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Monterey and Pebble Beach 2011: Events guide and auction round-up

Can it really be 12 months since we last previewed Pebble Beach week? My goodness, it is. While much water might have passed under the bridge since then, there’s no denying that the thought of seven days on the Monterey Peninsula is an enticing one.

For all the invitation-only events, the multi-million-dollar auctions and the almost surreal sight of what could well be 20 Ferrari 250 GTOs both on the lawn at Pebble Beach and on the track at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the week is still a celebration of the motor car and what makes us love it so.

Deep down, the most hardened concours competitor or truly serious auction-goer is, at heart, a car nut. Cut me and do I not bleed Pennzoil, Castrol or Agip? Friendships made at a sale, the race track or simply on Highway One as the Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance passes by, can last a lifetime.

From the first glimpse of a classic car, as the signs to Carmel count down the miles, to the final case-packing and the journey back to SFO, it’s a topsy–turvy, unforgettable week of action.

And one we’ll be sharing with you in days to come, with all the official auction results and photo-galleries of the week’s activities. Here’s an overview of the week:

Carmel-by-the-Sea Concours on the Avenue
Tuesday 16 August

It's nice to see this great, open-to-the-public event back on the calendar. From 11:00 to 17:00 on Tuesday 16 August the streets of the charming seaside town are filled with top-quality classic cars competing for concours prizes. The judging is serious, the location to die for, and the nearby restaurants and cafes the perfect place to take a well-earned breather from a long-distance flight, savouring the week's events to come.

For more information, visit

Automobilia Monterey, Ballroom of The Embassy Suites, Canyon Del Rey, Seaside
Tuesday 16 - Wednesday 17 August

Last year, I said that this was a "real Monterey-week 'must-do'". Except that my 2010 schedule meant I didn't 'do' it.

This August, however, I'll be back. And so should you; the $15 (for one day, or $20 for both) entry is just the start of it, the event is packed with quality posters, automobilia and models, so make sure you have some space in those bags for a little extra on the return trip.

Automobilia Monterey is just a short ride from Monterey on the way to Laguna Seca and has plenty of free parking. The opening hours are 10:00 - 18:00 Tuesday, 10:00 - 19:00 Wednesday.

For more information, visit

Gordon McCall's 'Motorworks Revival 2011', Monterey Jet Center, 300 Sky Park Drive, Monterey
Wednesday 17 August

This is the evening when Monterey week really kicks off. With long-term partners such as Bentley, Breitling and Bernardus vineyards, together with aeronautical giants including Bombardier, Pilatus and Gulfstream, the McCall evening mixes modern and classic cars, aviation and the luxury goods industry.

And present to enjoy it all will be a ‘who’s who’ of important movers and shakers, all keen to discuss what's 'in' and what's 'out' at Monterey this year.

If you really want to hear it first, from those in the know, you better be at the Jet Center on Wednesday night.

For ticket information, visit

Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance presented by Rolex
Thursday 18 August

Trailer queens? Frightened of a little itty-bitty piece of grit marking your Cal Spider? Psshaw! The owners of Sunday's Pebble Beach Concours cars like driving, as well as showing, so the round trip from Pebble, to Big Sur Station and back again on Pebble Beach-week Thursday is as important (okay, almost as important...) as activities on the Concours field. And don't forget, come that Sunday, if two cars tie on points it will be the car that entered the Tour that gets the nod from the judges.

The Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance presented by Rolex will start at 08:30 from Collins Field in Pebble Beach, returning by 15:00, when the participants will enjoy a champagne toast. Lunch is taken in Carmel, where spectator parking is tighter than the shutlines on a V16 Cadillac, but well worth the effort.

Not to be missed, the Tour is great for photography and it shows that the immaculately prepared, priceless concours entries do actually run – rather well. And, stick to Highway One and Carmel and it won't cost you a cent to see it.

For more information, visit

Bonhams Sale at Quail Lodge, Carmel Valley
Thursday 18 - Friday 19 August

This year’s Carmel Valley sale, now firmly established as a two-day event, lists 130 cars and motorcycles with the Porsche marque well represented...

read the complete article

RM Auctions' Monterey Auction
Friday 19 - Saturday 20 August

As well-balanced as a finely tuned four-cam Ferrari, RM’s latest sale catalogue is now out and lists over 140 motor cars all having, the Ontario-based house would avow, that ‘Monterey Magic’...

read the complete article

Concorso Italiano®, Laguna Seca Golf Ranch, Monterey
Friday 19 August: 09:00-17:00

For enthusiasts of all things Italian, the Concorso is one of the highlights of the week. Well over 1000 Italian cars, ranging from Fiat 500s to Lamborghini's latest Aventador will be on display, with the best in Italian wine and food keeping the inner man happy. The event takes place at the Laguna Seca Golf Ranch.

