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Carmel, 13th of August, 2015

Wednesday was the day we saw many of Sundays Concours cars for the first time. Early in the morning the cars entered in the annual Tour d´Elegance were lined up at the Polo Field in front of the Gooding tent starting at 8pm. Unlike the previous years the morning was not covered in fog so the cars could leave in clear sun driving past the Lodge out of the 17-miles drive into the hinterland. For the first time in years the tour did not leave towards the Laguna Seca race track so the cars headed south towards Big Sur down Highway 1 after a short coffee break. Two groups were separated by the police on their way and unlike the first group the second was spread out. Lead by Jochen Mass and Sir Stirling Moss in a Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing several interesting Ferrari were following including a trio of 340 MM, 340 Mexico and 857 S entered by Les Wexner. Last year’s winner Jon Shirley had two cars entered, his Ferrari 166 MM in the 1951 race livery of the Monterey races at Pebble Beach as part of this year’s class featuring this races and his former winning Alfa Romeo 8C 2900 Touring Berlinetta as part of the Touring Class. Being the featured marque this year Ferrari has no less than 4 classes including an unrestored class.

After turning at Big Sur the convoy was drove to Carmel for the lunch stop were the cars were awaited by the masses giving time to go over to Bonhams to check the preview just after passing the Casa Ferrari at south Carmel displaying one classic Ferrari each day. Today it was the turn of the pontoon fendered 250 Monza as the 500 Mondial recently restored by Ferrari Classiche was seen on the tour after being displayed yesterday. After the lunch stop the cars were escorted back to the grounds of Pebble were they were awaited by the detailers for a final touch up for the big show on Sunday.

But today was not the first day for the concours cars but also the start of this year’s auction marathon led by RM Sotheby´s Pinnacle Collection extending the two-day sale into the third day on Thursday. RM is again located at the Portola Plaza whereas Rick Cole’s silent auction is just located across the street in the Marriott that showcases Russo & Steele a few years ago. Unlike the show celebrated by RM and auctioneer Max Girardo the Cole auction reminds very much on the bay auctions on very high level. Some might have been skeptical about this concept but obviously it worked good last year as Cole was back with several interesting cars, bidding will start tomorrow and end at Saturday evening.

RM serves this year as the indicator for the market as the ball room of the Portola was packed right from the beginning when the first lot was on the block at 6pm. The Pinnacle Collection featured a wide selection of Supercars and high class classic cars just bought in recent years most likely as an investment. Carefully selected it featured very special examples like the first and last Bugatti Veyron built, the Enzo once donated by Ferrari to the Pope or one of the very rare Alloy Gullwing. It was obvious today that the later Supercars attract a very active bidding setting very strong prices whereas the very expensive classic Ferrari seem to reach a stable plateau without the increase of the last months. Both the Ferrari 250 GT SWB and California Spyder did not meet the reserve and together with the Alloy Gullwing leaving these the three unsold lots of the evening. After the Villa Erba sale earlier this year at the lake Como this is the second time RM fails to sell a SWB Berlinetta and LWB California...Tomorrow RM will continue with their high profile offering and Gooding will join on Saturday so latest at the end of the week one might see the development of the prices in what might become a record year at Monterey.

Tomorrow morning the day will start with the Quail Lodge Motorsport Gathering that was already set up in parts this afternoon. One will see a gathering of Ferrari F50 as well as a class of long tail Le Mans cars of the most glamorous event of the week.

Text & images … Peter Singhof