Sunday, August 23, 2015

Monterey - Wow What A Week!

The Monterey Automobile Week is over. Every year that I go (I missed last year) I think it can't get any better (or more expensive) but every year it just seems that all the events out do themselves.

I had a truncated week this year; instead of going from Monday to Monday I went down on Wednesday and came home Sunday evening. I hit all the auctions to see some of their offerings, drove the new Alfa Romeo 4C Spider, went to Concorso Italiano and the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. I missed one event that I had planned on attending because of extreme brain fade.

Some pundits said they didn't expect the auctions to equal last year's results but seems to me they did very well. Total sales were $378,302,598. This figure doesn't include Rick Cole Auctions; they haven't release their numbers yet, or JR Auctions who won't report their sales although they did report that they sold 35-40% of the vehicles and boats offered. The top in sales dollars was RM Sotheby's with over $172 million.

One of the things that amazes me at the auctions is to see cars that not that long ago could be picked up for a relative song going for "wow" money. Yet at the same time I saw cars that went for way less than I would have expected. Like a '99 Ferrari 456 M GTA that sold for a mere $36,000. Admittedly not the most sought after Ferrari but a Ferrari no less.
Not the Ferrari but a similar 456.

I was impressed by the overall quality of the offereings. It seems that every auction has upped their game. I expect to see the high quality vehicles at Bonhams, Gooding and RM Sotheby's but some of the others had a spotty past. Not any more. I saw some cars that weren't to my taste but I really didn't see any dogs.

Although I wrote a short article on the Alfa Romeo 4C Spider I have to mention it again. I see great things for Alfa once again. The 4C Spider is an exciting car that will put a smile on your face every time you drive it.

Concorso Italiano moved to Bayonet & Black Horse Golf Course last year and was there again this year. They were there a few years ago. If you love Italian cars this is the place to go. The outstanding Italian car was a black - yes black - 1972 Ferrari Dino 246 GTS.

The Pebble Beach Concour d'Elegance is the cornerstone of the week. You only see the absolute best of the best here. The downside to Pebble are the crowds. If you don't get your viewing done before 10 a.m. you have to contend with wall-to-wall people. Ever since I've been attending the ticket prices have gone up and up yet they still come. This year's tickets were $300 in advance and $350 at the gate.

This year's Best of Show was a 1924 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A F.

I have to give a special thanks to Meguiar's Car Care Products for allowing me into their hospitality patio. Barry and Karen Meguiar are two of the nicest, most gracious people I have ever met. Thank you for your kindness.

Almost every event during the week benefits a charity and for that I am thankful as well. The inhabitants of the Monterey Peninsula deserve a big thank you as well. Many visitors during the week forget that there are thousands of people who have to go to work every day while we enjoy the good life. The massive traffic jams are an inconvenience for us; for the residents it is hell. If you go next year be kind to those who live there.

There are many events that I did not get to this year and I am sorry. Time will tell what I do next year.


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