Monterey visitor's dilemma:So many events, so little time
By Larry Edsall
Well, it's that time of year again, time for the annual automotive pilgrimage to the Monterey Peninsula with its classic car auctions and vintage racing events, as well as a few new-car launches as contemporary automakers join the party.
Among the auction houses:
-Gooding & Company (August 20-21 at Pebble Beach) will feature five coachbuilt Ferraris from the first 15 years of Prancing Horse production -- a 1950 195 Inter by Touring, a 1953 375 America by Vignale, a 1955 250 GT Berlinetta by Pinin Farina, a 1957 410 Superamerica coupe, also by Pinin Farina, as well as a 1963 400 Superamerica Aerodinamica coupe by Pininfarina -- as well as the famed Whittell Coupe 1931 Duesenberg Model J, the oldest surviving production Bentley -- 1921 3-Litre chassis number 3 -- the 1963 Shelby Cobra 289 factory racer, and a 1957 Ferrari 250 Testa Rossa.
While the TR may bring the biggest bids, Captain George Whittell Jr.'s car also deserves some attention. Whittell was heir of a California Gold Rush and real estate fortune --which he cashed in just two weeks before the 1929 stock market crash. Whittell was known as the ultimate 1930s playboy, owned a 40,000-acre estate on Lake Tahoe, and spent $17,000 in 1931 on his Dusie, which features unique bodywork designed by Franklin Q. Hershey and crafted by Murphy.
-Consignments at RM (August 19-20 at the Portola Hotel in Monterey) include two Ford concept vehicles -- the 2001 Thunderbird sports roadster and 2005 Shelby GR-1 (proceeds from both benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation) -- a 1952 Chrysler D'Elegance and two Chrysler concepts -- a 1941 Thunderbolt and 1953 Dodge Firearrow III, as well as a trio of supercharged Mercedes from the Lyon Family Collection -- a 1935 500 K roadster, 1936 540 K Spezial coupe and 1939 540 K Spezial roadster -- a 1952 Ferrari 340 Mexico Berlinetta by Vignale, a 1955 Ferrari 750 Monza spyder, and the 1969 "Stars & Stripes" Greenwood racing Chevrolet Corvette.
-Mecum (August 18-20 at the Hyatt Regency Monterey at Del Monte) will include a 1960 Maserati Tipo 61/60 "Birdcage" racer, three barn-found low-mileage Italian classics -- a 1974 Ferrari Dino 246 GTS, 1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona and 1977 Maserati Bora coupe -- as well as 200 vintage motorcycles.
"We have everything from an 1885 Penny Farthing bicycle to a 2011 Yamaha R1 being guest auctioneered for charity (Bailey's Cafe school of the arts) by Jay Leno and Kenny Roberts," said Dana Mecum.
-Russo and Steele (August 18-20 at the Monterey Marriott) will offer a 1966 Ferrari 275, the first production 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle LS6, a 1973 Porsche RS, a 1967 Shelby GT500, the only surviving 1931 Henny roadster and
Among vehicles offered at Monterey auctions are:
-Sheryl Crow's 1959 190 SL Mercedes roadster (proceeds of the bidding at Gooding to benefit tornado relief in Joplin, Missouri)
-a 1931 Brough Superior SS80 motorcycle formerly owned by Steve McQueen and Von Dutch (also at Gooding)
Concours d'elegance -- and much more
Meanwhile, the 61st Pebble Beach concours d'elegance will include not only an appearance by John Surtees but the Ferrari 158 and the MV Agusta he used to become the only person to win the world championship in both sports, as well as a tribute to the 125th anniversary of Mercedes-Benz, and much more.
Also on the Monterey calendar are the annual Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, The Quail motorsports gathering, Concorso Italiano, the Carmel-by-the-Sea Concours on the Avenue, and even the Concours d'LeMons, a counter-restoration event featuring survivor (and barely at that) vehicles.
While most Monterey events carry relatively steep admission prices, at least one is free -- the annual Tour d'Elegance, which between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. Thursday, August 18, sends Pebble Beach entrants out on public roads including Highway One and 17-Mile Drive.
Another event for those on a budget is the Monterey Pre-Reunion racing program August 13-14.
Movie night at the museum
This isn't a Monterey event, but for those in the Midwest...
The Prowler Owners Association and Michigan Hot Rod Association will sponsor Movie Night at the Museum, August 19 at the Walter P. Chrysler Museum, with the Michigan premiere of Deuce of Spades, a PG-13 film about a mysterious letter from the 1950s that a "hot rod girl" finds hidden in her roadster. Film maker Faith Granger will be on hand to discuss her work.
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