I was invited Friday into a secret place at Pebble Beach. Out beyond the Lodge and the famed 18th hole of the golf links, beyond the tents that house the Gooding & Company classic car auction, there is a fenced-off area full of semi tractors and their trailers. These vehicles bear the names of Reliable, Intercity, Horseless Carriage, Passport, Masten, RM and the other companies entrusted to transport expensive cars to auto shows, concours and auctions.
Signage at the gate says “Transporters.” Behind that gate, and inside and sometimes exposed behind the trailers or under pop-up tents are an amazing array of cars, being pampered and prepped for Sunday’s concours d’elegance and other events during Monterey Classic Car week.
At work here are car detailers, mechanics, restoration experts and transport truck drivers who are eager to do whatever is needed to keep their cargo safe and ready to show. On Friday afternoon, as a way of saying thanks and showing appreciation, all of them were invited to a barbecue lunch feast provided by Richard Atwell of Coastal Transport Company of San Antonio, Texas, and Nancy and Richard Sevenoaks of Leake Auction Company of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
It was nine years ago that Atwell told the Sevenoaks, “We’re going to do a little lunch for the guys,” and asked for help, perhaps because Nancy Sevenoaks is a cook of renown.
That little lunch has grown over the years, now involves lots of day-before prep work and a 9 a.m. fire up of the grills. There were probably a couple hundred of us who enjoyed chicken, various kinds of ribs, brisket, beans, chili and potato salad on Friday.
“This is the only place that feeds us,” several of the transport drivers told me, adding that the luncheon is a highlight in a year in which they spend hundreds of days and tens of thousands of miles on the road as the unsung heroes of the classic car community.