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Monterey, 15th of August

On day three of the Monterey Car Week (as Monday was a day off) the main event, the Concours d´Elegance saw it´s Tour d´Elegance. Once invented to show that the cars could actually drive more than just from the trailer to the field and the ramp the tour became one of the highlights of the car week. This is the first possibility to see many of the participating cars on the road and for those who did not get a ticket for the concours on Sunday the only chance to have a look at some of the most exciting cars in the world.

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Early in the morning the participating cars were lined up in front of the Gooding Auction tent in two groups (compared to three in previous years) to take a new route up to Laguna Seca where they had the possibility to compete the famous corkscrew in a demonstration lap. The route led further over the nearby hilltop to enter the Carmel valley to highway 1 south direction the turning point at Big Sur. Three years after a landslide just before Brixby Bridge there was still construction work on the road with a single lane passage resulting in a massive traffic jam in front of the red lights. Started 30 minutes apart the two groups were mixed up after this section and cars were coming both directions on their way. Finally most of the cars (except more than a dozen broken down) reached Carmel-by -the-Sea for the lunch break were thousands of spectators took the opportunity to inspect the cars in detail. For all those who wanted to avoid the crowds in the historic city centre this was the opportunity to head over to Bonhams at the Quail Lodge to visit the preview of the auction on Friday. After a rather weak year 2012 the auction of the traditional British auction house is getting back to old strength with several high class lots including the wonderful Ferrari 250 Europa Vignale Berlinetta, a Bugatti T35 Grand Prix and one of three original Blower Bentley built to Le Mans specification to the request of their first owner. Being the first auction of the three competing houses Bonhams, RM and Gooding tomorrow’s sale will give the direction of the market during this weekend in Monterey where several auction records are expected.

After the visit of Bonhams one had the possibility to get another look at the Tour when entering the 17-miles drive through the Carmel gate on the way back to the Lodge.

Again the field included several special cars including a couple of Hispano-Suiza that are expected to be contenders for the Best of Show award, again a great class of Ferrari plus more than 2 dozen Alfa Romeo 8C that will be displayed at Pebble before they will be on an exclusive Tour on Monday.

Finally the day ended with a short trip back to the Quail to have a look what was already set up for tomorrows Motorsport Gathering. Amongst the classes to be seen there are special displays for the Centenary of Aston Martin and the golden jubilee of Lamborghini. The work of Pete Brock is also honoured including one of the very rare Shelby Cobra Daytona.

Beside the Quail Motorsport Gathering Friday will see the Concorso Italiano at the Laguna Seca Golf Course and the auctions of Bonhams and RM so this will be again an action packed day of the best car week of the season.

Report & images … Peter Singhof