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Carmel-by-the-Sea, 16th of August, 2016

This year’s Monterey Car Week officially started this morning with the gathering of the Quail Rally cars in front of the Quail Lodge. As in previous years Sir Michael Kadoorie invited a few of his close friends to start the week with a relaxed driving tour into the Monterey hinterland. Again almost 3 dozen cars ranging from a pre-war Rolls Royce to the newest Bentley were lined up at the lawn for a group photo before leaving to the exclusive tour that will arrive tomorrow evening at the McCall Jet Center party. The interesting mix featured a couple of Ferraris including Sir Kadoorie´s own 166 MM Touring Barchetta, a nice 250 GT TDF, a 400 Superamerica and a 365 GTB/4 Speciale. Much admired by the few visitors and the participants was a highly original Alfa Romeo SZ with a lot of patina.

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After the cars finally left the lodge one headed over to the Ocean Avenue in Carmel-by-the-Sea for the 10th annual Concours-on-the-Avenue, the only major free event of an otherwise expensive week. Lined up on the closed off street about 175 classics could be admired by the thousands of classic car tourists from all over the world making the trip to Monterey for the week. Traditionally a strong gathering of Porsche could be seen including a display of the rare 356 Carrera both in closed and open form, several early 911 and a group of racing Porsches making it over from Laguna Seca where they race in the next days.

Less sportive but as much admired were a couple of transporters and buses from Volkswagen and the Tempo Bosch-transporter.

But not only German cars could be seen as a line-up of Shelby Cobras and Mustangs plus a bunch of muscle cars were the favorites of the locals. Varying very much in rarity based on the specification the description of the cars had to be read very carefully to give the cars the right value, be it because of their original rarity or a carefully executed modification.

A few exotics from Italy could be seen as well led by a couple of Ferrari ranging from the freshly restored 195 Inter Vignale Coupe to a duo of Daytonas and the Best of Show winning 275 GTB in Giallo Fly. The opponent from Modena was represented by a single but very exciting Maserati A6G with Frua Coupe bodywork from the famous former Baillon-Collection of barn finds. Brought back to running condition since the car won the preservation cup.

Unfortunately without award was another rare example from the Maserati brothers, this time a later OSCA MT4 Vignale Coupe. The small Coupe was intended for a Le Mans entry and therefore received an aerodynamic body featuring wheel arches as later seen in the famous pontoon fendered Ferrari 250 TR in order to give the brakes and the engine a better cooling. Although surrounded all day the car did not even win its class.

At about 5pm finally all class winners and the BoS were lined-up in front of the Cypress Inn where the entrants had a final class of champagne before leaving.

Tomorrow the auction houses will start their previews with an unbelievable amount of multi-million dollar cars including more than ever 8-figure examples from Ferrari, Alfa Romeo and Bugatti. Listening to the conversations in Carmel today not few are very curious whether the market can take this amount of cars at this level in a time when the buyers are more cautious than in previous year. It remains the question how much of them will be actually sold and how the market will react on this as Monterey is always an indicator with the best selection of cars available. We will follow the auctions closely and will keep you up-to-date in the next days.

Report & images … Peter Singhof