Monterey was marvelous, but storm clouds on the horizon
Monterey apparently surpassed anything anyone might have been expecting, but there also were warnings of storm clouds on the horizon for the car collecting hobby.
But before worrying about those storm warnings (which we'll do in our next episode a couple of weeks down the road), we're going to celebrate the Monterey weekend as we roll toward that other mid-summer celebration of classic cars -- the Woodward Dream Cruise, which officially occurs Saturday, August 21.
However, just Monterey, Woodward has grown to stretch out over the course of a week; friends already are emailing us photos of classic cars cruising Motown's most famous automotive avenue, and the traffic only increases each evening as we get closer to Saturday's bumper-to-bumper sheetmetal parade.
1933 Delage takes best in show
At the 60th Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, a 1933 Delage D8S De Villars Roadster took best-in-show honors. The victory was the first at Pebble Beach for car collector Jim Patterson and his Louisville, Kentucky-based Patterson Collection, but it was the fourth in the last 10 years for RM, which did the car's restoration.
"We've won [with other cars] at a lot of concours, but never here," said Patterson, who founded the Long John Silver's restaurant chain and was involved in the founding of the Rally's Hamburger stores. "This win at Pebble is the ultimate. This is the one that really matters."
The Delage, which was built for display at the 1933 Salon de Paris, was owned during the 1950s by the Grand Hotel Velasquez in Madrid, Spain, and was used to transport its most important clientele.
Patterson's car won best-in-show honors over a field of more than 250 vehicles representing owners from 15 nations. Those cars included representatives of the centennial of Alfa Romeo, the 75th anniversary of Jaguar, a special class of Pierce-Arrows, Ghia-designed vehicles, the 50th anniversary group of Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinettas, the centennial of the Indianapolis 500-mile race, and special groups of hot rod lakesters and Bonneville racers, as well as a 1902 Mercedes Simplex, the oldest "Mercedes" badged vehicle still on the road; the car arrived at Pebble Beach after a 1500-mile drive.
The 61st Pebble Beach Concours is scheduled for August 21, 2011, and will feature Mercedes-Benz and 100 Years of the Automobile, the Stutz centennial, the Ferrari 250 GTO and Italian motorcycles.
Huge numbers at Monterey auctions
Nearly three dozen cars sold for more than $1 million at the various classic car auctions on the Monterey Peninsula with five vehicles topping the $4 million mark.
The top sales of the weekend were at the Gooding & Company event, where a 1959 Ferrari 250 GT LWB California Spider Competizione brought $7.26 million, a 1935 Alfa Romeo 8C 2300 Monza went for $6.71 million, and a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta SEFAC hot rod got $6,105 million.
Also exceeding the $4-million mark was a pair of cars sold at the RM Auction: a 1938 Talbot-Lago T140-C Lago Speciale Teardrop Coupe and a 1954 Ferrari 375 MM Berlinetta each bringing $4.62 million.
At RM, 16 cars sold for $1 million or more with 13 such sales at Gooding. Mecum and Bonhams & Butterfields each had two cars in that category. The top sale at Russo and Steele was $770,000 for the ex-Mark Donohue 1971 AMC Javelin Trans-Am racer.
Among the various world-record sales was a new standard for any Porsche, with a 1972-73 917 Interserie Spyder/1970 Gulf-JWA Le Mans 917K coupe, raced by Jurgen Barth, David Hobbs, Mike Hailwood and others, selling for $3.965 million.
More auction action on the horizon
While Monterey was the mid-summer highlight, the auction action really doesn't slow any. In the next few weeks, we'll preview events including the inaugural Auctions America by RM event at Auburn (where some 700 vehicles already have been consigned), the inaugural Grande Salon Antique and Classic Car auction staged by Classic Motorcar Auctions in conjunction with the Glenmoor Gathering, and the third annual Barrett-Jackson event at Las Vegas, where Vegas headliner Danny Gans will sell 10 vehicles from his collection.
'29 Lagonda shows the Spirit of Monterey
Of the more than 600 vintage racing vehicles that participated in the inaugural Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, it was a 1929 Lagonda that drove off with the Spirit of Monterey Trophy for overall excellence in presentation and performance.
"This is the car we drive," said car owner Graham Wallis of Cedar Glen, California. "We go shopping in it, we vacation in it, we go to the garden center and put plants in it, and four or five times a year we pump the tires up and we go racing.
"The car is absolutely all original," he added. "We've traced its history back to the 1930s and found that the body is all original--most of the leather is original, the engine and gear box are all original, and it's all as it was when it came out of the factory."
Now that www.classiccars.com has launched its gigantic classic car calendar, instead of listing a few upcoming events here, we're simply closing with a link to the searchable calendar with all the bells and whistles, including maps to guide you to the events: Click here for event calendar.
Click here for more articles by Larry Edsall.