Saturday August 25th, 5 am.
Saturday is the Concorso Italiano. Here I switch hats from a reporter to that of an artist selling my work. Lots of high end exotic cars, but mostly Ferrari. Although there were some low end ones like a Fiat Tipolino with period luggage on the back and various cars of perhaps more obscure origins. One display sold wrecked exotics: it was a bit shocking! A Ferrari thoroughly hit front back and sideways that they say can be fix…talk about buying a fixer upper!. The event’s sound system is good and you can hear the pitter patter of the knowledgeable announcers like Keith Martin and Matt Stone no matter where you are. There was also a bit of a fashionista thing going on. I was in love with some stringback driving gloves but didn’t’ dare ask the price…
A nasty cloud moved in around 3 pm and a lot of the exhibitors made a hasty exit. But Monterey veterans knew it was only a cloud “showing off”, and, sure enough, the sun came out again. But we really know that there was another exotic car event on Cannery Row and some of the most fanatic Ferraristi wanted to make that show too! By the way they have a fashion show there for both men and for women… (hey, Tom, add fashion for pets…)
I popped over to the RM auction which is a fun one to walk through and see the cars ready to sell in the Town Square (well, it’s not square but has nice cobblestones). I spotted person in a Michelotti designed Daytona Targa Ferrari and a James Young-wrought Silver Cloud Sedan de Ville… two of my favorites. RM had a whole display inside of private treaty cars, where (as I understand it) you bid but the price of the sale is not announced. Still word got out that one of the most promoted headliners sold well, the Ferrari 250GTO for somewhere around $48 million possibly making it the most expensive car publically sold in the US. They had the car on its own stage and you entered the room through a hallway decorated with pictures of the car during its racing career. Since there were only some 26 GTOs made you can see that the demand car exceeds availability.
While at the RM auction I ran across Alain de Cadenet, a movie star, former race driver, writer and bon vivant. He told about Fox filming Ford vs. Ferrari and he agreed with me that it sounds like the direction they’re going with Shelby and Miles inventing the GT40 from scratch is bit of a stretch, but we both agreed “That’s Hollywood!”
I also went to the Bonhams auction over by the Quail Lodge and was entranced by some convertible that looked ‘50s America based but with Italian bodywork. The giveaway that it was American was American guages.
Alas I missed the Gooding auction which by the design of their tent has an open to the sun portion, but going there would have meant a really long walk and the Missus and I are both having locomotion problems.
There is a splendid tent on the same green as the concours that houses the Automotive Fine Arts Society (AFAS) Invitational Preview Reception on Saturday afternoon and the actual art show on Sunday the day of the concours itself.
I know triptych.. but what do you call a four-plus-plus-plus panel work? (Charles Maher painting)
The car is bursting out of the picture frame. (Hendrik Mueller painting)
Refreshments are served but I couldn’t close down my booth at Concorso fast enough to make it on time for the vittles. But I still got to meet the artists and ask what’s new. And that’s what’s great about this preview which goes on from about 4 pm to 6 pm. You get a chance to talk at length to each of the artists and find out more about their background and the background of their work.
I should mention that some of the exhibiting artists have excellent books about their art, and they are often available for purchase at the show. You really need to get one to be a proper “devotee”. (see the AFAS show story for more on this event AFAS Show )
Sunday, Aug. 26th, 5 am
The Sunday of Car Week is always the Day of Reckoning. It’s the day that separates the men from the boys. I went to my super secret hiding place in the Del Monte forest and got over to Pebble Beach, ticket in hand by around 7 am. I think it was not because of my crooked teeth smile but because of my wonderful Ice Cream summer that nobody asked me who I was or even for a ticket when I walked out onto the green. I knew the dark clouds gathered overhead were but a feint again and I was right, although by the clearing I’d shot most of my pictures.
I am pleased as a “budding fashionista” to say that more spectators and participants are wearing period clothing that suits the era of their cars. Lord March at Goodwood in the UK even has a clothing guide: of which I approve. After all, it ‘s only one day a year, so can we even as spectators leave the blue jeans and Adidas sweatshirts at home? I was planning on taking an ascot but as I live in Inland empire, they had never heard of it, or them (even Ascot has banned them, which I plan to take issue with…) Each year at Pebble … while I enjoy the Italian sports cars… I am ever more seduced by the swoopy prewar cars of the “Streamline Moderne” school. Mostly Delages and Delahayes but there were also some British cars with pretty curvilinear bodywork. This year they honored Tucker and there was a whole row of the failed competitor to Detroit cars. I wish they would have had a display on Alex Tremulis designing it. I enjoyed talking to him when he was a judge on a Motor Trend car of the year jury 50 years or so ago. Back then, the bespectacled man struck me then as sort of a Dr. Zarkoff character, if you would have asked him to design a flying car, he’d go do it, nothing intimidated him. Good thing he was on Our Side during the war…
I left Pebble at noon, knowing it would become increasingly crowded with less photo opportunities and I had a five hour date with Route 5.
I heard an Alfa 8C won Best of Show. But I was also impressed by the Marmon with all the world’s chrome on the grille.
As I left town, once again I had a pang of regret I didn’t make an appearance at Clint Eastwood’s Mission Inn ranch, for dinner on the deck as the sheep graze. I don’t think they missed me…
THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss is a fine artist and author. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
As always, Mr Wyss' opinions and comments are entirely his own and do not necessarily reflect those of this publication.