As you might have gathered by now, Monterey Week is one of our favorite enthusiast gatherings of the year, specifically the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance. The problem is often tempering our fervor while conveying our excitement, so this year we decided to be a little more disciplined in our approach. Rather than bring you a mix of vehicles, we decided to focus on several specific areas in an attempt to narrow down the rich bounty before us. So we've concentrated on the featured marques, the concept lawn and the big stories at the auctions. In each area, we've narrowed it down further to our top picks from the week. Trust us, this wasn't an easy list to agree upon so we've extended it further online, with more photos and several videos to enhance our coverage, so please also visit europeancarweb.com
Perhaps the biggest celebration of the week was Aston Martin's Centenary, with owners from across the world descending upon Aston's private villa to partake in a small celebration. They also brought some of the finest examples of the marque's first 100 years and here is our Top 3 selection from Pebble Beach week:
1925 Aston Martin 16v Twin-Cam GP Brooklands Racer
The oldest Aston Martin displayed had an obvious racing heritage and the current owner explained its history. It was originally raced by George Eyston who entered it in the very first British GP at Brooklands in 1926, where it failed to finish. However, it took third at the JCC200 and won the BARC Whitsun meeting.
Journalist Laurence Pomeroy owned it in the 1940s and '50s, eventually passing to current owner Mitch Gross who restored it to its original glory in the past six or seven years that it's been in his possession. To date, he's not raced the car, fearing that the rare and delicate engine can't be replaced. And since Aston Martin only made about six of these engines, specifically for racing, with possibly only two still in running condition, Gross is probably right to be cautious.
1953 DB2/4 Bertone Roadster
Penned by the legendary Stile Bertone in Turin, this roadster is one of only three produced. More interestingly, this particular car on the Concours field was the first of the three.
Powered by a hand-built Aston Martin Works racing engine, it was raced by James Hartman until the day he tragically died in an accident. His wife then stored the car for several years until removing the covers in 2002.
With its new owners, Bill and Linda Pope, the car took first place in its class and is a remarkable example of how Aston Martin developed its mystique.
1960 Aston Martin DB4 GT Coupé
Continuing the motorsport theme, this DB4 GT Coupe was built by the factory to compete in the GT World Championship, losing 200 lb in the process.
Piloted by famed driver Jimmy Clarke, among others, the car was a regular podium visitor throughout its professional career. Interestingly, the red nose graphics were originally painted on the car so track officials could identify it at night: the current owner later added the red wheels.
Today, you'll often find the new owners competing in historic races around the world, including the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion where this DB4 GT has triumphantly claimed multiple class wins.
Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the 911, you could find exceptional Porsches all over the Monterey peninsula. Between the Quail Motorsports Gathering and roaming Laguna Seca, you can rest assured we found a selection of 911s that would make your knees weak. Here are a few of our highlights:
1974 Porsche 911 RSR "Fittipaldi"
With the word "Fittipaldi" displayed on the body and window, we wanted to know its history: Built for the 1973 International Race Of Champions, it showcased the best drivers from around the world and was put together by Roger Penske. So this 911 was one of 12 cars raced in the series. And although Fittipaldi qualified on pole for the inaugural race, his late arrival to the driver's meeting put him at the back of the starting grid.
That would be this RSR's only official IROC race, although it made an appearance in various other series before it sat for a number of years.
Recently restored, Dennis Kranz purchased the car and has shown it at Amelia Island, taking home an award for its historic significance. So it's no wonder this RSR IROC had a special place reserved at this year's Quail gathering.
Porsche 911 "Singer"
Regarded by many as the ultimate reworking of the classic 911, a Singer Porsche comes at a price. Starting around $190,000 and sailing past $500,000 after the customer has specified options, Singer falls into the millionaire's resto-mod club - along with cars like the Eagle Speedster.
Each Singer starts life as a 964-model 911 and is dismantled to a rolling chassis. Next, it receives bespoke carbon/kevlar body panels, custom Bilstein suspension, a hand-built 3.6L Cosworth engine and is finished with an interior package that captures the spirit of early 911s.
The company brought its latest creation to the Quail, which is one of the few opportunities to see one since the cars rarely make it into the public domain. With only ten built to date, and several overseas, this was a rare sighting.
1973 Porsche 911 Carrera RS Lightweight 2.7L
You can't celebrate the 911 without including the holy grail of production 911s, the RS. These are regarded by Jerry Seinfield as a "dead man's car," because owners generally only part with them after death.
These '70s 911s were a reflection of Porsche's successful motorsport campaigns, and so this early series were the first production cars in the world to receive a race spoiler, motor, suspension and bodywork that set the tone for the GT cars sold at dealerships today. This Lightweight edition was one of only 200 built.
2014 Porsche 911 50th Anniversary Edition
Based on the 911 Carrera S, this limited edition coupe was rather disappointing in photos but stunning in the flesh, especially when viewed in the context of its historic siblings at the Quail.
It uses the Carrera 4 widebody and will suitably be limited to 1963 cars.