For more information, visit

Pebble Beach RetroAuto
Friday 19 - Sunday 21 August

Open from 10:00 to 17:00 (10:00 to 18:00 on Concours Sunday), you can’t miss the big marquee that houses RetroAuto as you arrive at the Pebble Beach exhibition area. It’s a great place to pore over rare books, models and expensive collectors’ automobilia. This year Swiss artist Dante Rubli will show his 1:8 scale 24-carat gold Ferrari 250 GTO.

For more information, visit

Mecum at Monterey
Thursday 18 - Saturday 20 August

American auction house Mecum will be holding a three-day sale at the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel & Spa on Del Monte Golf Course, Monterey. One of the feature lots this year is a 1954 Maserati A6 GCS Tipo MM, chassis #2065.

For further information, see

The Quail: A Motorsport Gathering, Quail Lodge, Carmel Valley
Friday 19 August

A terrific event - but one that does tend to sell out, so if you are reading this now, it could be too late. I went for the first time in 2010 and enjoyed every minute. Until you've tasted Carroll Shelby's special-recipe chilli, you can't consider yourself a car aficionado.

Set in an archetypal American country club location, The Quail entertains from 10.00 in the morning to late afternoon, when those who have been partaking too liberally in the Martinis have to be carried home, and the action moves to the adjacent Bonhams sale tent.

There are one-on-one interviews with motor racing personalities throughout the day, informed commentary from Winston Goodfellow, and urbane MC'ing by Bentley's Richard Charlesworth, who is also in charge of the concours presentation. And there's also a visit from cars racing at Laguna Seca, which this year celebrates Jaguar.

For more information, visit

Concours d'LeMons 2011 Seaside City Hall, 440 Harcourt Ave. Seaside, CA
Saturday 20 August "9:14 am until they throw us out..."

Hysterically funny event with classes such as 'Rust Belt American Junk, pre '64', 'Needlessly Complex Italian, 1974-current' and 'Rueful Britannia, pre '66' (Award: The Royal Order of MOT Failure). The antidote to everything that takes itself too seriously.

I've never been, but it comes highly recommended.

For more information, visit

Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
Thursday 18 - Sunday 21 August

Without a doubt, this is one of the world's best historic racing events.

For 2011, the organisers will be honouring Jaguar, in celebration of the great British marque's fifty-year-old E-type and the 60 years since its C-type won at Le Mans. To European eyes, the cars and the atmosphere are so, so different. You'll never normally see the range of Porsches, Ferraris and home-grown specials from Kurtis and Scarab that race at 'the track' in August.

And don't forget the all-GTO race, a $200m event - so the organisers say - that will feature the Ferrari 250 GTO where it belongs: on a circuit. This will take place on Saturday, at 14:10. For a full schedule, please click here.

For more information, visit

Russo and Steele 11th Annual 'Monterey Sports and Muscle at the Marriott'
Thursday 18 - Saturday 20 August

Scottsdale-based auctioneer Russo and Steele has maintained its reputation for offering home-grown 'muscle' but has, in recent years, branched out further and catalogued many collectible European cars.

This year, the Monterey Marriott Hotel in downtown Monterey will resound to the twelve-cylinder harmony of a 1966 Ferrari 275 GTS as well as the more familiar 'a-hunka-hunka-hunka' of a 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle SS 454 LS6 'Pilot Car' as they cross the block. Entertainment at its finest - and a good catalogue, to boot.

For more information, visit

Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance
Sunday 21 August

Quite simply, the most hotly contested concours d'elegance in the world. To win a prize on Sunday afternoon at the Pebble Beach Golf Links' 18th fairway is the ultimate accolade: you have truly made it. It is the reason the multi-million-dollar industry that is Monterey car week exists.

Every August, the concours shines a torch on certain marques or models. This year, '125 Years of Benz, Daimler, Mercedes and Mercedes-Benz' will be so honoured and so will a likely 20 Ferrari 250 GTOs (should they survive the previous day's track time at Laguna Seca), invited as a celebration of 50 years of the world's most desirable series GT car.

I might be wrong, but don't expect a Best in Show from this category, though. Note the 'Elegance' in the title, as for so many years it's been a car from the 20s or 30s that has taken the crown.

For more information, visit

Gooding & Company ‘The Pebble Beach Auction’
Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 August

While Gooding lists 22 Ferraris in its 2011 Pebble Beach catalogue, including the potentially record-setting 1957 Testa Rossa prototype, this year’s sale also has a variety of other entries from other marques...

read the complete article

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

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