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Monterey and Pebble Beach 2009

Can it be 12 months since I was packing my trunk for Monterey? Yes indeed; a lot’s happened in the world since then, but the planet keeps spinning and Monterey week remains one of the automotive high spots of the year.

Bentley and Bugatti will be the featured marques at the week’s finale, the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance on Sunday 16 August. However, starting with Doug and Genie Freedman’s Carmel-by-the-Sea Concours on the Avenue on the Tuesday, it’s a non-stop week of amazing cars that you are genuinely unlikely to see in such concentrations anywhere else in the world.

There’s something happening virtually every day and evening, from concours, automobilia exhibitions and tours, to serious racing at The Rolex Monterey Historic Races at Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway and the world-famous classic car auctions where tens of millions of dollars will change hands in just a few hours.

And the new-car manufacturers take the event very seriously, too. Bentley, for example, will launch its 2010 ‘Grand Bentley’ Arnage replacement on the Lawn at Pebble on Sunday.

You can be assured that Classic Driver will cover all the big events in the weeks to come, but here’s our list of some of the must-do events.


Carmel-by-the-Sea Concours on the Avenue
Tuesday 11 August

This is a great event held in the charming, small, seaside town of Carmel. For one day, the picturesque streets become en fête with specially decorated shopfronts and line upon line of classic cars ranging from classic Americana (‘muscle’ cars, Cobras and ‘Woodies’) through Miuras, 275 GTBs and their ilk, to quirky oddities such as the micro-cars that were such fun in 2008.

The concours during the day is free, too! While you are in Carmel, you can spend some time looking at the cars, window-shopping at the many antique shops or eating out in one of the many high-quality (and surprisingly reasonable – if you control yourself with the wine list...) restaurants. ‘Il Fornaio’ is one of the most famous and provides in-house catering for many of the events, while we also liked ‘Cantinetta Luca’ on Dolores Street, between Ocean & 7th, Carmel, CA 93921.

This year’s Concours on the Avenue will feature ‘Multi Marques 1940 through 1973 with Porsche and Ferrari through 1989’.

For more information, visit

Automobilia Monterey, Ballroom of The Embassy Suites, Canyon Del Rey, Seaside
Tuesday 11 - Wednesday 12 August

A real Monterey 'must-do'. This is an automobilia exhibition from the top drawer with some truly superb posters, models, books and photographs. Beware: it costs just $15 for one day (or $20 for both) but you will buy something inside – I guarantee it. It's just a short ride from Monterey on the way to Laguna Seca and has plenty of free parking.

For more information, visit

Gordon McCall's Motorworks 'Revival 2009', Monterey Jet Center, 300 Sky Park Drive, Monterey
Wednesday 12 August

If you’re going to Monterey, you’ve got to be at Gordon McCall’s party on the Wednesday evening. This is when the long weekend really kicks off, and a ‘who’s who’ of important movers and shakers meet for drinks, food and fun at the Monterey Jet Center. There’ll be new cars, the latest aeroplanes, watches and boats – and a lot of talk about what will happen at Pebble and the auctions later that week.

For ticket information, visit

Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance presented by Rolex
Thursday 13 August

This is an opportunity for the general public to see the Concours cars in action, on a tour that starts at 07:00 - 08:00 near Collins Field in Pebble Beach. It winds its way along part of 17-Mile Drive and Highway One, back to Carmel where the cars are lined up on Ocean Avenue for a lunch stop, before returning to Pebble Beach by 15:00.

It’s great for photographs and it shows that the immaculately prepared, priceless concours entries do actually run – rather well.

Not to be missed.

For more information, visit

RM Auctions ‘Sports & Classics at Monterey’
Thursday 13 - Saturday 15 August

RM may have dropped the slip-case presentation of its customarily superb catalogues, but this year’s auction is now a three-day event with over 240 cars to be sold ‘the RM way’...

read the complete article

Concorso Italiano®, Laguna Seca Golf Ranch, Monterey
Friday 14 August: 09:30-17:00

There was little to recommend last year’s Concorso, held at a wind-swept airport location and (quite correctly) universally criticised. I went – and it was awful. For 2009, the organisers have gone back to a golf course and are confident of a return to more of the Italian-themed magic that had made the event so popular in its earlier years.

It’s your call but, if you do go, the organisers promise – among other things – a 'World Record' gathering of Ferrari 288 GTOs, as well as the usual ranks of Lamborghinis, Ferraris and Maseratis.

For more information, visit

La Dolce Vita Automobili 2009, Black Horse Golf Course, Monterey Bay
Friday 14 August: 09:30-17:00

We previewed this event a few months ago. La Dolce Vita Automobili promises to be a more personal event, reminiscent of earlier Friday shows on the peninsula, offering no more than a few hundred vehicles – with the emphasis on Italian cars and other European examples.