US cars come standard with a 430hp Powerkit on the 3.8L motor that includes the Sport Chrono Package. The exterior can be specified in graphite grey, black or this attractive Geyser Grey metallic, which set off the 20" wheels that pay homage to the legendary "Fuchs" wheels. Another retro touch is seats panels reminiscent of the "Pepita" tartan fabric from the 1960s. The car will be priced from $124100.
1979 Porsche 935 K3 Coupe
Owned by legendary collector, Bruce Meyers, this Le Mans-winning 935 was restored by Bruce Canepa in Santa Cruz, CA. This particular chassis was Porsche's last factory-built racecar. And while the 935 was registered for the Group 5 category at Le Mans, the car battled against the prototypes to take the overall win in the 1979 Le Mans 24 Heures. This could partially be attributed to its 800hp 3.2L twin-turbo motor and massive aerodynamic package.
50 years ago, Ferruccio Lamborghini decided to accept a challenge from Enzo Ferrari. "You don't like my car? You're a simple farmer! Make your own car if you don't like mine!" Or so the legend goes...
Ferruccio did just that, and the line in the sand between Lamborghini and Ferrari owners holds to this day. In fact, Lamborghini is now stepping into motorsport and showcasing some outrageous concepts to recruit future owners and continue the feud well into the future.
1967 Lamborghini Miura S
Quite simply one of the most beautiful cars ever built, the Miura S is why supercars exist, maintaining the formula of a sleek profile and insane motor.
Designed by Bertone, the car sets the tone at every show it appears at. Even dripping in sensational colors like lime green and highlighter orange, the Miura S is a marvel to behold. And having an iconic V12 engine helped take the fight to Ferrari.
1991 Lamborghini Countach
The star of millions of bedroom walls, the Countach remains one of the most recognizable and cherished cars on the planet. You either love it or hate it, but it demands your attention.
Designed by Bertone, the Countach concept carried 90% of its original design language into the production models and remained that way for more than a decade.
1965 ('66) Lamborghini 350 GT
While Lamborghini was developing a sports car to take the fight to Enzo, he also developed one of the most stunning gran tourers on the planet. However, the 350 GT is rare, this being one of 135 produced before the 400 GT stormed into showrooms.
The car featured the famous Giotto Bizzarrini 350hp V12 with its 7000rpm redline that would later power supercars from the Miura to Diablo.
Trekking up from San Diego, CA was an enjoyable journey for owner Malcolm Barksdale, and he's been driving the car on a consistent basis since 2011.
While BMW wasn't celebrating a major anniversary this year, it chose the Pebble Beach week to unveil its brand new M4 Coupe, acknowledging the importance of the US market for the car and the brand.
The company also celebrated its rich motorsport history with a pair of factory racers run by BMW North America in the Rolex Motorsports Reunion. Furthermore, the Pebble Beach Concours even celebrated one of the company's most beautiful creations, the 507 Roadster, with a special display.
1975 BMW 3.0 CSL
The 3.0L CSL took the motorsport world by storm. With output ranging between 700-900hp, depending on how generous the engineers were feeling that weekend, the CSL became renowned for its on-track accomplishments as well as the start of a series of "Art Cars." Drenched in paint by some of the most talented artists of the day, the CSL stole the show, winning the IMSA GT championship in 1975 thanks to drivers Sam Posey, Brian Redman and Ronnie Peterson.
With two CSLs competing in the Reunion, sadly a privately entered car was a little eager as the green flag dropped and suffered an off-track collision. The "factory" car, driven by BMW NA CEO Ludwig Willisch, stayed out of trouble and finished the race.
1979 BMW M1 Procar
Regarded as BMW's only dip into the supercar pool, the M1 was an instant collector car and you'd be hard pressed to find a street version for less than $1 million.
The M1 Procar was a high-profile one-make series that supported the F1 races at each European round. It only lasted two seasons before BMW focused all its efforts on Formula One. With high-revving six-cylinder engines, widebody fenders and the big rear wing, the Procar is unmistakable and not to be missed.
2014 BMW M4
A surprise showing ahead of the four-door M3 that will arrive first, BMW chose Pebble Beach week as the opportunity to unveil its new M4 Coupe Concept. We're assured this is 90% of the production model, with all the detailing appearing to be production ready - items like the carbon-sleeved exhaust tail pipes probably won't make it but this is essentially the 2015 M4.
While specification wasn't discussed, we're reliably informed it will be a 450hp six-cylinder twin-turbo based on the N55 with a DCT transmission. There is debate over whether a manual option will be offered but it appears to have a 70% chance at present. See our online "M4 Rumors" story for more details.
2013 BMW HP4
While Pebble Beach is all about four-wheeled transport, there are a few motorcycles around and we managed to throw a leg over a future classic during our visit. The BMW HP4 is a limited edition based on the S1000RR superbike. Only 175 are in the country and we had the opportunity to wreck two of them - with a deer almost taking care of that!
Priced from $20525, it gets the same 193hp as the bike it's based on but an Akrapovic exhaust ensures it's delivered with more mid-range and an ungodly sound. We also found the power delivery velvet-smooth, with no hesitation, even at low RPM.
