Carmel-by-the-Sea Concours on the Avenue

Now in its third year, the Carmel-by-the-Sea Concours on the Avenue has fast become one of the must-see events during the annual pilgrimage to the Monterey peninsula in the second week of August. This charming and whimsical coastal town provides the perfect backdrop to the colourful and varied display of vehicles along Ocean Avenue and the adjoining streets. Even the merchants get involved, with their own competition of window displays for honours and awards. Entry to the event itself is free and offers spectators the opportunity of strolling down Ocean Avenue among a marvellous selection of desirable classic cars and motorcycles.

Founders and organisers Doug and Genie Freedman decided this year to revert to the original format of a single day on the Tuesday. This was well received by the largest crowds yet seen at the event – and was also blessed by warm sunshine throughout the carnival-like day.

The variety and quality of entries is always a pleasure to discover and behold, with many owners’ stories as interesting as the cars themselves.

The Concours entry totalled some 175 vehicles not usually seen during the week-long activities, and was divided into three categories – multi-marque from 1940 to 1973, with Porsche – and Ferrari – to 1989. Having developed a rather healthy (or to some an unhealthy) interest in Ferraris, I was invited once again to judge the Ferrari 275 class this year with friend and fellow Ferrari enthusiast and restorer, Chris Springer from nearby Los Gatos, California. Chris and I work well together, as he shares an excellent eye for detail and we both enjoy the camaraderie of the event, chatting with owners and listening to their automotive adventures.

The judging day commenced at 9.00am for breakfast and briefing sessions, which also gave us an opportunity to catch up with fellow judges before the work began. Parker Hall once again headed up the Ferrari judging teams and other well-known marque experts included Keith Bluemel, Greg Jones and also Amelia Island Concours founder, Bill Warner.

With the class judging finished by 2.00pm, a lively debate ensued regarding the various merits of one car versus another. Always a friendly affair with this jovial and knowledgeable group, a show of hands decided the special awards.

This year, Jon Shirley’s 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa won Best of Show. A beautiful example of Ferrari’s approach to competition in the 1950s and a car the owner drove to the Concours, in between competing at the weekend races at Laguna Seca both before and after the event!

Cars receiving special awards included the 1961 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato of Peter Read and Cliff Hansen’s beautiful 1959 Chevrolet Corvette Scaglietti.

Following the awards ceremony (supported in great style by jewellers Tiffany), the winning cars were casually parked on the street outside the delightful Cypress Inn, while their owners joined the celebrations inside. It’s nice to see such a charming and relaxed approach to a Concours. I’m already looking forward to next year!

Carmel-by-the-Sea Concours on the Avenue Carmel-by-the-Sea Concours on the Avenue

As an event, the Concours on the Avenue continues to charitably support the Carmel Foundation in its extremely worthwhile and valuable work, providing services for the area’s seniors.

For further information about the Carmel-by-the-Sea Concours on the Avenue, go to www.carmelconcours.com.

Carmel-by-the-Sea Concours on the Avenue Carmel-by-the-Sea Concours on the Avenue Carmel-by-the-Sea Concours on the Avenue

Text: John Mayston-Taylor
Photos: Keith Bluemel and David O'Neill


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