For more information, visit

Pebble Beach RetroAuto
Friday 14 - Sunday 16 August

You can’t miss the big marquee that houses the RetroAuto – you will pass through it coming into Pebble Beach and it’s a great place to pore over rare books and models, and expensive collectors’ automobilia.

For more information, visit

Bonhams & Butterfields Sale at Quail Lodge, Carmel
Friday 14 August

Bonhams will hold its traditional Monterey-week sale at the Quail Lodge golf course and resort. The big-ticket item is the well-publicised pre-War Auto Union. In addition to this, the 100+ lot catalogue is packed with quality entries...

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The Quail: A Motorsport Gathering, Quail Lodge, Carmel Valley
Friday 14 August

A fantastic event that, unless you applied within a few hours of the tickets going on sale, you will not be able to go to... it's that popular. This year, The Quail will celebrate 30 years of BMW's Motorsport Division and 50 years of the famous Daytona Speedway.

For more information, visit

Mecum at Monterey Auction, Hyatt Regency Resort and Spa on Del Monte Golf Course, Monterey
Saturday 15 August

Mecum will sell 200 classic and sports cars including – for the second time – the 1965 Shelby Daytona Cobra Coupé, chassis CSX 2601. There's also a 1963 Chevrolet Corvette Z06 Coupé raced by Delmo Johnson/Dave Morgan in period.

For more information, visit

Concours d'LeMons, Toro Regional Park, 501 Monterey-Salinas Highway 68
Saturday 15 August

"Concours d'LeMons lowers the tone for the Monterey Weekend. Tired of paying $150 to see 150 identical Ferraris? Concours d'LeMons costs 20 bucks and has 20 Pacers and Pintos. Bored with the same old collector-car canon? Our Warsaw Pact Class should be shot from a cannon." That's a direct quote from the hugely entertaining website – infantile, but great fun.

For more information, visit

The Rolex Monterey Historic Races at Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway
Friday 14 - Sunday 16 August

The event celebrates its 36th anniversary this year. The featured marque will be Porsche, and the meeting will also be used by the German company to officially launch the four-door Panamera to the North American market. Over 145 historic Porsches are expected to be racing at the famous, rolling, hillside course.

"This year’s Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races presents the perfect opportunity to demonstrate that Porsche’s DNA, its competitive spirit and drive for perfection, runs from the very first 356, Porsche No. 1 up through today’s all-new Panamera," said Detlev von Platen, President and CEO of Porsche Cars North America. "We at Porsche are deeply honoured to have been named the ‘featured marque’ on this, the 61st anniversary of the very first Porsche and the North American debut of the Panamera, the very latest Porsche."

Spectators will also be able to see several 917s; a 1960 Porsche Type 718 F2; a 1962 Porsche Type 804 F1; and the 1962 Porsche Type 718 W-RS 8-cylinder SpyderDan Gurney and Jo Bonnier's 1961 Targa Florio second-place car.

As always, the racing will feature rare cars unseen to European enthusiasts, as in the separate races for Can Am and IMSA GT machinery.

Rolex will present its 'Moments in Time' display again and this exhibition will include more racing Porsches and the famous pair of cars that, in 1969, provided the Le Mans 24 Hours' closest finish: the Gulf Ford GT40 and the works long-tail Porsche 908.

For more information, visit

Russo and Steele Auction, Downtown Monterey Marriott Hotel, Monterey
Thursday 13 - Saturday 15 August

Russo and Steele's 2009 catalogue is, as usual, filled with US 'hi-po' big-capacity classics from Chevrolet, Plymouth, Pontiac and Shelby. That said, fanciers of European high-quality classics will like the 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4 and the 1970 Ferrari 365 GT 2+2 that will be on display at La Dolce Vita Automobili at Black Horse during the day on Friday, August 14 and then up for grabs to the highest bidder during the weekend auction.

For more information, visit

Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance
Sunday 16 August

The 2009 Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, held on the famous 18th hole on the Pebble Beach golf course, will feature Bugatti and Bentley. It will also celebrate 100 years of Morgan and Audi, as well as the esoteric designs of Zagato.

Bentley will use the occasion to launch its new 'Grand Bentley' and the new car will join many wonderful, one-off examples of the marque, all specially flown in for the occasion.

In 2009, Best in Show went to Jon Shirley, the former president and chief operating officer of Microsoft, with his Touring-bodied 1938 Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B.

For more information, visit

Gooding & Company ‘The Pebble Beach Auction’
Saturday 15 and Sunday 16 August

With two collections, two California Spiders and a ‘Without Reserve’ ex-Ettore Bugatti Type 57C Coupé to sell over the Pebble Beach weekend, Gooding & Company will expect to close proceedings at this year’s Monterey week in some style – and make a dollar or two...

read the complete article

Text: Steve Wakefield
Photos: Classic Driver / The Auction Houses

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