Only 3 Days! Monterey Revisited
RETROSPECTIVE Here is an article I wrote several years ago that was never published about my first time going out to the Monterey Classic Car Extravaganza. I was so taken with the entire series of events that I have being going back year after year. Hopefully, this article will give you just a small taste of the grand automotive circus they call Monterey Classic Car Week. I also hope that it inspires you to go out there yourself someday. Just 3 Days (Monterey Classic Car Week) By Brad Cline I had just eased into my seat on the plane, and felt totally exhausted but happy! It had been a whirlwind 3-day weekend, and I had tried to see all the automotive events going on that weekend in Monterey. Just 3 dayswhat a 3 days! I hardly had a chance to catch my breath from beginning to end. The fun began first thing on Friday morning, when Richard (Jaguar club member, and travel guide for this trip) and I went to the lead-off event the Italiano Concorso. The Concorso is a combination of Abarth, Alfa Romeo, De Tomaso, Ferrari, Fiat, Lamborghini, Lancia, Maserati, Bizzarini and all other manner of Italian speedmobiles. Besides the multitude of cars, there were vintage Italian motorcycles, beautiful wooden speed boats and vendor tents with acres of Italian memorabilia of all kinds. The variety of items was endless. You could get a one-off bronze sculpture of your favorite Ferrari or get a custom-made car mat with nap so thick you could lose a golf ball in it! There were hundreds of these gorgeous Italian beautiesnot to mention all the cars. As we walked out onto the field, the first impression one gets is of a carpet of red cars that seem to disappear into the distance, however upon closer scrutiny we could see that there was many different colors mixed in with the favorite Italian racing red. There were several other colors like black, yellow, silver, blue and even one GREEN 456 Ferrari Spyder. We could only assume that the painter had mistaken the green Ferrari for a Jaguar Mark 10. I lost track of how many miles we logged walking up and down the rows of Ferraris, Maseratis, Lamborghinis, and such, the quality of the cars was clearly top notch with wonderful vintage examples of all the makes. The weather was excellent for the show with a bright blue sky to contrast against the field of Red. Across from the Concorso field was the Bonham Classic Car Auction. The auction had an eclectic collection of automotive memorabilia, vintage cars and some classic mahogany speed boats. We were sorely tempted to stay for that auction, but we had previously decided to attend the RM auction that night at the Monterey DoubleTree Hotel instead. The RM auction would have a large number of vintage Jaguars up for auction. By the time we left the Concorso, a majority of the crowds had already beat us out, so we hardly gave the 10-mile bumper-to-bumper backup a second thought. Unfortunately, there is only one road back to Monterey. After more than 20 minutes of bumper to bumper traffic, I suggested that next time we should rent either a Humvee or a helicopter. Back in Monterey, we had dinner in a local British pub called the Crown & Anchor. We highly recommend the fare and the atmosphere is nice as well. The dcor is obviously British Empire all the way from the pictures of royalty to wooden model ships on display. The London broil is very good and so is the bangers and mash. We passed on the Haggish. Next stop, the opening night for the RM Classic Car auction and there would be 100 well manicured vintage autos including 14 Jaguars going across the block on Friday night. What would the XKs and XKEs bring? As we watched a wide variety of classic Italian machines cross the gavel, it be came clear that the economic downturn was represented in the prices. Clearly, quality autos were being still being actively bid up, but the starting bids were lower than normal. The RM catalog had valuation price ranges listed for all the cars, and they were pretty accurate. I would say that over 80% of the winning bids were within those valuation ranges, however the typical final bid was near the bottom of those ranges. The good news is that the XKEs held their own very well with prices between $45-65K (note: remember this was 2002). The better news is that two strong examples were a midnight blue 1966 coupe that went for 65K and a very correct silver 1967 roadster that pulled down $95K. The XKs had several very nice examples with most of the prices falling between $55-70K. The highest price for an XK was a red 1952 XK120 roadster DAY TWO LAGUNA SECA and MONTEREY HISTORICS Saturday morning arrives, and off to the racesLaguna Seca Raceway (LSR) that is and the Monterey Historics Car Races YEEAAA! I love to see these older cars racing. It brings back great memories of watching the races when I was a kid. When we first arrived at the track we quickly observed that you should definitely wear good running or walking shoes, because just the walk from the parking area to the track is over a mile. The track is great because it is nestled amongst rolling hills, which makes for some excellent viewing locations around the track. It has 17 turns of varying degrees with huge elevation differences. One of the most famous is the Corkscrew. The Corkscrew is really a series of switchbacks that has a elevation drop of over 100 feet. Cars coming into the beginning of the Corkscrew often get airborne in that