Monterey 2017 – Part 1
M is for Monterey, and for car enthusiasts for one week in August M not only equals Monterey, but also Magic, Madness and Manic; Magic for the amazing array of cars at the various events, Madness for the cost of it all, and Manic for the logistics of trying to see as much as possible while you are there.
One of the first gatherings of the week is the Concours-On-The-Avenue, which, as the name implies, is held on the picturesque Ocean Avenue in Carmel and is free to one and all. This gathering, now in its 11th year, always attracts a varied selection of interesting, and frequently quirky, machinery, enriched by the arrival or a selection of raucous race cars from the Laguna Seca circuit, whose arrival is impatiently awaited by the gathered masses. Amongst the quirky element there were two extremes, with a trio of Cyclops micro cars at one end of the spectrum, and at the other end a custom 1962 Ford Econoline truck featuring quad rear mounted supercharged Ford V8 engines pumping out 4000hp, aptly named “Equadoline”. The Italian car content, particularly Ferrari, was quite low this year, but that didn’t detract from the quality, with the 1958 Ferrari 250 GT TdF Berlinetta, chassis # 0905 GT, of Charles Betz and Fred Peters taking the overall Best of Show award.
Next on the agenda are the previews for the numerous auctions that take place during the remainder of the week, with all the major auction houses having a presence in various locations, and all with some high end attractions, with plenty to interest aficionados of Italian machinery, with Ferrari once again leading the way. As the auctions panned out, the market for good and rare examples seemed to be as robust as ever with a number of new world record prices being set. Mecum had nearly 40 Ferraris on offer, including an Enzo and a pair of LaFerraris, whilst RM Sotheby’s sale featured the “Ferrari Performance Collection” all offered at no reserve. Bonhams sale featured a number of Ferraris including a 250 GT TdF Berlinetta, a 400 SA Superamerica and a 312 T5 F1 car, a GTO (288), an F40, and an Enzo, whilst Gooding & Company had a wide variety of Ferrari offerings ranging from a 1952 212 Inter Vignale Coupé through to a 2015 LaFerrari. Add in the offerings from Russo & Steele and other auctions around the Monterey Peninsula, there were plenty of vehicles on offer at a variety of prices.
However the “high numbers” came from the major players, with RM Sotheby’s achieving $22.55 million for a 1956 Aston Martin DBR1 sports racing car, making it the most valuable British car ever sold at auction. Their “Ferrari Performance Collection” comprising 13 examples of the marque, achieved a total of over 16 million, with the 250 GT SWB Berlinetta achieving $8.305 million. These were part of sales totalling nearly $133 million, with an 88% sell-through rate, including 32 individual million-dollar-plus results. Over at Gooding & Company their top sale was a 1970 Porsche 917K, which became the most valuable Porsche ever sold at auction with a figure of $14.08 million. This price broke the previous Porsche auction record, also held by Gooding & Company, for a 1982 Porsche 956 which they had sold for $10.12 million in 2015. The star of their Saturday auction was a 1966 Ferrari 275 GTB/C, which also set a new world auction record for the model when it sold for $14.52 million. Their total sales were more than $91.5 million with an 81% sell-through rate, with 22 lots achieving $1 million plus results. In the Bonhams auction at Quail Lodge, the star lot was a 1995 Mclaren F1 GT, which achieved a staggering $15.62 million, a new world record for a post 1970 car at auction. The ex-Team Cunningham Lightweight Jaguar E-Type also broke the auction house’s existing world record for an example of the model, when it sold for $8 million, whilst overall they had an 80% sell-through rate totalling some $56.43 million. Mecum’s sale at the Hyatt Regency in Monterey, notched up a total of $34 million, with the top sale being a 2014 Ferrari LaFerrari at $3.45 million, followed by a 2015 Bugatti Veyron Grand Sport Vitesse at $2.35 million and a 2017 Ferrari F12 TdF at $1.25 million, these latter figures excluding buyer’s premium.
After the Concours-On-The-Avenue in Carmel on the Tuesday, another free to view gathering is the Tour de Pebble Beach early on the Thursday morning, when entrants in the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance have a touring road rally starting and ending at the Equestrian Centre at Pebble Beach. After an enforced change of route in 2016 in the aftermath of forest fires, the participants were back on their regular route, down the scenic coastal Highway 1 to Big Sur and back again, to the regular lunch stop on Ocean Avenue in Carmel.
After getting an overview of the cars at the Equestrian Centre, where there is normally some early morning mist, it is nice to take a drive down Highway 1 to watch them on their journey and see them in the sunshine in their element on the open road. Definitely one of the highlights of this year was to see and hear the stunning bright yellow ex-Ecurie Francorchamps Ferrari 412 P sports racing car, owned by Harry Yeagy, on the open road with its V12 engine playing a strident symphony. You saw it flash by travelling south, and just had to wait for it to come back north to experience the aural and visual treat again!
All Photos by Keith Bluemel