Last article, Harvey Sherman was invited down to Monterey’s annual car gathering, the Concours D’Elegance, by two individuals who would have vehicles in the 2015 event. Join us for the second part of the Harvey’s Monterey Memories!
Once a simple show featuring a few dozen cars and a small group of enthusiasts, the current schedule of events, the number of cars participating, and people attending is bewildering. Free to the public when it began along with the Pebble Beach Road Races in 1950, the Concours first asked for a $1 donation in 1961. Since then, it has become “more expensive”.
As of this writing, you can still view the 2015 Concours calendar page on the internet if you like to set your head spinning. It’s a veritable week long automotive Disneyland, an amusement park of overlapping, shows, tours, auctions and exhibits spread across Pebble Beach, Carmel, Pacific Grove, and Monterey. Did I mention the Rolex Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Laguna Seca in Salinas? A week of sixteen-hour days are insufficient, even if you try to experience it a mile wide and an inch deep.
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You can choose between a half dozen auctions, four days of vintage racing, arrival of the tour from Seattle at Pebble Beach Lodge, the Pebble Beach Tour, the RetroAuto display, the Automotive Fine Arts Society display, Pacific Grove, Carmel, and Carmel Mission Concours, the Classic Car Forum, Auto film and Arts presentation, Concours d’LeMons, the Little Car Show, Exotics at Cannery Row, Concours Italiano, the Quail Gathering, various presentations and lectures, and more, ending with the Pebble Beach Concours on Sunday.
This year, seven Ferraris of the era retraced the Del Monte Forest Road Races, run at Pebble Beach from early to middle 1950’s. Held on Friday, they lined up for display at the Pebble Beach Concours on Sunday. Even if you hate “red” cars, that was a special event. Shelby drove them. He won the last Del Monte Forest Road Race in 1956, in a 750 Monza Ferrari. Sports Car Illustrated named him “Driver of the Year”. If there were no Ferrari, there would have been no Cobra – Ferrari Wars.
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Something pleasant always happens when I attend one of these events. In 2013, I drove my Aurora, a slab side Cobra replica, from Seattle to Monterey for the Rolex Motorsports Reunion. While waiting in the ticket line outside the track, a teenager approached the driver’s side of my car, and offered a $95 entry ticket. I accepted the ticket, got out of my car as he walked back to his father’s, and offered to buy it. His father refused. “I work at a car dealership. They gave me a few”, he said.
“No matter to me” I answered, “I’ll buy it.”
“No, no”, he said, as he waved me off. “We like your car.”
“Let me buy lunch for the two of you.”
He wouldn’t have it. Nice things happen to you when you drive a car people enjoy seeing on the road.
I went to a Cobra owner’s reunion at the Ritz Carlton Amelia Island bar in 2014. On the way out, one of the car owners handed me a ticket to the Concours. “Where did you get this?” I asked.
“Found it on the floor.”
I wonder. Hope no one reads this and claims it. I was disappointed when I had to buy one in 2015. In 2013 and 2014, I should have visited a casino.
In 2015, one of my friends added me to a crew list for the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, and gave me a parking pass to a convenient lot. The editor of an on-line auto magazine convinced the marketing department of the Pebble Beach Concours d’ Elegance, to provide media credentials for the show. I was good to go.
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During the week and Saturday, I attended the Monterey Motorsports Reunion, including the famous Tire Bridge photo shoot, where I managed a place in the Man Lift basket to take the “Tire Bridge” photo. I watched the races. Had a great time, took photos. I’ll leave the details for others, and share impressions and experiences of the other events.
The Del Monte Forrest race reenactment was really terrific. I felt lucky to attend the first time it featured Ferrari. Pebble Beach last opened the road for this in 1990 for Allard. Not a race, the cars traced three hot laps of the original course with driver and passengers in all but one of them, something really exciting to watch, and hear them run. One of the owners brought the 166 Mille Miglia Touring Barchetta Jim Kimberly overturned in 1951 trying to win the event for a second consecutive year. His date for the weekend, Ginger Rogers, ran to the car and kissed him when he exited from beneath it – in a genuine Hollywood ending. No such thing happened this year, but it was fun anyway. No one brought a 750 Monza like the one Shelby drove in the 1956 race, but a 1955 Ferrari 857S participated, essentially a 750 Monza chassis with the engine enlarged to 3.4 liters. Looking very much like the car Shelby won the race in, it was easy to imagine him driving.
Available only to cars accepted in the Sunday Concours, I enjoyed the Pebble Beach Tour very much. As much as I like viewing them on the fairway, watching them rolling down the road is even more thrilling. This 75-mile drive begins in the early morning from the Pebble Beach Equestrian Center, passes through Carmel Valley, stops at a winery for a morning non-alcoholic snack, turns south to cruise down the coastal highway to Big Sur, and returns for lunch in Carmel where it becomes a free public display of the cars which are entered in the Sunday Concours.
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Chuck Cantwell drove the GT350 prototype for car owner, Mark Hovander. Peter Brock came to the start for greetings, well wishing, and photo-ops. Mr. Brock has a great smile and a warm temperament, very understated and appreciated in light of his accomplishments in motorsports, in the presence of the prototype he designed.
The tour made a mess of the cars, but a local Ford dealer was kind enough to offer his shop to clean the car up for the Sunday Concours. It took the crew all day.