New La Dolce Vita Automobili Joins Monterey Events Calendar
By Larry Edsall
What appeared to be a void on the Monterey classic car weekend has been filled, twice over.
A year ago, it seemed the future of the popular Concorso Italiano was in jeopardy, so Kerry McMullen, who owns MIE, the Maserati parts supplier, and also heads the Maserati Club International, got together with East Coast Italian-car event organizer and open-wheel road racer Jerry Kaye to create La Dolce Vita Automobili, an Italian car celebration. The inaugural event will be held August 14 on the fairways of the Black Hawk golf club, formerly the site of the Concorso, which had moved to the tarmac of the Marina Municipal Airport, midway between Monterey and Salinas.
"We were responding to a need, to the car clubs and vendors and sponsors, and especially to the car owners," McMullen explained, "of getting back to the kind of event that had been so enjoyable, and to put it on grass, where it needed to be and where it should be. That was the motivation."
The goal, he added, is "a much more relaxed type of environment, more car-centric and less commercial.
"We're looking for something that more ‘show up on the grass, open your trunk, take out your picnic, enjoy a nice bottle of wine with your friends and other gear heads, with car-guy talk, and without much hype."
While the event may be lower key, it promises to be top level, with special displays and some Pebble Beach-winning vehicles.
McMullen and Kaye met several years ago when McMullen was a participant in Le Belle Macchine d'Italia, an Italian car celebration Kaye stages annually at the racetrack at Pocono, Pennsylvania. Kaye also stages Le Belle Macchine d'Italia – Sud in the fall at Daytona Beach, Florida.
"Jerry has a cool collection of cars and a lot of contacts on the East Coast," said McMullen. "My background is on the West Coast, so it was a natural fit."
"Historically, some of the venues [on the Monterey peninsula] have been pretty jealous of their constituents," Kaye said. "What we think we're doing is offering something with a different look and feel."
"If I were to describe my vision, it would be something between what Concorso does and what Quail [A Motorsports Gathering] does," said McMullen, who explained that his vision includes "cars laid out artistically, so people can meander among the cars and talk to the car owners, can be part of the event. It won't be just a ‘display' venue."
Kaye adds that the new event doesn't see itself as being in competition with other events on Friday. In fact, he said, he and McMullen are "happy to see Concorso revitalized."
"I think," he added, "that what you'll find at the end of the day is that there are plenty of cars and plenty of choices that people can make."
As Kaye noted, even as he and McMullen were organizing their new Italian-oriented car event, the Concorso Italiano was being revitalized, with new ownership and a new location. For its 24th annual "Celebration of Italian Style," Concorso moves back onto grass, this time at the Laguna Seca Golf Ranch.
The event, also on August 14, will offer cars and stars, including Jay Leno, Lilli Bertone, Tom Tjaarda, Matteo and Luca Fioravanti and Lamborghini test driver Valentino Balboni.
RM Schedules Online Auction
RM Classic Cars also has something new you might want to try: an online-only collector car auction, to be held Sunday, August 9.
A 1953 Cadillac convertible, 10,000-mile 1967 Triumph TR6, 1963 "split-window" Corvette and a fully restored 1941 Fargo pickup are among the early consignments.
"We're thinking outside the auction block," said RM consignment specialist Dan Spendick, "offering our clients a cyberspace alternative to traditional auction venues."
Cars can be viewed on RM's website, with RM's "car specialists" offering "a third-party assessment" of each vehicle's condition and verification of titles and ownership.
Mark Your Calendars
10-12 – Kruse at San Jose
17-18 – Mecum at Des Moines
24-25 – Kruse at Denver
1 – RM at Meadow Brook, Rochester, Michigan
7-8 – Kruse Verona at Syracuse, New York
9 – RM online collector car auction
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