Monterey Car Week 2016: an introduction
My second trip to the greatest week in the automotive world
Monterey, Pebble Beach, Carmel...these places need to be in the mind of every auto enthusiast, as it's the greatest week in the automotive world. Nearly a whole week of automotive events that concludes at the famed Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, where 200 or so owners of some of the finest cars in the world hope to take home the coveted Best of Show award. But, before we get to that, there were several other events that occured throughout the week. This post will be dedicated to the first two days.
It was a warm, rainy morning in Dallas. I was already excited to be doing Car Week again, and getting on the plane just made me even more excited. About three and a half hours later, I landed in San Francisco, greeted by sunny skies and cool temperatures. I got my loaner car, waited for two friends, and off we went towards the Monterey Peninsula. The drive down was rather scenic, taking highway 17 through the Santa Cruz Mountains, then taking highway 1 (yes, THAT highway 1) the rest of the way. My friends and I were eagerly discussing the cars we wanted to see. While they were excited to see all the latest hypercars, I was most excited to see what vintage Ferraris would be in attendance at the various events. Quail had a few Ferrari classes, Concorso Italiano was guaranteed to have some in attendance with the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 330 GTC, Pebble Beach had welcomed back Ferrari again, Ferrari had their Casa Ferrari event again, and the various auction houses had several up for grabs. I was excited, and I knew I was in for a treat.
250 LM chassis 5893 at Canepa. Photo by Kevin Miller.
Our first stop was Scotts Valley, a small town nestled in the mountains just north of Santa Cruz. We were going to stop at Canepa - a facility devoted to restoring race cars and selling classic cars, with a small museum included, ran by former racing driver Bruce Canepa. One of my friends and I had stopped here last year, so we stopped again so our other friend could experience how heavenly this place was. Out front in their main showroom, they had several special cars, including a prototype Porsche Carrera GT and a 959. But, we were blown away by what was in the back. Bruce's personal Porsche 918, finished in a unique orange color, several other vintage Porsches, a BMW M1, among others. But, nestled away from the lifts with the German cars...was a red Italian stallion from Maranello. A 250 LM. Chassis 5893. The car that won the 1965 24 Hours of LeMans, Ferrari's last victory in the race. It also took a class victory at the Daytona Continental (later renamed to the 24 Hours of Daytona) the following year. It was absolutely stunning to be able to look at this work of art, with a very big achievement under its belt. I spent a good 10 minutes just standing there, appreciating it. I was told it was being prepared to be shown at The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering just two days later. I would also like to apologize to the staff for leaving a puddle of drool on the floor.
Photo by Kevin Miller.
Eventually, we left and finished our journey to Monterey, where we got settled in to our Airbnb house and left again to go see cars around the area. Sadly, I didn't see any more vintage Ferraris that day, so I will skip to the next morning: the Pebble Beach Tour d'Elegance. This coincides with the Concours on Sunday. It's not required for entrants but they are encouraged to participate; if there is a tie in judging in a class, the car that completed the Tour will get the nod. Normally, the 90-mile Tour starts in Pebble Beach, goes into the hills outside of Carmel, then proceeds to Big Sur via highway 1, back to Carmel for lunch, and finishing back in Pebble Beach. However, there was a massive wildfire burning near Big Sur, so out of respect for CALFIRE and other responding agencies, the organizers decided to change the route to avoid going down to Big Sur. Instead, it stayed on the Pebble Beach peninsula, tracing the famed 17-Mile Drive that was used in the Pebble Beach Road Races back in the day. We found a nice spot to sit and watch the cars along the ocean. A Spyker came to join us to watch the event, and several other cars drove by as we were waiting. Eventually, we saw a CHP motorcycle, which signaled the beginning. And not far behind that motorcycle? A Mercedes 300SL Roadster, with Stirling Moss in the passenger seat. I was later told he does it every year, but I did not know that at the time.
It's not a Ferrari, but Stirling Moss deserves a spot in this article. Photo by Kevin Miller.
We watched the cars go by, mostly Depression-era land yachts. But, eventually the Italians came along. A gold 250 SWB, my all-time favorite vintage Ferrari, was among them. I geeked out like a girl when I saw it, no shame saying that. Several others followed, including a 225 Sport Vignale, two California Spiders, a 275 NART Spider, a 400 Superamerica, among others. It was a surreal experience hearing and seeing those works of art on one of the most scenic roads in America. I would like to take my time to dedicate the rest of this article to pictures. My next post will be about all of the auction houses, and a visit to Casa Ferrari. I hope you guys enjoyed. -KDM
1960 250 SWB Berlinetta, chassis 2159GT. Photo by Kevin Miller.
1957 250 GT LWB California Spider Prototype, chassis 0769GT. Photo by Kevin Miller.
1967 275 GTB/4 NART Spider, chassis 09751. Photo by Kevin Miller.
1952 225 Sport Vignale Berlinetta, chassis 0178ED. Photo by Kevin Miller.
1963 250 SWB California Spider, chassis 4121GT. Photo by Kevin Miller.
1963 400 Superamerica Coupe Aerodinamico Pininfarina S2, chassis 5029SA. Photo by Kevin Miller.