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Maserati 300S s/n 3083
Pirro.com

29.03.2013, 11:46:20 cet

Monterey, California, 15 – 18 August 2002.

Tour De Pebble Beach
Concorso Italiano
Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races
Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance


The Monterey Historic Weekend is an amalgam of four separate gatherings plus major car auctions and exhibitions, which in combination provide a veritable feast of exotic machinery for the automobile enthusiast. Only two are linked, those being the inaugural event of the weekend, the Tour de Pebble Beach and the final one, the prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
Apart from the public events there are numerous private parties and gatherings, organised by one make clubs, companies or individuals, such as the Gordon McCall Airport Party, held at Monterey Airport on the Wednesday evening, or the Motion Products Barbecue at the Cypress Tree Inn on the Thursday evening.

Tour De Pebble Beach
The Tour de Pebble Beach is an optional road rally on the Thursday for participants in the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, which provides the opportunity to take in some of the splendid rugged coastal scenery along the famed 17 Mile Drive on the Monterey peninsular, to the first checkpoint in the El Estero Park in Monterey. The route then takes an inland loop that incorporates a drive over the mountains at Laurels Grade, returning to the coast for lunch in Carmel, prior to completing the course at the Pebble Beach Equestrian Centre.

As is common at this time of year on the peninsular there is frequent mist and until it burns off the mornings can be quite chilly, thus those in open cars had to wear suitable attire to combat the conditions. However, once they moved a little way inland those protective layers become surplus to requirements, as the temperature rises rapidly once you move away from the coast.

The rally is used as a deciding factor in the Concours d’Elegance, in that if two cars in a class are tied for overall honours, and one has completed the tour and the other not, then the decision goes in favour of the one that ran the tour.

Concorso Italiano
The Concorso Italiano is held on the Friday at Quail Lodge off of Carmel Valley Road a little way inland from the peninsular, and thus enjoys warmer temperatures more rapidly. As with all the events of the weekend, regular attendees recommend an early start to avoid the inevitable traffic congestion later in the day, this also allows better viewing of the displays before the crowds arrive, albeit with lesser sun and lower light.

The range of Italian cars that attend both as part of the concours and in the one make club displays is truly outstanding, for instance the Ferrari Club of America Pacific Region area boasted over 300 examples of the marque, of which over seventy were entered in the club’s concours which forms part of the main event. One of the more unusual and interesting displays was the un-restored Ferrari team transporter carrying two fifties Ferrari models. At the opposite end of the spectrum major manufacturers showed their latest wares, including Lamborghini with the Murcielago, and Maserati with the new Coupe and Spyder models making their presence felt in the USA after their return to the market earlier in the year.

Other manufacturers were also present in strength, with Ford showing the exciting GT40 Concept car, Bugatti the Veyron16/4, along with Aston Martin and Bentley. The non-Italian element also extended to a fiftieth anniversary display of Chevrolet Corvettes on the first fairway of the golf course, which was shared with a wide variety of other classic non- Italian marques. The Meguiar’s car care company had an unusual American-Italian hybrid as part of their display, this was the Torpedo, a Ferrari 550 Maranello powered hot rod built by Steve Moal for collector Ed Zausner of San Francisco. This is a retro styled creation with strong elements of pre-war Alfa Romeo around the radiator grille, but is far enough removed and with its own signature detailing not be classified as a replica.

Amongst the rarities on the main display lawn it was very difficult to decide on what was the most beautiful/desirable car on show. There was the time-warp Ferrari 196 SP in very original condition that was driven through the arena by Phil Hill with new owner Chuck Wegner, the delightful rare example of a 1950 Abarth 205 Vignale berlinetta, or the sensational Alfa Romeo Tipo 33/2 longtail sports prototype of Greg Whitten, plus a superb Ferrari 290 MM, a stunning yellow Ferrari 500 TRC, Maserati 150S and 300S models, the list of desirability just went on and on.

As if the cars weren’t enough to fill your day, there were large vendor areas that always seemed to be doing a good trade. If any criticism could be levelled, it would be that it should be a two day event, it is just so large that you cannot do it justice in a day, even by getting there early and leaving late.

Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races
Think of Laguna Seca and you immediately have images of cars dropping through the famous corkscrew. However, the circuit is much more than that exciting series of dropping bends, with many other challenging turns for the drivers and plenty of things to see and do in the paddock area and trade village during the historic racing weekend. The three day programme offers a full day of practise on Friday, with seven races each day on Saturday and Sunday, all for different categories, so there is plenty of diversity for spectators.

The racing groups spanned from pre-1931 Sports Touring Cars, via 1966 – 1972Historic Trans-Am Cars to 1966 – 1981 FIA Group 4, 5, 6 and IMSA Cars. It was in the latter group that probably the richest and most diverse array of cars were entered, these included a beautiful Martini liveried Porsche 908/3, along with 906,911 and 935 models, BMW M1 and 3.5 CSL, a trio of Ferrari BB 512/LM models, the example of Todd Morici finishing 2nd overall to the fleet orange Chevron B19 of  Randall Smith, together with examples of Lola T70s, more Chevrons and a Greenwood Corvette. The 1955 – 1959 Sports Racing race featured a tremendous battle for the lead between the eventual winner Brian Redman in a 1958 Scarab and Paul brown in a Chaparral 1, whilst in the same field there were a pair of 1958 Ferrari Testa Rossas and a rare 335 S model with a similar pontoon fender body. In the 1947 -1955 Sports Racing Cars race, the ever popular Phil Hill showed a considerable turn of speed in the 1953 Alfa Romeo 3000 CM coupe, whilst overall victory went to the Lancia D 24 Replica of Charles Nearburg. The most colourful car in this race was the red and white Carrera Panamericana liveried Ferrari 340 Mexico of Bruce Lustman from Colorado.

As at the Concorso Italiano, there were large and interesting vendor and trade display areas to supplement the main activities, and the dusty trek up the hill to the ”Corkscrew” was definitely worthwhile for the spectacular viewing it offered.

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
The jewel in the crown of the Monterey historic weekend, the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance on the golf links beside the Pacific Ocean, probably the most prestigious concours d’elegance in the world, to be a winner at Pebble Beach is often regarded as the ultimate accolade.

As is often the case, the early morning mist hung over the final preparations in the twenty eight classes on the finely manicured lawns. The classes ranged from Antique Through 1910, special Centenary of Cadillac classes, a Maybach Zeppelin class to celebrate the resurrection of the marque name by Daimler Chrysler, another to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the Fiat 8V, and even a Classic and Vintage Chassis class. The range of automobile history presented was quite simply breathtaking, both in the scope and the quality of presentation. There were so many magnificent cars on display that it is difficult to single out particular ones for special mention, some stick in the mind more than others because they were totally outrageous or incredibly cute. An example of the former was the purple and lilac Saoutchik bodied 1948 Cadillac Series 62 Three Position convertible, the external colour scheme being repeated through the upholstery and carpets, flamboyant was an understatement! At the cute end of the spectrum was the miniscule 1949 Fiat Panoramica by Zagato, totally understated in battleship grey! In the Pre-war Preservation class the 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B Touring bodied spider was particularly elegant with a fine patina. The overall Best of Show award went to the black 1934 Voisin C-25 Saliot Roadster of Sam and Emily Mann from New Jersey.

Apart from the display of fine automobiles on the concours lawns, there was a display of major manufacturers concept cars on  a lawn by the club house, including the Aston Martin DB 7 Zagato, Dodge Razor, Cadillac Cien , Ford GT40 and Jaguar R Coupe. Bentley, Ferrari, Maserati, and Rolls Royce were among manufacturers that had their own display areas on the perimeter of the main gathering, whilst further up the hill on the golf course could be found the extensive Blackhawk Exposition, and the Christie’s Auction marquee at the Equestrian Centre.

The culmination of four days of Nirvana for the die-hard petrol head!


Keith Bluemel

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17 mile drive
17 mile drive
Pebble Beach
Concorso Italiano 2001 display
Quail Lodge
Ford GT40 Concept Car
Ferrari 196 SP s/n 0790
Alfa Romeo Tipo 33/2 Daytona Coupe long tail s/n 75033017
Maserati 300S s/n 3083
Ferrari 250 MM PF Berlinetta s/n 0352MM/0239EU
Voisin C-25 Saliot Roadster
Alfa Romeo 8C-2900 Touring Spyder
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