Finished in its Racing blue and white paint scheme, the suspension was pretty stiff for the very poorly paved roads we threw the bikes down. Even the Dynamic Damping Control was unable to compensate for the harsh bumps. But the reward was one of the sharpest turning bikes we've experienced and surprisingly user-friendly for such an uncompromising machine.
It comes with the option of ABS and adjustable traction control but a number of carbon fiber pieces are standard fitment.
Since we were attending the swanky Pebble Beach week and riding such an extraordinary machine, we decided to splash out on some new riding gear so we didn't look out of place.
Preferring Alpinestars over almost anybody else, we went with the new perforated Jaws leather jacket and low-cut S-MX1 boots. Offering good protection for high-speed riding, they were also very well ventilated for high summer temps. Add to this the Axiom denim pants with knee and hip protection plus SP8 gloves and we looked smart both on and off the bike. Check out our gear review at europeancarweb.com for a guide to Alpinestars' cool threads to keep you cool.
1957 BMW 507 Series II
First produced in 1955, the 507 embodied the highest standards of design, construction and performance. The brainchild of Max Hoffman, designed by Count Albrecht Graf von Goertz, the 507 roadster has became known as the most beautiful in the company's history. Powered by a 3.2L V8, they were potent in their day and while they're a rare sight on public roads, we were happy that the concours organizers had procured the finest selection in the nation.
Best of Show
1934 Packard 1108 Twelve Dietrich Convertible Victoria
The owners of this remarkable automobile now have two Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance trophies for Best of Show. Their first was awarded to a 1939 Horch 852A Special Roadster by Erdmann & Rossi back in 2004.
And while that was a fine machine, this 2013 winning Packard is the epitome of American design and grace from the 1930s. In fact, it even won over the European judges who acknowledged its importance in putting the company on the map.
While many Packard Twelve models left the assembly line with factory coachwork, a few would leave with options that included items such as the teardrop fenders and dual rear-mounted spares that appear here.
The owners (Joseph and Maggie Cassini) discovered the car in boxes three years ago. After more than 10,000 hours preparing it for Pebble Beach, it thoroughly deserved the fireworks, crystal trophy and tears of joy.
1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4S NART Spider
The story goes that Steve McQueen crashed his own NART Spider and attempted to buy this example while awaiting its repair. Fortunately, the owner rejected the offer and, as one of ten built, his NART crossed the block for $25million ($27million once the buyer's premium was factored in). The auction included several minutes of heated exchanges, with bids rising in $1million increments until the hammer fell.
While some may shudder at the thought of such an obscene amount of money paid for a car, the crowd inside the RM Auction room was cheering the bidders as history was being made for such a car.
1997 McLaren F1
Possibly the only modern supercar sold in the '90s that will make money today, the Gordon Murray-designed sports car had a 627hp BMW V12 engine and still demands attention on the road today.
With only 106 constructed, including several racing versions, Gooding & Co managed to procure chassis #66 to roll across the block, giving the throttle a few prods to get the bidders' paddles wagging.
This particular F1 set a world record for any McLaren sold at auction, reaching $8.47million (after buyer's premium). Bear in mind, the last F1 to cross the block sold for more than $3million a few years ago.
1928 Mercedes-Benz 680S Torpedo Roadster by Carrosserie J Saoutchik
Awarded Best in Show at last year's Pebble Beach Concours, the Mercedes would cross the stage for a very different reason - to be auctioned.
While the owners are probably still finding confetti stuck between the seats of this award-winning car, it was time for a new owner to enjoy it.
Despite its 6789cc engine, it whispered past the audience and onto the stage. With streamlined bodywork by Saoutchik, the two-tone grey body with red underbody was radical in its day and fetched an astronomical $8.25million.
2014 Porsche 918 Spyder
It's hitting the roads faster than any other hybrid hypercar on the market. And even though Ferrari continues to secretly shuttle LaFerrari around the globe, and the McLaren P1 runs around on public roads; Porsche decided to remind everybody at Pebble Beach, "We did it first." Thankfully the 918 Spyder still knew how to draw a crowd. The car first seen a few years ago was considered a radical departure for the brand but somehow now looks tame and refined compared to recent hypercars hitting the market.
2013 Lamborghini Veneno
Debuting at the 2013 Geneva Auto Show, the Veneno was one of two acid-trip creations that got the world talking. What seemed to be inspired by a Le Mans prototype racecar is, in reality, an extremely limited production supercar that will retail for $4 million.
Considering the company has only made four examples, all of which are sold, it was magnificent to actually see the Veneno in person. Its alien surfaces and F1 wings somehow work in harmony as Lamborghini has created the perfect poster material for the next generation of enthusiasts to hang on their walls.
Aston Martin CC100
To help kick off its centenary, Aston Martin introduced a concept inspired by the legendary 1959 Le Mans-winning DBR1. Powered by a naturally aspirated, hand-built V12, the CC100 harnesses the spirit and power that have stood the test of time.
The car is a bespoke creation using the very best materials and technology while paying homage to the past with details like its hand-stitched leather door straps and accent pieces.