Each year automotive enthusiasts travel en masse to California’s Monterey Peninsula in the middle of August. The reason why is quite simple; the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and its many related and associated events. What started as a single event back in the 1950s has now grown out to a full week of car related activities. Many of these events would be well worth the trip to one of the most beautiful places in the USA; the combination of all of them is just exhausting. Spectators are best off by picking two or three events and take the time to enjoy them. We on the other hand have come up with an elaborate and tight schedule that should make it possible to capture all events. Fortunately Ford has provided us with a Mustang Convertible, so we can ‘race’ across the Monterey Peninsula in style.
To give you an impression of what lies ahead of us and everybody that will come to Monterey next week, we have compiled an event by event and auction by auction preview. Naturally you can look forward to our in-depth reports as the activities unfold. This preview will gradually transform into a review of the events and auctions.
Concours on the Avenue (Carmel, August 11th – 12th)
Responsible for stretching the events to a full week is the Concours on the Avenue held on Ocean Avenue on the Monday and Tuesday. Building on the success of 2007’s inaugural event, the Concours continues with its unique approach. Like last year the event focuses on cars from 1946 through to 1973, which usually play second fiddle in the events like the Pebble Beach concours. The first winner of the Best of Show award was this fabulous Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport
. To cope with the large number of participants, the organizers have split the event into two days. On Monday Ferrari and Porsche will take the limelight, leaving the Tuesday for all other manufacturers.
The Concours on the Avenue is a nice and relaxed way to start the very busy week and best of all; it’s free!
McCall Motorworks (Monterey, August 13th)
Quite distinct among the events in Monterey is the McCall Motorworks. Held annually at the local Jet Center on Wednesday evening, it is the cocktail party to kick off the week with. Described as a ‘Luxury Lifestyle Event’, the McCall Motorworks is targeted specifically at the many collectors and well to do enthusiasts that are attracted by the week’s events. The visitors are surrounded by luxurious private jets, superb classic and modern cars and fine food and wine. The long list of exhibitors includes the likes of Bentley, Breitling and Embraer. What better way to meet old friends or make new acquaintances? In sync with the Jet Set atmosphere, tickets are expensive and need to be ordered in advance.
Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance (The Monterey Peninsula, August 14th)
One of our favourite events is the Tour d’Elegance, which is part of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Started as an answer to the criticism that ‘Pebble’ attracted nothing but trailer queens, the ‘Tour’ is open to all participants of the Concours. As the name suggests it involves driving and quite a bit of it. The route is fabulous and takes the participants from the Pebble Beach lodge through the local hills and then down Highway 1 to Big Sur. Especially the stretch along the Pacific Ocean ranks as one of the most beautiful roads in the United States. In case of a voting tie during the Concours, the car that has completed the Tour successfully will be the winner.
The Tour not only offers a first glimpse of the cars to be shown at Pebble, it also gives spectators the opportunity to see them in their natural habitat; on the road. The first group of cars takes off from the lodge at 8:30 am and if you choose your locations carefully, you can see all of them come by at least twice. Before the start and during the lunch in Carmel, there is ample of opportunity to see all cars up close.
Monterey Historic Races (Laguna Seca, August 15th – 17th)
Celebrating the events 35th anniversary, the annual Monterey Historic Races provide the most action of the entire week. During the three day meeting nearly 400 historic racing cars will take to the track. The strictly enforced driving standards help bring out some rarely seen machinery. This year we look forward to George Wingard who will bring out his 1908 Mercedes Grand Prix
to celebrate the centenary of the Mercedes’ French Grand Prix win and John Morton who will race a Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport
similar to the one that won the Concours on the Avenue last year.
Each year there are various themes and celebrations. In 2008 the main focus will be the 50th anniversary of Formula Junior and no fewer than three classes with the small single seater will take to track. The Rolex sponsored ‘Moments in Time’ display honours the singular achievement of a car and driver. It is highlighted by the Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 MM
that Phil Hill drove to victory in the 1951 Del Monte Forest Trophy race in Pebble Beach. Further crowd pleasers will no doubt be the races for the spectacular Formula 1 and Can-Am cars.
Concorso Italiano (Marina Airport, August 15th)
As the name suggests, this concours d’elegance focuses on Italian machinery. This year’s edition is held at a brand new location; the Marina Airport, some 10 miles north of Monterey. In addition to the annual ‘Celebration of Italian Style’, the 2008 edition celebrates ’45 years of Lamborghini’, ’40 years of the Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona’ and the ‘Creations of Designer Marcello Gandini’. One of the absolute highlights will no doubt the presence of the very first Lamborghini, the unique 350 GTV
In addition to the cars displayed on the show field, there are numerous corrals for interesting Italian and non-Italian vehicles. This event is highly recommended for fans of exotic machinery and supercars.
The Quail, a Motorsports Gathering (The Quail Lodge, August 15th)
With only 3000 tickets available, the Quail, a Motorsports Gathering is one of the more exclusive events. Basically the ‘The Quail’ is a concours d’elegance like any other, with a focus on racing cars. The big difference is that the winners are picked by the participants and not by expert judges. In addition the visitors are treated to food and drinks from four different ‘kitchens’. Various manufacturers also offer test drives on the road and on a special off-road track created nearby.
Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance (Pebble Beach, August 17th)
The culmination of a packed week, the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance can not be missed. Held for the first time in 1950, it has grown out to become the benchmark event of its type. Each year again freshly restored machinery of the highest caliber make their ‘debut’ on the 18th fairway of the golf course. This year for example the world will see a unique Ferrari 400 SuperAmerica with ‘California’ style coachwork for the first time in over decades. The featured marques in 2008 include Lancia and General Motors. Grabbing plenty of attention will be the recreation of the legendary ‘Motoramas’ of the 1950s. These traveling car shows included some of the wildest concept cars ever constructed and many of these, like the recently resurrected Chevrolet Biscayne and the Cadillac Cyclone
, will be displayed on the shore of the Pacific Ocean. Further underlining the importance of the event are several world premieres of brand new cars. Among them are the Pininfarina designed and built Rolls Royce Hyperion
and the Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport
At first glance the ticket price of $150 may sound expensive, but at the end of the event, you’ll realize it was a bargain.
Blackhack Exposition (Pebble Beach, August 13th – 17th)
Each year the Blackhawk Collection sends some of their finest inventory to Pebble Beach from their base in Danville, California. Part of the Collection is on permanent display in the Blackhawk museum, while the rest of the cars are for sale. That is the case for most cars that are lined up on the hill opposite of the Pebble Beach lodge. Whether it is a 1950s Aston Martin, a 1930s Rolls-Royce or a 1970s Porsche 911, Blackhawk has it all and then some. Among the 85 vehicles expected to line up this year is the unique Zagato built and designed Lamborghini Raptor, which most certainly will grab our attention.
Access to this rather exciting ‘second hand car lot’ is free of charge.
Bonhams Sale of Important Motorcars and Automobilia (Quail Lodge, August 15th)
The first of the three major auctions is Bonhams sale at the Quail Lodge. Recently they set a new Jaguar world record by auctioning off a D-Type for $4.4 million. Hopefully for them the record will be bettered at Quail by the unique E2A
, which forms the link between the D-Type racing car and the equally legendary E-Type road car. Although no estimates have been posted, it is expected to sell over $7 million. Although unlikely to grab headlines, the eight Voisins offered in the sale are quite exquisite. All coming from the same collection, they range from the very early C1 to the last of the line C30s. Our favourite lot is an amazingly original Talbot Lago T150 Pourtout Coupe
with extensive racing history. Rarer than the much praised Figoni & Falaschi ‘Teardrop’ Coupes and in a startling condition, it is expected to sell for $3.5 to 4.5 million.
Prior to the sale that starts on Friday afternoon, the collection of Bonhams machinery can be viewed from August 13th through to the 15th.
RM Auctions Sports and Classics of Monterey (Monterey, August 15th – 16th)
Quantity and quality is the best way to describe RM Auctions’ big sale in downtown Monterey, which traditionally breaks a record or two. This year no fewer than 180 classic cars will cross the block on Friday and Saturday evening. Whether you are in the market for a Hot-Rod, a unique show car or a glorious classic, RM has it all and a lot more. Unlike previous years when the Canadian auctioneer had one or two very expensive lots, they now have a number of more ‘modestly’ priced highlights. One that they have been very keen on pointing out is the Chrysler Diablo
show car, which features unique coachwork by Ghia. Recent sales of similar 1950s show cars have yielded surprisingly high prices. There are also nearly two dozen Ferraris in the auction, although mostly road cars. With two Duesenbergs and a Tucker, fans of American machinery are also well catered for by RM. One of the most striking machines offered, is a Brewster bodied Rolls-Royce Phantom II. Its unique Town Car body features a fabulous raked front windshield. RM have not released an estimate for what they describe as one of the most important post-WWI Rolls-Royces in existence.
The auction takes place on both Friday and Saturday, and the lots can be viewed from Thursday the 14th through to Saturday the 16th.
Gooding Pebble Beach Auction (Pebble Beach, August 16th - 17th)
David Gooding clearly saved the best for last with his two-day auction at Pebble Beach. Most impressive is the collection of Bugattis owned by the late Dr. Peter Williamson. Amazingly all of the Bugattis, headlined by a Type 57 SC Atalante, will be offered without reserve. A majority of the proceeds will be donated to the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and Dartmouth Medical School in the honor of the late Dr. Williamson, who was a world renowned leader in the field of epilepsy and neurology.
Among the other lots are old rivals like a Mercer Raceabout
and a Stutz Bearcat, which should both sell for well over $1 million. The Gooding auction is also the first time a Ferrari 250 GT California will be offered since the record breaking sale at Maranello of the ex-James Coburn example earlier this year. It will be interesting to see how that affected the price level for a ‘regular’ California. For good measure the auction also includes multi-million racing cars like a Ferrari 500 TRC
, Jaguar D-Type and Ford GT40.
Interested parties can view the lots from Wednesday the 13th all the way through to Sunday the 17th. The part of the auction on Sunday evening will conclude this year’s Pebble week.