turn. The cars pick up considerable speed going through there and it is easy to over-cook the later turns at the bottom of the hill. One suggestion I have is that if you plan to get some pictures at the Corkscrew, then you must walk up this hill and I use that word loosely. About half way up I realized why lots of people were sitting on the hillside looking out over the distant straightawaythey couldnt climb anymore! When I first looked up at the hill I though piece of cake, Im in good shape, but about half way I was looking for a mountain goat to ride the rest of the way. About that time after passing lots of gasping people, I had to stop myself. I was trying not to breathe too hard, so people wouldnt know I was winded and I pretended to look at the majestic view of the track below. After a short respite, I continued my assault to the top. When I had reached the summit, the view looking back over the rest of the track was breath-taking in more ways than one. The Corvettes were the headline Marque this year and they brought in a large display of historic corvettes. One of the more unusual corvettes was a 1959 racer which had a bodacious metallic blue and white paint scheme. It had white stars painted on the headlights and a large stabilizer fin behind the driver much like the famous D-Type Jaguar racers. It s over-the-top appearance even included light blue metallic-looking LEATHER seats. Another special corvette was the CERV1 Prototype show car, which was obviously the precursor body style incorporated into the 1962-67 corvettes. Corvette club participants also had a really big showing with over two hundred corvettes. As usual, there were many racing Jaguars including several C-Type, D-Type, and Lister racers. A racing D-Type owned by Terry Larsen was racing around the circuit. We saw Terry and his D-Type later at the Pebble Beach show and it appeared that somebody had punted the D-Type in the tail. Other makes included Mercedes 300SLs, Morgans, and even a Cadillac-engined Allard. DAY THREE PEBBLE BEACH and CHRISTIES AUCTION Richard and I got up early, so this will be a long day too. We drive up from Marina to Monterey and the parking reminds me of a trick maze. We have a parking pass with the number 5 on it. This should get us fairly close to the show field. Well we see these signboards with 2 dozen numbers on it and arrows going in different directions. So we follow 5 right turn, right turn, left turn, right turn, right turnwait a minute, didnt we pass that sign before? Oookay, right turn, right turn, left turn, right turn, right turnokay, forget this lets just stay on the main road in. A few minutes later we arrived at lot #5. A short walk and we were at the entrance and the place was packed. Our main goal was to locate the Racing Jaguars exhibit. We were told that the exhibit was strategically situated along the shoreline. What an amazing view as we rounded the corner and came out onto the main part of the show field. Wow! Lined up in neat rows were 225 drop-dead, immaculately-prepared, pristine classic and antique show cars. You could tell that each row was for a specific category or period of car manufacture. One row had the swoopy finned cars from the Fifties era, another had gleaming copper and chrome from the antique turn-of-the-century horseless carriages. Still other rows had single makes such as Packards, Cadillacs, Dusenbergs, and the headline Marque for this years show was the German-made Maybach. The Maybachs were very large Teutonic sedans built in the 1930s; they obviously were sold in Europe only to the very wealthy. The row we were heading for was the Jaguar heritage racers that were lined up at the edge of the field along the shore. There they were 1952 C-Type racer, a 1957 D-Type racer, an XKSS (converted D-Type street-racer). Then right after thatI saw IT, barely visible just on the other side of the D-Type. It was so low and streamlined and gorrrgeousss! I always felt that our E-Types had beautiful curves, but comparing an E-Type to THIS was like comparing Mary Ann to Tina on Gilligans Island. I had heard that the infamous XJ13 racer was going to be at the show, but I had my doubts, since it had not been viewed by the public in many years. The XJ13 was going to be Jaguars revolutionary replacement for the Le Mans-winning D-Types from the late 1950s. There was only one XJ13 made and it was completely totaled in a top-speed crash while taking publicity photos in 1971. The car reportedly went end over end several times after loosing a wheel at around 150 mph. No more were ever built and the racing program for it was shelved. Anyway, there it was looking brand new in its original BRG livery. I took pictures from every angle; it just doesnt have a bad side. Norman Dewis the driver who had survived that fateful crash so many years ago was now firing it up to drive up to the Show stand with the two C & D Type racers. The drivers for the C & D Types were Phil Hill and Sterling Moss, respectively. What a historic driver combination: Hill, Moss and Dewis. FLY HOME I would recommend this weekend trip to anyone with a yen to be completely immersed in fabulous rolling machinery for 3 days. Thats right, just 3 days. Thats what Richard had told me, just come out for the weekend and come see these premier car events. He was soooo right. I am already looking forward to coming back next year. I better start conserving my energy now; I sure dont want to get there tired.