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Monterey, 13th of August

For many years now the Car Week at the Monterey Peninsula before the final concours d’Elegance at Pebble Beach is the centre of the classic car world in the middle of August. Over the last decades an ever increasing number of shows, auctions and race days on the nearby Laguna Seca race track attracted enthusiasts, collectors and classic car dealers from all over the world to California to enjoy the largest gathering of blue chip cars imaginable. With the booming market of the last years the auctions became more and more important taking over most of the weekends evening activities starting Thursday with the Bonhams Maranello Rosso sale that got most of the headlines to following days. With the previews starting early in the week most of the collectors arrive already on Monday as one could see by the raising prices of the available hotel rooms and a lot of business meetings are held during private receptions and parties in rented houses in the area in the evenings.

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One of the few social evening events established over the last 23 years is the annual McCall Motorworks Revival at the Jet Center of the local airport. Not purely dedicated to cars like most of the other daily activities the party features cars, private jets, good food and drinks making this more a see and to be seen than a pure car event. Despite heavy ticket prices the party is always very well visited and the elegant dressed ladies and gentlemen are welcomed with a glass of champagne after collecting their tickets at the will call. Spread out over two hangars since last year the display spans a large outdoor area with several historic war birds and modern Lear jets shown by the various manufacturers to the potential clients. In between the planes several cars are placed as shown on the other events ranging from museums cars like the ones from the Petersen Automotive Museum, auction cars like the small display of Mecum, private collector cars and the latest supercars.

Small groups with special themed displays included a Ford line-up to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Mustang including the Mustang 1 concept brought over by the Henry Ford Collection. Unlike the production cars that should follow two years later this one-off features a light alloy two-seater body rather than the coupé body that made the pony car famous. Parked in front of the Northern American P51D Mustang this was one of the major attraction of the party. Just right to it the Lotus 56-3 and a special Corvette span the bow to the jets as both cars are very rare examples of turbine powered four wheelers.

But not just classic cars were on display as several supercars were shown by Ferrari, Pagani and Lamborghini in their own booth; smaller manufacturers included the Hennessy Venom or Panoz Esperante. Mercedes-Benz and Toyota featured one of the new concept cars and especially the Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision Gran Turismo was very prominently displayed on a spacious wooden panelled platform attracting a lot of interest. Porsche on the other hand was presented by some private owned icons of their long racing history ranging from a tiny 550 A Spyder over the last street legal prototype type 906 to the legendary 917. The car in the famous blue-orange Gulf livery came fresh from a splendid restoration by Gunnar Racing for its owner Bruce Canepa and won the Concours on the Avenue the day before on the Ocean Avenue in Carmel-by-the-Sea.

Chassis 917-004 started as a Langheck factory car for the homologation including an entry at the Nürburgring before being sold to John Wyer as Kurzheck and raced in the Gulf Colours. After an accident in Brands Hatch 1970 the car was repaired using a new chassis (017) whereas the original chassis 004 went back to the factory. This was not an uncommon in this era to prevent sales taxes on a new car. As the new chassis 017 went on to race under the number 917-004 the crashed chassis was repaired and resold by Porsche under the number 917-017 that became available after the renumbering of the former. This repaired chassis was then used in historic racing before ending up in the hands of Canepa, today it is restored to the configuration of its Brands Hatch entry including the race number 9. This car was the talk of the week as it is rumoured to be under offers in the region of 20 Million $ so one could get an impression what the price range for the car from the Le Mans movie of Steve McQueen would have been that was intended to be auctioned at Gooding this week but that was withdrawn. But even without this 917 the line-up on the various sales was spectacular this year and at the evening at McCall´s it was still uncertain where the development would go over the next days but today we know that even with this oversupply of great cars in one week the market goes still strong and was able to absorb most of the high profile cars within the expected price range.

As the sun went down the interest turned more towards the champagne, the caviar and the oysters to finish a long day starting with several auction previews and a side trip to the race track where the official group shot for this years featured marque Maserati was done in the afternoon. The McCall´s Motorworks Revival was again a great evening-up to the hectic and busy days that should follow.

If you want to attend the next year’s Motorworks Revival by yourself check out www.mccallevents.com for further information.

Report & images … Peter Singhof