Quail and Concorso

The Quail Motorsports Gathering was on Friday of Monterey Weekend, and is the hottest ticket in the area. Not only are tickets $$$, they are limited, so there is a list that you have to get on to be invited to buy a select few. I was generously given a ticket by one of my clients. Throughout the year, I work at helping everyone I can in this business, and it’s nice to be benefit from a perk like this. Thanks John!

The spectrum of cars from Pagani to Espadas was represented at this event. Although it seemed many of the spectators were at this “be seen” event to take part in the great food and alcohol, the Quail organizers do a spectacular job at inviting some great cars to show at this event.

Cars that I’ve heard about on the Internet and in the car community were seen in the flesh at Quail. This hot rod Dino with a 288GTO engine has been the talk of my friends in LA, and here it was. Even without the stock turbo on the 288 engine, this car is supposed to very quick.

In years past, Singers caught a lot of attention by showing their carbon fiber wrapped 964 Porsche Chassis by “back dating” their look to the pre ’73 with some additional modifications to the fender flares. Their latest car pushed the envelope even further in price and performance.

A seven figure price tag will get a Williams developed powerplant, custom transaxle, full carbon fiber body, and this really cool intake system that plumbs through the rear quarter windows. They do gorgeous work, and definitely cater to the exclusive clients that can afford this price range, but at well over a million dollars, I can think of several cars that I would buy that will never be mistaken for a regular 911! Don’t get me wrong, I love 911s. I regret nearly every day the sale of my ’72 911, but go to a Porsche show, and you see a lot of 911s. I guess if I had to make sense of this phenomenon, Porsches are about subtlety, with little changes every year that only die hard Porschephiles can see. Singer takes that subtlety to an extreme!  Good for them.

The Monterey car shows brings out some cars that I would never get a chance to see, and although this was not prettiest Ferrari, I was intrigued.

It was a 1970 Pinin? Obviously a one off design exercise using a 365 Boxer engine.

The powerplant was installed 180 degrees around to the front of the car, mated to standard transmission. This layout left plenty of room for the four seats in the passenger compartment, but I bet with all this weight up front, it wasn’t meant to take the turns very well.

I left the Quail show early to make my way to the Gooding Auction to meet the Phillips family. Their little blue 500 Mondial was going across the block and I was rooting them on for a good result.

The Admiral has owned this car since 1960, and I met them over a dozen years ago when he was in middle of restoring this car.

He’s driven this car across the country back in the day when these were just used and battered race cars, but after the restoration, this car was seen at tracks all around the country.

As the car was readied to go across the block in Monterey this year, I recalled the times I’ve been included in celebrations with the Phillips family including winning two major awards at Pebble Beach!

It was a bittersweet end to a life with this little blue car, but with all the conversations with Admiral and his family, it was time to let her go. The Admiral did everything he wanted to do with the car, at a time when all of this was possible, physically and financially. With the sale of this car at a public auction, the only unknown was who would end up with the Admiral’s car. We all knew we couldn’t pick who would have the highest bid, but it would have been a shame if a big time investor bought the car and squirreled it away in a hidden warehouse never to be seen again.

When the hammer fell, we were all surprised when the Admiral was approached by the winning bidder with a hug! We soon heard he was a upper-mid-western collector that also raced his collection. He was so excited to have won the highest bid, and exchanged contact information with the Admiral. Having this little blue car go to the “right” owner was so important to everyone involved, and I couldn’t have been happier for the Phillips family!

Concorso Italiano has been scheduled on Saturday of Monterey weekend for the second year in a row. It now does not conflict with the Quail Motorsports Gathering held on Friday, but overlapped with my plans to go to Laguna Seca, the race track. With so many things to do on the Monterey Peninsula, I had a commitment to show a car at Concorso, so I had to reluctantly pass on the track this year. I’ll figure out a way to squeeze it in next year!

Concorso was still worth attending. I knew many of the owners on the Vintage Ferrari show field, and it was great to catch up with old friends and put faces to names of people I’ve met through the Internet. Mark Snow brought his SI 330GT 2+2 to Concorso, and it was nice to finally meet in person. He asked me to look over his car for tips and suggestions, so I went over the details that were incorrect, and he wrote down a list of corrections. He still brought home a gold award, and now has a roadmap to Platinum!

I am proud to announce the 330GTS I talked about in the past few weeks won two awards at Concorso! In true Vintage Ferrari fashion, the trip to the podium was not without drama!

Jeff, the owner, was asked to join the other winners in his class to make their way to the reviewing stand with their cars. They won’t tell you what you won, but usually you can tell by which order they line you up. Shows are always stressful on cooling systems and batteries, and the slow chug up to the front of the field was taking its toll on the battery. Unknown to Jeff, the battery was slowly draining as the cooling fans kicked on, and there wasn’t enough revs in the engine to keep the alternator charging the battery. Wanting to keep the car from overheating, Jeff turned off the engine, but at 100 yards from the reviewing stand, he found a weak battery that didn’t have enough power to fire the starter. Jeff and his daughter frantically waved to me as I was taking pictures of their car, and I went over and surveyed the situation. Without a jump pack nearby and about 30 seconds to get the car started before they announced the car over the PA, I felt the only solution was to push start the car. I looked around at the area behind the tents and realized there was no one else around to help me push, so I asked Jeff if he knew how to pop the clutch if I pushed the car. I don’t think I waited for an answer before I started pushing with all my might. I’m not the biggest guy around, so getting the car moving took all the strength I could find. The best I could do was a slow walking pace, and I told Jeff to release the clutch. Miraculously, I heard a cylinder catch, then another one, and she fired up! He revved the car up and took off for the podium with hardly a minute to spare. I was left standing there thinking, my back is going to hurt tomorrow!

The effort was worth it with two trips to the reviewing stand for two major awards: A Platinum and The Best Ferrari at Concorso! Congratulations Jeff!