17/08/2012 Monterey and Pebble Beach 2012: The action so far...
There could only be one point of focus this year, couldn’t there? Yes, from casual parking in Carmel, to the saleroom, to the Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance, one make and model created the most attention: Shelby Cobra.
That’s not to say that the great Texan’s arch rival Ferrari wasn’t present in force. Particularly at the auctions, where RM’s quite delicious 250 GT Tour de France, together with a host of other Ferraris including the mighty 410 S Berlinetta we drove only recently, wowed one and all.
Over at Gooding, the Santa-Monica-based house had its potentially chart-topping pre-War Mercedes placed to greet visitors as they walked in. Plus, naturally enough, many more ‘weapons grade’ collectors’ cars, all carrying the strongest of estimates. And Bonhams was leading with not only the Gulf McLaren F1 but also the Michelotti-bodied, NART-entered Ferrari Daytona competition car which looked – to this writer’s eyes – a strangely attractive design when seen 'in the metal'.
Away from the saleroom, with the most perfect Californian weather bathing the streets of Carmel-by-the-Sea in a sunny glow, it was business as usual: a classic Porsche 356, Mercedes SL ‘Pagoda’, Maserati Merak or De Tomaso Pantera on every street corner.
On Highway 1, the traffic is building up and you can just as easily be sharing road space with a McLaren F1 or a Ferrari California Spider.
The Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance, presented by Rolex, has just finished and the Cobras were in convoy with some sublime pre-War cars from Rolls-Royce, Delage et al, many racing Ferraris and the rarely (if ever) seen in Europe Cunningham C-2R race car.
There’s nothing like Pebble Beach week. The cars are sensational, no more, no less. The standard of presentation of the classic Porsches, for example, at the Monterey Jet Center party was out of this world. ‘Concours standard’ in anyone’s book, which brings us to events on the 18th Fairway this Sunday.
The organisers have surpassed themselves this year and, with the prospect of some fine weather, the competition to win the much-cherished ‘Best in Show’ will be hotter than ever. See you at 05:00 on Sunday morning.
Full report to follow next week, with all the published auction results as soon as we receive them live over the next few days. Do check our regularly updated 'Pebble Beach Week 2012: The highlights' feature.
In the meantime, here's a flavour of the early action at this year's Monterey car week: