Thousands crowd into Carmel for Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance

A 1913 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost lead an  Aston Martin and Jaguar into Carmel-by-the Sea | Bob Golfen photos
A 1913 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost leads an Aston Martin and Jaguar into Carmel-by-the Sea | Bob Golfen photos

Once a year, the picturesque and upscale village of Carmel-by-the-Sea becomes the absolute center of the known universe for collector car folks, and their friends, families and dogs. Usually a sleepy little burg where local folks and tourists come downtown to eat and shop, that all changes on the Thursday that the Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance rolls into town.

The Pebble Tour, as it’s known, is the best deal on the Monterey Peninsula during car week, when most of the exceptional vintage cars from the greatest concours in America drive onto Ocean Avenue and park while the drivers and passengers stop for their catered lunch. Continue reading

Porsches reign but Ferrari wins at Carmel Concours

A fleet of Porsche 356 Speedsters attracts a crowd | Bob Golfen photos
A fleet of Porsche 356 Speedsters attracts a crowd | Bob Golfen photos

Porsches, Porsches everywhere. The booming popularity of nearly everybody’s favorite German sports car was powerfully evident Tuesday at the Concours on the Avenue in Carmel, California, an event considered to be the launch of Monterey Car Week.

Definitely the most-represented marque by far, Porsches packed the shady streets of the upscale burg – 911s by the score, including many intriguing customs and all-out race cars, plus an impressive collection of the earlier 356 models, with a gaggle of Speedsters, plenty of coupes and cabriolets, and an absolutely stunning 1951 356 coupe in dark maroon, a survivor from the early days of Porsche. Continue reading

All-women car show hosted in Carmel by Prancing Ponies

The Prancing Ponies members at their home base in San  Francisco | Michael Troutman
Prancing Ponies members at their home base in San Francisco | Michael Troutman

In the male-dominated realm of collector cars, one group is conducting a new car show during Monterey Car Week that’s by women and for women.

The Prancing Ponies Car Show is open to all female owners and co-owners to present their vintage and exotic cars in a casual, first-time event that takes place from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m, on Wednesday, August 16, in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Continue reading

Monterey’s incredible array of collector car events

A 1936 Pierce-Arrow 602 roadster rolls through the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance | Bob Golfen
A 1936 Pierce-Arrow 602 roadster rolls through the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance | Bob Golfen

The week leading up to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is so loaded up with car shows and concours that it’s nearly impossible to attend them all. A great problem to have, considering that each is pretty special and, with few exceptions, could be a standalone event anywhere else.

But Monterey Car Week is the great gathering of the collector car clan, and there is enough interest and participation to maintain this high level of events, and to make them some of the best in the country. Whatever the special niche of your collector car universe, there’s likely to be something here that will scratch that old-car itch. Continue reading

Eye Candy: Concours on the Avenue in Carmel

A 1958 BMW 507 roadster is greeted on stage by emcee Donald Osborne | Bob Golfen photos
A 1958 BMW 507 roadster is greeted on stage by emcee Donald Osborne | Bob Golfen photos

The Concours on the Avenue in Carmel by the Sea hit its 10th anniversary Tuesday, still the same enjoyably unpretentious car show that crowded the picturesque downtown streets with yet another terrific selection of vintage vehicles and many thousands of spectators.

The concours also retains its role as the kickoff event for the greatest collector car week of the year, which culminates Sunday with the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Continue reading

Eye Candy: Pebble Beach Tour stops in Carmel

A 1911 Mercer Raceabout roars into Carmel carrying its two happy occupants | Bob Golfen photos
A 1911 Mercer Raceabout roars into Carmel carrying its  happy passenger | Bob Golfen photos

It was standing room only Thursday on Ocean Avenue as thousands of people descended on Carmel-by-the-Sea to witness the spectacle of about 200 glorious Pebble Beach Concours show cars rolling into town and parking on the main street. And instead of paying $300-$350 for the concours on Sunday, folks in Carmel could view the cars for free.

Continue reading

Eye Candy: Carmel-By-The-Sea Concours on the Avenue

A Carmel concours judge gives the thumbs up for a 1951 Mercury custom “lead sled” coupe | Bob Golfen photos
A Carmel concours judge gives the thumbs up for a 1951 Mercury custom “lead sled” coupe | Bob Golfen photos

The laid-back Carmel-By-The-Sea Concours on the Avenue once again led off the events of Monterey Classic Car Week with 18 blocks of the California coastal town closed off for all but the most-wonderful old cars.

Continue reading

Carmel Concours starts Monterey classic car festivities

A historic 1965 Lola T70 MkII race car rolls up for an award with family perched on its sides | Bob Golfen
A historic 1965 Lola T70 MkII race car rumbles up for an award with family perched on its sides | Bob Golfen

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.

John Canepa drives his best-of-show 917K through the crowd | Bob Golfen
Bruce Canepa drives his best-of-show Porsche 917K  | Bob Golfen

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.

Toyota 200GT owner John Egan happily greets a concours judge | Bob Golfen
Toyota 2000GT owner John Egan greets a concours judge | Bob Golfen

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.