Well, what an experience.
My first trip to the United States and it’s to the Monterey Automotive week for 2016. I was told there’s so much to see and do that you can’t do it all. Let me tell you – that’s absolutely true.
The Monterey Peninsula – it’s a magical place, scenic, beautiful, undulating and with the wealth of the location and California in general brings out augur ably the best of the best anywhere in the world. In Australia we are in awe when one, perhaps two or three early 1960s Ferraris are at one of our events, or indeed a brace of ERAs on track, but it’s just another day in Monterey – and you have to quadruple the numbers!
There are articles navigated from this page of the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and the auctions, with a little summary of my six days on the Peninsula below.
Carmel-by-the Sea Concours on the Avenue– Tuesday 16th August 2016
A bonus on day one of this adventure staying in Carmel and arriving just in time to see the magnificent line up of cars on Ocean Avenue and surrounding streets and witnessing the Best of Show presentation.
Best of Show went to this Ferrari 275 GTB/4.
Above: Ferrari 275 GTB/4 wins the Carmel-by-Sea on the Avenue Concours.
Keeping on with the Ferrari theme I stumbled on this “off-road” vehicle, the Ferves Ranger. One of 600 builtit made its debut at the 1966 Turin Motor Show. Ferves stands for ‘Ferrari Special Vehicles’ – and was designed by Carlo Ferrari as an off-road version to the Fiat 500 & 600 models it’s rear-mounted two-cylinder in-line engine catapults it to a maximum speed of 45MPH. I’m not sure I’d want to be in it at that speed!
Also parked along the kerbside in a side street was this magnificently original 1956 Maserati A6G Gran Sport Berlinetta Frua. It’s one of four Frua bodied Gran Sport’s built and undoubtedly the most original survivor. Now owned by Jonathan Segal of San Diego he drove it everywhere during the week – the scribe spotting it in many places around Carmel, Pebble Beach and Monterey. It’s a tribute to Segal to put it through its paces on the road having bought it out of France in the sale in 2015 of the Baillon hidden collection sale – the car was not seen for 55 years.
In order to fit in as much of the Monterey week experience as possible it was key to me to map, plan and conduct some recognisance missions. The first of these was the following morning with a leisurely paced run from my accommodation in Carmel to The Lodge at Pebble Beach. Five kilometres each way, with a few more navigating around the surrounding parts of this event venue. Even if you’re doing this by car – get out and walk around as you can get to most parts of the venue and soak it in before the thousands of people decent on it for the Sunday. My run included a stop at the Pebble Beach Equestrian Centre where I found Pantec trucks lined up as far as the eye could see. Inside them hundreds of millions of dollars of the finest machinery in the world. Whilst most occupied Concours cars from across the US and around the world some housed the many significant cars that would go under the hammer at the Gooding & Co auction to be held on the Saturday and Sunday.
Keeping on the auction theme it was on to Monterey that afternoon to register at the RM Sotheby’s sale. Held at the Porola Plaza Hotel in downtown Monterey. The cars are housed in two areas; in the lobby and reception rooms of the hotel and in an adjacent over-sized marquee. It’s kind of like visiting an art museum. You stand, look, discuss and ponder at these pieces of automotive history. Amongst them at this sale was the 1956 Le Mans winning Jaguar D-Type and Carrol Shelby’s first AC Cobra.
It was then back to the Gooding & Co sale marquee for a similar experience.
You can read more about the auctions in separate articles.
Much of the week is about timing – getting there early is the key, particularly for photo taking. It’s made even better with the mist on the hills nearby. We saw Sir Stirling Moss at the start of the Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance on Thursday morning before heading to Leguna Seca.
Another benefit of the events during this week is the close proximity between them. From Carmel to Leguna Seca is just a 20-minute drive (once you know the back way) and it’s there that you’re in for a completely different experience – what we’re all about here – racing! What a venue up there in the hills. For those of you who attend Victoria’s Phillip Island Classic the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion has a similar ‘laid back’ feel, albeit with 500 real quality cars. It took me the best part of Thursday to get through the entire paddock before I saw a little of trackside action late in the afternoon.
The racing at Leguna Seca and the show at Pebble Beach articles can be read by following the below links.
Article: Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion
Article: Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
Article: RM Sotheby’s and Gooding & Co. auctions