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2009 Monterey Classic Car Week
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For one week in August each year the peaceful coastal town of Monterey is flooded with automotive enthusiasts. They are treated to a year's or even a decade's worth of classic road and racing cars spread over a wide variety of events. We rushed around the Monterey Peninsula for the better part of a week in our 2010 Ford Mustang to capture as many of the events as humanly possible.
In the following paragraphs you can find brief introductions to each of the events with links to the appropriate reports and galleries. Among the highlights were the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance where Bentley and Bugatti were the featured marques, attracting an unprecedented number of Bentley Team Cars in addition to the largest gathering of Ferrari 166 MM Barchettas we have ever seen. At the Monterey Historic Automobile Races, Porsche took centre stage with racing cars from the German marque from over four decades dicing it out on track. One of the most evocative moments was the start of the 1970s sports car race with three Porsche 917s leading the filed through the first corner.

Concours on the Avenue (August 11th, Carmel)
First held in 2007, the Concours on the Avenue is one of the most recent additions to the already packed week in the build-up to the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. The event received immediate acclaim for its unique approach. Organisers Doug and Genie Freedman figured that a great concours does not need to be the exclusive domain of very shiny million-dollar-plus machinery. The focus on the period from the year 1946 attracts some very rare cars that would nevertheless feel out of place almost everywhere else. This eclectic mix of collector cars lined up on Ocean Avenue (and several side-streets) in Carmel by the Sea. Most of the shops on the Avenue also participate in the event by creating car-themed shop-windows. These are also judged in the concours. The final ingredient that has made the Concours on the Avenue such a popular event is the fact that access is free. In a week where most tickets are close to, or even well over $100, that makes a lot of difference. Read on ...

McCall Motorworks Revival (August 12th, Monterey Jet Center)
Gordon McCall's Motorworks Revival at the Monterey Jet Center has been firmly established as the social kick-off for the Monterey Classic Car Week. Surrounded by an assortment of cars and planes of various vintages and treated to fine food and drinks, the 'Jet Center Party' is the excellent spot to meet up with old friends and make new ones. As at the 'Historics' Porsches took centre stage during the 2009 Motorworks Revival. An eclectic mix of historic racers that included a highly original 550 Spyder, a Gulf liveried 917K and the 996 GT3 R that won Daytona outright was joined by the company's latest offering; the Panamera, which made its dynamic debut during the week. Also grabbing their share of attention were the massively engined specials 'Piss'd off Pete' and the 'Blastolene Special'. Built by the same people, the former is a Peterbuilt truck that has been extremely lowered while the latter is a tank powered machine that is loosely inspired by the Roadster that dominated Indy in the 1950s and early 1960s. There was a lot more to see and enjoy at the Monterey Jet Center as becomes clear when exploring our 60-shot gallery.

The Quail, a Motorsports Gathering (August 14th, Quail Lodge)
Located in the heart of the beautiful Carmel Valley and well away from busy Monterey and the noisy Mazda Speedway Laguna Seca track, the exclusive Quail Lodge Resort and Golf Club annually hosts 'The Quail, a Motorsports Gathering.' It is not only the tranquility of the surroundings that sets 'The Quail' apart from the many other events held on the Monterey Peninsula that same week. The visitors were treated to a select group of sports and racing cars of all eras and a fabulous lunch prepared by the Quail Lodge Culinary Team. They can sample various vehicles, ranging from the latest Range Rovers on a specifically created off-road section to the brand new Porsche Panamera that made its American debut at 'The Quail.' Taking centre stage, however, were the sports and racing cars that were placed on the main show field in small groups in accordance with the various different classes. Most of these were familiar, complemented by several special classes featuring a tribute to Hans Stuck Jr, the 30th anniversary of the BMW Motorsports department, the cars of Bill Devin and 50 years of the Daytona Speedway. Another typical element of The Quail is, that it is the entrants' responsibility to pick the class award and best of show winners. Read on ...

Concorso Italiano (August 14th, Laguna Seca Golf Ranch)
Under new ownership and at a different location, the Concorso Italiano made a fresh start in 2009. That was definitely needed after the disastrous move to the Marina Airport a year earlier. The uninspiring backdrop, high winds and dust overload proved nearly fatal for the event. The odds were against the 2009 edition as a rivalling event stepped up with a similar theme at the Black Horse Golf Club; the scene of so many Concorsos. With Tom McDowell at the helm and a move to the Laguna Seca Golf Ranch, Concorso Italiano made a Phoenix-like rise from the ashes. The loyal visitors and entrants were rewarded with a fabulous display of Italian excellence that quickly wiped the 2008 edition from memory. Further prove of this is provided by our 70-shot gallery. Read on ...

Monterey Historic Races (August 14th - 16th, Laguna Seca)
Porsche was the featured marque during the 36th edition of the annual Monterey Historic Automobile Races. No manufacturer has made more racing cars, so it was no surprise to see the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca paddock and track flooded with hundreds of German company's finest creations. Many were run of the mill 356s and 911s but there were also many very significant models in attendance like the 1970 24 Hours of Le Mans winning 917K, the Gulf 917K used by Steve McQueen in the 1971 motion picture Le Mans, Preston Henn's 1985 Daytona and Sebring winning 962 and the 996 GT3 that beat all prototypes to take an outright win at Daytona in 2004. In addition to these privately owned models, Porsche brought and demonstrated an interesting trio from their fabulous Stuttgart based museum; the 718 and 804 F1 cars and the unique flat-8 engined W-RS. Added to the mix were many more exciting and important classic racing cars that took to the track in a total of 15 races during the three-day weekend. We were at the track for as much as the ever tight schedule allows and we have managed to capture all 15 classes, the Porsche demo runs and the ever impressive group-shot, all of which can be found in our scintillating 200-shot gallery. Read on ...

Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance (August 16th, Pebble Beach)
Since 1950 the peace and quiet in the Del Monte Forest on the Monterey Peninsula is rudely disturbed for one week in August by the roar of road and racing cars. During this week, the forest originally hosted the Pebble Beach Road Races and Concours d'Elegance. The Races have long since moved to the purpose-built Laguna Seca track but the Concours celebrated its 59th anniversary this year. In recent years action has also returned to the fabled '17-Mile Drive' with the creation of the annual Tour d'Elegance held on the Thursday before the Concours.
Although generally considered the most important event of its type in the world, the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance was not free of trouble and tragedy this year. The global economic crisis has stricken the automotive industry particularly hard. One of the biggest 'victims' was General Motors; traditionally one of the strongest supporters of the Pebble Beach events. Fortunately other sponsors were found to fill GM's void. A much bigger loss was the death of Phil Hill shortly after the 2008 event. The former World Champion and three-time Le Mans Le Mans winner had been involved with 'Pebble' since its inception in 1950 and won three of the seven Road Races as well as two Best of Show awards in the Concours d'Elegance. Phil's son Derek took over his father's judging duties this year.
Despite the difficult times the Concours d'Elegance received more entry applications than ever before. For the first time ever a new model, the Bentley Mulsanne, celebrated its world debut on the lawn. Another break with tradition was the inclusion of a class dedicated exclusively to motorcycles. The nearly 200 entries were spread over a total of 32 classes. Many of these are part of the Concours every year but as always several classes were especially created to celebrate the featured marques Bentley, Bugatti, Morgan and Zagato. Read on ...

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Preview by Wouter Melissen for Ultimatecarpage.com.