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Laguna Seca Golf Ranch, August 19th, 2011

As mentioned in our report of the Carmel-by-the-Sea Concours earlier this week the days before the grand final at the Pebble Beach Concours feature many car events at the Monterey Peninsula. One of the older ones is the Concorso Italiano, now in its 26th year, traditionally held on Friday. Founded in 1985 the Concorso celebrates (as the name indicates) all things Italian. Originally the event was held at the Quail Lodge but with the years the event grew to a size that needed a larger exhibition area so a new location was needed and the Concorso is held today on the Golf Ranch of Laguna Seca. Over the years it has become the largest gathering of Alfa, De Tomaso, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Lancia and Maserati plus other exotics one could imagine with over 1000 cars on display. When entering the field for the first time one gets overwhelmed by the amount of cars sorted by marque giving the impression of visiting the national club meeting of all Italian manufacturers at the same time making this a dream for all spotters.

This year featured some 40th anniversaries both of the De Tomaso Pantera and the Maserati Bora plus the 45th anniversary of the Maserati Ghibli, so these cars were lined up in dozens in the middle of the field. Specialists could see every version and colour and compare the changes over the generations, normal visitors were just impressed in the never seen amount of cars in a row. But not just classics were lined up in that manner but also youngtimers or modern supercars like the Lamborghini Gallardo, Mucielago or Diablo or several models of Alfa Romeo. Especially the Lamborghini with their eccentric colours of yellow, green and orange were a sight of its own.

Other exotics as Iso and Bizzarini were certainly present in much smaller numbers but nevertheless show-stoppers, as were two of the rare De Tomaso Vallelunga of a total production of 55.

Not surprisingly the first field when entering the Concorso was reserved for the most popular Italian marque: Ferrari. The line-up featured all models from the 1970s to the latest models with a few older examples of the 250 series. Unfortunately few early Ferraris found their way to the Concorso, maybe this is the downside of the size of the event as many of the owners of the more valuable early types prefer the exclusivity of smaller events. Star in the Ferrari area was a Dino 206 SP and one of just 3 F50 GT.

But this years event also had a special theme: barn finds and originals. Over the last few years the barn finds became more and more popular and an untouched example of a rare car often achieves higher prizes on auctions than restored ones. It is always interesting to see how many of these original cars come to the market after all these years of a booming market. Certainly not every car proclaimed as a “barn find” really is one as many of them sat in well known collections over the last years but were never restored and the condition ranges from well preserved to rather tatty. What they all have in common is the value of the original finish as on the day they have left the factory and therefore serve as reference for every restored example. When buying an original one can be sure that there are few unprofessional repairs and changes and this car was never seen on the concours circuit, so it is a good entry on a concours after its restoration or even before in the common preservation classes.

This class had all the variations of original cars, the 1952 Ferrari 212 Barchetta of the Petersen Collection is a good example for a preserved car as it looks just the way it might have looked the day of delivery. Beside this 4 more 1960s Ferrari were in the class. “King of Barnfinds” Tom Shaughnessy brought a 275 GTB that sat in a garage for decades just to get back in running conditions over the last months. The car that was not even cleaned to keep the character of a recent discovery was always surrounded by curious onlookers and went to Gooding the following day to be hammered down at more than 1.5 Mio $. Bill Noon of Symbolic Motors brought a nice original 330 America standing next to the 275, the two other Ferrari were a 250 GTE and a 250 GT PF coupe that was seen the days before in Carmel.

Other cars in this class were a Lancia Appia and a Fiat 8V by Vignale. Both cars drew their charm from a very tatty exterior with peeling off paint and dull chrome parts. As soon as the Fiat opened the doors the spectators came in flocks to have a glimpse on the tattered seats and dashboard. Without doubt this car would be a certain Pebble entrant once in restored condition.
A rather small class was reserved for special coachwork. This class featured an Alfa Romeo 1900 CSS with Ghia Special body that was also at Carmel earlier this week and a Lancia Flaminia with special Pininfarina body. But they were outshone by a small Fiat Stanguellini with Bertone Berlinetta body. Being a Pebble Beach entrant of last year this nicely restored one-off was not just voted Best in Class but also Best of Show very much to the surprise of its proud owner.

So what is the conclusion of the day at the Concorso? With two major events at one day (The Quail and the Concorso) it is very difficult to see everything. As the tickets for the Quail are very expensive and limited the majority of the visitors will go for the Concorso anyway and they will not be disappointed. A little bit less exclusive than the Quail it is all about cars at the CI and a good start in the weekend. The next day will see the races at the nearby Laguna Seca raceway before the Monterey week ends on Sunday with the last day of the races or the Concours in Pebble depending whether you prefer cars in motion or on the green.

Report&images Peter Singhof www.ClassicCarPhotography.de

Concorso Italiano Entries
Alfa Romeo 1900 CSS Ghia Special
Alfa Romeo 1900 SSZ
Alfa Romeo 2000 Spider
Alfa Romeo field
Alfa Romeo Giulia GT
ASA Mille GT
Bizzarrini 5300 GT
Concoro Italiano 2011
De Tomaso Vallelunga
Ferrari 212 Touring Barchetta s/n 0253EU
Ferrari 250 GT Lusso s/n 4521GT
Ferrari 250 GT PF Coupé s/n 1747GT
Ferrari 250 GTE 2+2 s/n 2569GT
Ferrari 250 GTE s/n 4049
Ferrari 275 GTB s/n 08163
Ferrari 308 GTS
Ferrari 330 America s/n 5107GT
Ferrari 330 GT 2+2 s/n 8361
Ferrari 330 GT s/n 9629
Ferrari 360 Modena
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona s/n 14895
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona s/n 16371
Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona s/n 16691
Ferrari 365 GTC/4 s/n 14949
Ferrari 365 GTC/4 s/n 15889
Ferrari 575 Maranello
Ferrari Dino 246 GTS
Ferrari Dino 308 GT 4
Ferrari F50 GT
Fiat 600 Elaborata
Fiat Millecento 1100
Fiat Stanguellini Bertone Berlinetta
Intermeccanica Italia
Iso Rivolta 300
Iso Rivolta Lele 300
Lamborghini 400 GT s/n 7758
Lamborghini GT 400 s/n 0655
Lamborghini Miura P400 s/n 3342
Lamborghini Miura P400 s/n 3685
Lancia Appia
Lancia Flaminia PF Coupé
Lancia Fulvia 1.3 Coupé
Maserati Bora
Maserati Indy s/n AM.116.868
Maserati Mexico s/n AM.112.194
Valentino Balboni