Monterey 2014 – 5 Days of Automotive Porn – Day 4

Saturday – Concorso Italiano

Ferraris Among the Pines

Approached from the public parking area, starting at the tee of a long fairway flanked by tall old Monterey pines and spilling down the hill, a flood of red (with a scattering of other colors for variety) greeted spectators at the Concorso Italiano. Looking down the hill, Monterey Bay offered the view we’d been missing for six years.

As I posted in my blog on “The Most Beautiful Ferrari,” the first time I attended the Concorso Italiano, it was held on the Blackhorse Bayonet Golf Course. 2008 saw the event move to the tarmac of the airport, a development reviled by all. The next year the event was moved to the turf of the Laguna Seca Golf Ranch, a big step in the right direction, but that valley could not live up to the memory of old-growth Monterey pines and Monterey Bay vistas from the course on Old Fort Ord.

Ferrari Row 1 at Concorso

Ferraris were displayed with the newest at the top of the hill and descending roughly chronologically with the slope. Here the view uphill past three front-engine models and three mid-engine examples shows the hill topped with Italian coachwork on other marques.

Scuderias

Ferrari 360 Challenge Stradales. One of these set a “European” pace for us and finally cleared the CHP from our path on the way up PCH in 2008. We expressed our gratitude on meeting the driver, who was philosophical about the citation, at Ragged Point.

There is a good reason why so many Ferraris are painted in that eye-searing shade of Rosso Corso, or Racing Red (the official national racing colors of Italy). Ferrari is the only team to have competed continuously for the Formula 1 Constructors’ Championship since it began in 1950. Ferraris have won 16 of those championships, by far the most of any manufacturer. Ferraris also hold the lap record on eleven of the 19 F1 tracks used in 2014.

Black Ferrari 458 Italia Spider

Is a black Ferrari 458 Italia Spider a Black Widow? Note how far we’ve come down the hill, and we’ve barely covered a third of the Ferraris on display. Maranello magnificence!

Thanks be to whoever, this year we walked from our cars to find ourselves strolling through a stand of majestic pines, cottonwoods, and eucalyptus onto a fairway lined with Ferraris, much like the one that mesmerized me eleven years before. I don’t think I am exaggerating to say I sensed a collective sigh of relief from the veterans of this delightful event.

Black Ferrari f12 Berlinetta

This black Ferrari is a current F12, out of order chronologically, but who cares? Of course all production is spoken for, but if you wanted to buy this one, the sticker on the windshield lists a price of $419,888. Here the Monterey Bay provides a dramatic backdrop, along with Alfa Romeos on the left and Maseratis on the right.

The other major change this year was to hold the celebration of all things Italian on Saturday rather than Friday, to avoid conflict with the Motorsport Gathering at the Quail Lodge in Carmel.

Some complained that this required attendees to decide whether to forgo Saturday’s Historic Races at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in order to attend the Concorso. One option was to save some bucks by seeing the Pebble Beach cars at the Tour on Thursday, and attend the races on Sunday.

Petersen Ghia Plymouth Explorer

The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles exhibited their 1953 Ghia Plymouth Explorer “dream car.” Like most such styling exercises, it’s meant to be pretty (and succeeds at that) but performance was not a priority, as was demonstrated when the Museum had one of its (sadly) infrequent “hoods up” days, revealing that instead of a mighty Chrysler Hemi, the car is powered by a lowly 110 horsepower flathead six.

Petersen Cisitalia 202

The direct ancestor of every fastback sports coupe made since, is the 1949 Cisitalia (“Cheese-Italia”) 202. It’s integration of an envelope body, with continuously flowing curves and the first hood lower than the adjacent fenders, headlights at the ends of the fronts, the rears flaring subtly rather than being separate elements, can be seen in every front-engine rear-drive fastback sports coupe since, right up to the current Ferrari F12. Only 170 examples of this car were made, and it was the first automobile to be accepted into the permanent collection of New York’s Museum of Modern Art. This one was exhibited by Los Angeles’ Petersen Automotive Museum.

The event has grown so large that it can be a challenge to take in all the different marques.

Diablos At Concorso 2014

The Devil wears a Fighting Bull. A herd of Lamborghini Diablos lines up for inspection.

