Well, the big event has come and gone. I hope you were there because it lived up to and beyond all expectations.
To describe Monterey 1994 as the greatest Ferrari event ever organized is surely no exaggeration. The quantity and quality of the full week’s program was a testimony to its importance. The last week in August is considered by automobile enthusiasts and connoisseurs a not-to-miss opportunity. Each year the Peninsula hosts two events unequaled in the world: the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and the Monterey Historic Car Races. Of course, this year Ferrari was the featured marque, as it was ten years ago. Add to that the annual meet of the FCA and you get the most beautiful, glorious cars in the world on display and racing.
Members who caravaned to Monterey stop for a sumptuous lunch at Cafe Roma in San Luis Obispo, courtesy of Ferrari of Beverly Hills.
I heard rumor that there were over 1,000 Ferraris in the area that week! I don’t know if that’s true or not but there were certainly over 270 classic Ferraris at the FCA Concours on Wednesday and that doesn’t include many cars that came up later in the week or many of the more modern cars that weren’t shown but make up the largest number of Ferraris in the U.S. so it doesn’t seem impossible. Keep in mind, over the last 47 years Ferrari has only built about 60,000 in the entire world.
The logistics of planning a meet like this must be staggering but I thought that every aspect of it was first class and extremely well organized. From Registration to the meals, rally organization, track events, and other events, the week was unparalleled. My compliments to everyone involved.
Here are some of the highlights for me:
My first highlight started as early as Registration. The whole thing was well organized and staffed and by the time I left I had: two bags, one seat cushion, an official program, an event guide, a book of tickets for all the events I signed up for, two posters, laminated name badges, a slew of brochures, and a special edition hardbound copy of Stanley Nowak’s fine book Ferrari Spyder California. Before the week ended I added a picnic blanket with an embroidered FCA logo, official Ferrari sales brochures on the F355 and 456GT, more posters, a watch, etc. All in all, an impressive haul.
The Il Mercado Di Ferrari, alongside Registration was also first class. The Italian market atmosphere made all the vendor’s wares look that much more appealing.
I didn’t get up to Monterey until Wednesday night so I didn’t attend the Concours. Perhaps another reader can submit an article on it for next month’s Newsletter.
My first real "event" was the rally on Thursday and it was a blast. This was my first rally and I learned a lot about paying attention to signs and directions while driving along some of the most beautiful costal scenery in the country. This was an especially enjoyable event because my wife, Sunni, was an integral participant as navigator. She did a great job and we never got lost but we sure did miss a lot of "SIs" (Special Instructions) and some of the "Gimmicks" (roadside signs and markings). This was more an indication of my heavy right foot than her navigating.
A view of the rally starting line from the driver’s seat.
The rally was a particularly good event for many of the Ferrari club members who traveled from far away to attend and weren’t able to bring their Ferraris because rental cars worked just fine (sometimes better, I suspect). However, the coveted GT award made sure that lots of recently restored Concours-quality cars were out there competing as well.
The rally ended at the site of a new upscale home development that was very scenic. There was lots of Ferrari-covered grass alongside a lake and everyone used their newly-received FCA blankets to sit on the lawn and enjoy a fabulous lunch. My car was parked next to a really special car - an unrestored 1948 166 Inter, serial number 014i. That’s approximately the 14th Ferrari ever made! Originally a corsa-bodied competition car, it was rebodied long ago by an unknown firm. The same man has owned this car for the last 30 years and it is a tribute to the importance of this year’s event that it caused him to take the effort to get it running and back on the road again.
1948 166 Inter, serial # 014i at the end of the rally.
Friday took me to the Concours Italiana which seemed to have more fine Ferraris in the parking corral than there were cars in the show, and this was by far the biggest show they’ve had. It was fun to see non-Ferrari Italian makes amid the celebration of Italian culture.
From the Concours Italiana I went to the Friday-evening U.S. introduction of the 456GT and the F355. All the big players from Italy were there (Luca di Montezemolo, Gian Luigi Buitoni, Sergio Pinninfarina, etc.). They gave a detailed multi-media overview of both these gorgeous new Ferraris. Later that evening a new F355 was auctioned off for around $130k.
Even later Friday evening I attended the awards banquet where I ate a wonderful meal and heard presentations from the likes of Sam Posey, Luigi Chinetti Jr., Ed Gilbertson, Dave Seibert, etc. I made some new freinds as well.
Saturday I drove my Ferrari to Laguna Seca for the Monterey Historic races. There were parade laps of Ferrari street cars at noon that I missed out on because of a glitch in my typically-Ferrari electrical system but I enjoyed the races none-the-less.
The FCA had a large raised tent set up at turn two which was provided great viewing opportunities. As you might know, turn two is the hairpin at the end of the long front straight and there was lots of action there as cars and drivers attempted late-braking passing maneuvers. If you think these guys drive easy just because their cars are worth millions of dollars then think again. I’ve got video footage of a number of spins and near crashes, including a 250 GT SWB.
Ferraris and others dice it up in turn two during the Historics (as seen from the FCA tower-tent).
Saturday evening I attended the auctions at the Double Tree hotel. While I wasn’t bidding for cars, I tried my hand at guessing what the final bids would be. In general, I was guessing high because the bids seemed quite low to me on many cars (i.e., under $60k for a Maseratti Ghibli Spyder and under $120k for a 250 GT Lusso). Of course, many cars were on reserve and didn’t sell but it seems that some lucky buyers, including Michael Yedor who bought a very nice Lusso, got good buys.
By Sunday I was fairly burnt out and Sunni and I decided pass on the Historics and Pebble Beach this year to take the day off and go to Carmel. Of course, we took a little side trip down highway 1 first.
Monday we resumed our Ferrari activities with the first of two days of track events and 348 Challenge racing. Thanks to the nice folks at Newport Imports, my competition tires were delivered to the track so all I had to do was take off my Boranis, put on my Cromodoras, pass tech inspection, attend a driver’s meeting, suit up, and I was on the track. It turned out to be a great track day for me and most others (although I suspect San Diego member Skeets Dunn had a near coronary when he stopped traffic at turn 11 in his 275 GTB Comp after a spin and one participant in an F40 came into the pits with a trail of smoke smelling like burnt money).
Our event chairman, Tom Brockmiller suited up and ready to sort out his newly-finished yellow 308 competition car.
The Challenge qualifying was fierce as always with Cort Wagner setting a fast time early and John Marconi driving like crazy to beat it. By the end of the day Cort still had the pole with John right beside him.
Monday night was a pleasant dinner at the track and Tuesday we were back for another day of track fun and the real 348 race.
Actually, the races weren’t all that interesting. Cort led each race from start to finish by a wide margin but John finished second each time and came out as winner of the series overall.
Then I went home.