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Old August 19th, 2003, 10:59 AM   #1
Tom S.
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2003 Monterey weekend review (long)

Rick and Dan have great pictures and reviews of the weekend, but I thought I'd add my $.02. The pictures I took are being developed and won't be able to add to the board until later in the week.

First off, the events were better than ever before and the attendance was up at all events. The one downside is the traffic can be really flustrating getting to and from each event. The weather was the best I remember since going there from 1973.

Wednesday night is the kick-off with Gordon McCalls party at the Monterey Jet Center. It's a great party with time to see the participants and get an idea what cars will be displayed at what venue. Gordon mixes the cars and planes (both new and old) in front of the Jet Center. Highlights include the Le Mans winning Bentley (with sign on dash for instructions to NOT wash or clean the car) as it finished the race. The new Benley Continental GT is a fantastic car. Easily on my list of desireables. Boeing Business Jets displayed their new 737 with custom interior of burlwood and leather. Reggie Jackson was in front of me and even he was speechless! If you have to ask the price...$35 mill for the plane & $14 mill for the interior. The Gulfstream V seemed really tiny by comparison. but they had a guy rolling cigars for you.

Thursday's "The Tour" for Pebble entrants was awesome this year. Maxed out for 140 entrants, it was a great preview for Sunday's show. Since it was Ford's year, the tour was lead by a yellow Ford GT-40 Mk IV and the Peterson Museum's Mk III. Plenty of Bugatti's in the middle and the tiny Bantam's in the rear.

Friday was actually relaxing for me after all those years organizing the Vintage Ferrari Concours at Concorso Italiano. I decided to take a break and let some one else do it. We went to The Quail, a new venue at Quail Lodge. 100 cars & only 3500 people meant plenty of space to see the cars and wander around. Quail has undergone a $25 million renovation and it shows. Beautiful. The Benleys were there and we had a great chat with Derek Bell about racing. Really nice guy. We drove the new VW SUV on a special hill climb course and I am very impressed. Unfortuately, someone went too off road and they had to pull them out with a cable. They had an MD Helicopter available for shuttle to Laguna Seca (Steve Earle and the Historics were a sponsor and had cars from the track on display after their qualifying runs) and back all day. Unfortuately the only available space for me to go was too late in the day as I promised to be at Concorso Italiano later. This is a great event that will grow in the next couple of years with the addition of the Goodwood people and a racing hillclimb planned. CI was it's usual self, lot's of neat cars with the unique Italian flavor. If you are impressed with a fairway of 340+ Ferrari's , this is your event. I didn't get to the Porsche Corral, but there are usually very significant cars brought in by owners.

Saturday at Laguna was huge. Being a former owner of Shelby (6S1750 & CSX 2525) cars, I was very glad to see a fantastic display honoring Ford's contribution to motor racing history. The display of GT-40 Mk IV's was a highlight. The only downside I would mention is the amount of Cobra replicas. I thought it diluted the impact of seeing the real cars. But, there is money to be made and even Carroll has thrown in his lot with his own replica's and his are better made than my original. The Bugatti only race was very special. My friend Leo in the 1922 Brescia was lapped 5 times by the winner in a very modified Type 35B supercharged car. The type 35 usually has 135 hp, but this car had 200 hp and the driver was very good. The new Ford GT was there and is very desirable. The next "have to have" car. PB auctioned the 1st customer car (chassis #10) at Christies for charity, but I don't know what it went for at this time. Dan Gurney is giving hot laps at Laguna yesterday and today for the media in the new car. I really wish I hadn't come home so soon, as one can usually beg a ride with the right connections.

Sunday's PB Concours was the best in my memory. The largest field (240 cars on displayed) and the Bugatti and Ford displays were tremendous. Bugatti produced about 40 Type 57's and there were 20 examples on the field. Incredible! Best of Show went to the 1935 Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic Electron, the sister car to Ralph Lauren's 1937 model. It should be noted that there were only 3 produced and these are the only 2 remaining. It was also the 1st concours for the car.

I don't know how PB will top this, but they almost always do. Next year, Ferrari and the 100th anniversary of Rolls Royce will be celebrated. That should be something.

Tom S.
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