Lamborghini Barn Find

Lending an entirely new meaning to the term “barn find” a Lamborghini tractor serves to remind us of the foundation of some of the most exotic sports and GT cars ever produced.

Ephraim With Apple Green Gallardo

Friend/Photographer Ephraim wisely protects his eyes from the brilliant sun highlighting the laser green livery of a Lamborghini Gallardo Spyder.

Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4

The Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4’s name reflects the 700 horsepower generated by its 6.5 liter V12. (The Gallardo makes do with a V10). Chrysler’s 707 hp Challenger Hellcat tops it, but those horses have to contend with almost a half ton more weight than the  LP700-4’s 3,472 (dry) and the Lambo doesn’t resort to a supercharger to get that power.

Alfa Romeo 4C

Subtract another half ton from the Aventador and you have Alfa Romeo returning to the market with the bantamweight Alfa 4C at 2,347. Only 237 hp, but then it only lists for a base $55,195, not $397,500. Reports say it brings a refreshing purity to the sports car genre, with its manual steering. Sadly, it’s available only with a dual-clutch automanual transmission.

Alfas & Masers

Casual camaraderie characterizes the contingent of Alfa Romeo connoisseurs. Over the shapely shoulder of a GTV6 a couple of earlier GTVs inspire admiration. In the field beyond, Maseratis celebrate their marque’s centennial, while the blue Pacific horizon peeks between the trees in the distance.

Yellow GTV

One gets tired of posting a bunch of “those red Italian things” as Thomas Crown (Steve McQueen) described Vicki’s (Faye Dunaway’s) Ferrari 275 GTB/4S, so why not a yellow Alfa GTV. After all, that’s the color that exact Ferrari had been repainted in 1967 when Denise McCluggage took second place at Sebring with Marianne “Pinkie” Rollo codriving.

Fiat 124 Spider Turbo with Ferrari 275GTS

For those who couldn’t scrape together a million and a quarter bucks for a Ferrari 275 GTS (inset) but wanted most of the style, there’s the Fiat 124 Spider. The basic engine was designed by ex-Ferrari chief engineer Aurelio Lampredi and the body by Pininfarina’s Tom Tjaarda whose credits include the De Tomaso Pantera and that Ferrari Spider. This one has the rare Turbocharged two liter engine, with 105 horsepower.

White Pantera

If a yellow Alfa Romeo is okay, why not a white De Tomaso Pantera (above)? While this one appears bone stock, among Italian car buffs, De Tomaso owners seem the least concerned with keeping their cars original. Many get hot-rodded until they end up looking like this “BLK PNTR” under the rear hatch (below).

Black Chrome Pantera Drive Train

Red Mangusta

The Pantera was by far the better-selling car, but IMHO (uninfluenced by the fact that my dad had one in fly yellow) it’s predecessor, the Mangusta, was the hotter-looking of the two. The menacing glare of those low-set quad headlamps in your rear-view mirror was enough to convince any driver to pull over and let it by.

Orange Mangusta

This example of the de Tomaso Mangusta, with its signature butterfly engine hatches open, was chosen by the judges over all the sparkly Panteras to represent the marque in the Best in Show competition.

Concorso Best in Show Lamborghini

I admit I wanted the Mangusta to win, but Dr. Raphael Gabay’s 1966 Lamborghini 400 GT was every millimeter a worthy victor, as well as a terrific restoration story.

This year’s Concorso Italiano was easily the best in recent memory. The setting, the presentation, and the turnout were terrific, and the weather cooperated too. If you only attend one ticketed event, you’d be hard pressed to find a better value.

Carma is a publication of
The OM Dude Press
a service of
Options in Mobility

Author, Editor, Publisher, Reporter, Historian, Archivist:
Dick Stewart.

All photographs are by the Author unless otherwise indicated.

Click on the images to view more detail. If the cursor is a plus sign in a circle, clicking again will yield full resolution.

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About carmacarcounselor

I'm one of those people that friends call "that car guy," except I've made it into a profession. Since 1988 when a friend found my help in choosing, finding, and negotiating for a new car was worth a fee, I've helped countless people, listening to their car questions and challenges, and helping with their car purchases, insulating them from the adversarial process that is the new car retail model today. Their word of mouth is my only publicity. My newsletter CARMA won the description "The clear crystal ring of truth" from award-winning automotive journalist Denise McCluggage. Now I'm going global!
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