and we may well see events aim to become “the next Bridge.” It’s that special already.
In just its third year, The Bridge has established itself as one of the most whispered-about events in the Northeast. This results from a key difference the event has created: you can’t simply pay to get in. The Bridge is invite-only, with show cars, guests and media all carefully evaluated and selected to curate a proper atmosphere.
Arriving to the event is via shuttle; it’s that exclusive that even registered guests can’t park there. The shuttle pulls into the golf club and ascends up a winding driveway, not unlike many other private clubs. But the driveway almost feels like a racing course. Interesting. As it turns out, The Bridge Golf Club is converted from the Bridgehampton Race Circuit which hosted major racing events in the 1950s and 60s, and remained operational for various events until 1998. Several key features of the race circuit survive to this day, including the main straight and Chevron bridge which the shuttle navigates through upon arrival.
Before you even get off the shuttle, there’s a Ferrari Enzo sitting outside. OK, here we go.
The fairways of The Bridge are vast and give you stunning views of Noyack Bay in the distance. The topography also allows for dynamic vehicle displays – where else would you see a Jaguar XJR-15 sloped off to the side of a green, right where you’d try to chip in for eagle? The edges of the fairway proceed with historic collector cars, ranging from the Maserati MC12 and 300S, to nearly every desirable Porsche 911 you can imagine as well as their 959 superiors. Lancia rally cars return to their off-road roots, while classic Ferraris sit amongst each other like classes M-1 and M-2 at Pebble Beach. It’s nearly impossible to point out which cars are “featured” as just about every class display is uniquely independent and showcases the cars uniformly. As you wander the show, your eye is drawn to absolutely everything.
But as the show reaches its Golden Hour, the atmosphere becomes magical. Unlike other outdoor automotive events, The Bridge is an afternoon and evening event, so its 7 o’clock end time comes with a gorgeous sunset over the Hamptons hills. Casting a beautiful golden light over the course, the sun envelops each and every car with a soft light before the sun tucks away for good. As spectators have begun to file out, and the grounds become quiet, there’s a sudden serenity that can never be achieved at any other Concours.
So The Bridge is definitely not trying to be the next Pebble Beach. It might be on to something much more beautiful.