The Carmel-By-The-Sea Concours on the Avenue is a relaxed way to kick off Monterey Classic Car Week, with much of the tree-lined downtown closed off for anything but the most special collector cars.
Ocean Avenue was packed with spectators for Tuesday’s free concours, now in its eighth year, which brings out everything from rare European and American racing cars and sports cars to a selection of vintage wood-bodied cars and station wagons.
After finally finding a place to park on one of the narrow streets, I joined the thousands of strollers to check out the many excellent automobiles, which numbered around 175. The crowd in this upscale coastal town was swelled by the many visitors to the Monterey area for the spate of classic car events, including the famous car auctions and the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance that takes place Sunday.
Porsches seemed to be everywhere. Early 356s sports cars, some of my personal favorites, included a fairly spectacular 1952 Glockler-Porsche 356 roadster race car that won the Engineering Award. Beautiful 911s were lined up, many of them with the markings of race-car histories.
A Porsche claimed the best-of-show prize: an ultra-exotic 1969 917K race car in Gulf livery that shattered the air with the harsh blast of its performance engine. Its owner, former race driver and auto dealer Bruce Canepa, drove it up on the awards stage.
Ferraris also were out in force, most of them brilliantly presented, although a certain 275 GTB with alloy coachwork by Scaglietti looked like a barn-fresh survivor, but showing lots of mysterious appeal in its rough patina.
There were also many unexpected entries, such as John Egan’s bright-red 1967 Toyota 2000GT sports coupe that was awarded the Historic Vehicle Association’s Most Significant Car award. An excited Egan told me that when his car was named the winner, “I was blown away.” He added that he has owned the rare Toyota for 40 years.
Another interesting winner was the 1965 Lola T70 MkII, which acclaimed racer John Surtees drove to victory in the very first Can-Am race in St. Jovite, Canada, in 1966. The Lola claimed the Spirit of Laguna Seca Award. Its two owners, Willis Woerheide and Bobby Hogg, brought it up to the awards stage with members of their families sitting on its flanks.