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Monterey Car Week Recap: Day One

Leonard Mayorquin September 18, 2012 Car Shows, Pebble Beach 8 Comments

Monterey Car Week is THE place to be if you’re a car enthusiast. It is the week where everybody who’s anybody in the collector car world invades the sleepy towns of Monterey, Carmel, and Pebble Beach all in Northern California.  It’s like an automotive Disneyland with all kinds of attractions for you to visit. It is where boyhood dreams can come true!

Yet, every year I have found myself sitting by my laptop waiting to see what was there as all the automotive websites start uploading their pics from the various events around the area. As August draws closer and closer every year I find that everyone starts asking me “Leo are you going to Monterey? Leo are you going to Monterey? LEO ARE YOU GOING TO MONTEREY?!” and every year I have to say “No I can’t because of school, because of work, because I’m too broke…and any number of other reasons.” This year was like every other year and I started making the same legitimate excuses as Car Week drew nearer and nearer. Except that this year I was done with school already and I still had plenty of discretionary days left. This year I had also made a whole lot more friends in the car world. So the number of people asking grew exponentially.

The loudest voices were my friends Erik, Dilan, Frank, Sean and Aimee. So, on Monday I decided “what the heck?! I’m doing this!” I told Dilan I was up for driving up with him and told Erik about my “plan” to drive up. Except it wasn’t really a plan. We just planned to rent a car large enough to sleep in and that’s about it. We had no idea how we were going to even get into all the events. But we had a bunch of friends up there. We were sure we’d find a way. On Wednesday night I went into work and told my boss “Hey I need tomorrow and Friday off. I’m not going to come in no matter what”. Then I explained to him what I where I was going and why. He agreed amazingly and I walked out of work happier than I had ever had.

I got home that morning and couldn’t sleep at all. I slept all of 2 hours because of my excitement before going and getting the rental car. I have a friend who works at the rental car place so I got a nice discount and got to pick out what I wanted. I chose a 2013 Ford Escape 1.6 Ecoboost as it had a ton of room inside and was rated at 31mpg hwy. It seemed like the perfect choice for what we needed. They had two to choose from one with nearly 5k miles and one with a bit over 900 miles. I wanted the higher mileage one as it was more broken in, but the manager insisted I get the newest one. So I drove off and loved everything about the the Escape. Power was adequate, and my 6’4″ frame fit very nicely in it. I even found a very comfortable seating position and it was whisper quiet inside while providing a car like ride.

Now the plan was to stop by my mother’s house to eat, since I hadn’t eaten, then go home and pack before heading off to pick up my friend Dilan. But, this was a “Leo adventure” things don’t always go as planned and always, ALWAYS, get interesting. I get to my mothers and she is surprised by me pulling up in a new vehicle. I tell her I rented it for a trip since I don’t trust my 270k mile ’97 T-bird. My sister is also there and checks it out since she currently has a 2005 Mercury Mariner Hybrid. I eat, hop in the truck and…nothing! I get nothing! Ruh! Roh! What is going on?! Why won’t it start?! I take the shifter out of Park and then re-engage Park. Try again, NADA! Hmmmm…ok…let me get out and lock it with the key and then unlock it with the key, STILL NOTHING. Crud! I try several other trick and nothing happens. I’m too embarrassed to call the rental company right away so I call Ford. They send a tow truck, the driver walks out all cocky thinking he’s going to get it running in no time, but same deal. It did nothing. So I call the rental company and they say they are sending a replacement. Two-hours later I get a call from the tow company and they tell me that they are at the Long Beach Airport looking for me. Doh! I have to explain to them that they are supposed to pick up my replacement and bring it over to me then take my broken vehicle and take it back. Two-hours after that I finally get my replacement. *Cue dramatic entry music* The replacement is a 2012 Ford Escape with 23k miles that probably hadn’t even been cleaned after the last rental. This one lacks a ton of the features the 2013 had and has an awkward seating position for me, but to make matters worse it has a V6 which has a much lower rating than the Ecoboost Escape. It was also a good bit smaller. But this was no time to complain. I had to start my trip already.

I get home and pack quickly before heading off to pick up Dilan. I get to Dilan’s house around 9pm, he throws all his stuff in while verbally going off his list of must haves. That is when I realized that I forgot to bring a pillow, and a blanket, but even more disconcerting was the fact that I forgot to pack UNDERWEAR!  But we need to go NOW. So we are off! Immediately Dilan tries to connect his iPhone to the Bluetooth and it’s a no go. Then he tries using the USB insert it has and the system tell him it doesn’t recognize his phone. So we decide to go to Frys and buy an AUX cable so we don’t have to hear crappy radio music. We head a bit out of our way to Frys and it is closed! Ok, off to Best Buy! But we get there right as it’s closing. No problem we will find a Walmart along the way. We get to Oxnard and pull off when we see a Walmart only to find that they had just closed two minutes prior! We ended up going to a grocery store next and there was nothing there that was useful, but I did find some pillows!  We ended up making a whole bunch of these stops along the way with no success. We probably lost an hour making these hopeless stops.

We finally made it into Monterey at around 4:30am and decide that it’s too late to even attempt sleeping. Naturally, we decide to start driving around and do some car spotting. We found hotel parking lot, after hotel parking lot filled with exotics. We then decided to just head into Downtown Monterey to where the RM Auction was going to be held and check out what they had. Outside in the mist sat a Porsche Carrera GT, a Mercedes-Benz CLK GTR, and a Porsche GT1  just sitting outside the hotel covered in moisture. We then walked inside the hotel and found an amazing display of Ferrari’s, Ford GT-40’s, and Aston Martins set to be auctioned. They also had a 2001 Audi R8 Le Mans Prototype and a 2001 Bentley Speed 8.  Then as we were walking back to the car we found a 1994 McLaren F1 that had been upgraded with the High-Downforce kit. It was absolutely stunning!  

But we weren’t here to spot cars in parking lots. We were here for the events.  Off to Quail we go! We get there and tell them that we are “Media.” This was a lie, as we hadn’t applied for Media Credentials as we never planned on even making it up to Monterey. We then changed in the car into “nicer” clothes,  as we thought about how we were going to manage to get in. We walked around the perimeter of the show area as we photographed all the cars driving in that were going to be at the event. Everything we were seeing was living up to what we expected. We were seeing why people pay $450 or more a ticket so they can attend this show. Eventually, we spotted some friends who “hooked us up” and got us inside. As soon as I walked in my eyes were drawn to a stunning Ferrari 250 GTO and its magnificent beauty! I then text my friend Eric and let him know I was in town and at Quail. He responded by telling me to keep an eye on the McLaren booth that there was something very, VERY special there. I did my thing and started taking pictures of the cars before I stopped and started to have a good conversation with the guy who brought the 250 GTO. As I was doing this I noticed the car cover started coming off the car at the McLaren booth. The car being the bespoke 1 of 1 McLaren X-1 built for a very special customer at a cost of about $7 million. At first I was extremely unsure, some might say repulsed, by the car. But I took a ton of shots and got one with my phone too to post on the CNCPics FB page. Right away I started seeing people I recognized and cars I had only seen in magazines and pictures online, even some I hadn’t seen anywhere else before. I got to sit in the 2013 Aston Martin Vanquish on display and then the Pagani Huaraya. I fit perfectly in the Aston Martin, but I had trouble getting very comfortable in the Pagani. I was assured though that if I ordered one different seats could be fitted so that I may fit. I think I’ll keep that in mind as I figure out how to get rich. Horacio Pagani was kind enough to autograph a poster for me and then I went on to meet the owner of Koenigsegg and James Glikenhaus. Everywhere I looked there was a significant figure in the automotive world and I met so many that it’s actually hard for me to remember all the names. It was a pretty insane morning full of amazing cars, cool people, great food, and drinks. 

We walked out of Quail and were stunned that the parking lot seemed like another car show in its self! Saw two Ferrari 599 Aperta’s, a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB Berlinetta SEFAC Hot Rod, and a 250 GT SWB California Spider parked right across from a Spider replica.
Next we went to the Bonhams auction tent which was right next door. There we found a great collection of cars set to be auctioned. Such notables as a Mk1 Ford GT40, the last McLaren F1 GTR Long Tail, a Tatra V8, BMW 3.0CLS race car, a 1967 Fiat Abarth TC Berlina Corsa, and a N.A.R.T. Ferrari Daytona. As we were leaving we ran into our friend Erik Reynolds who after finding out we planned on sleeping in our car offered us to stay at his hotel room. After receiving such a great offer and knowing now that we were going to have a place to sleep we went on to the next event.

The next event we attended was “Legends of the Autobahn” which was just 5 minutes up the street. This event was a celebration of the German automobile. Here we found a nice small grouping of great German automobiles. These included a row of 80’s Benz coupes, the BMW Zagato Roadster, the BMW M8 Prototype, BMW Z1, BMW M1, a collection of Audi Quattro powered beasts, and a Glockler-Porsche Roadster.

After attending two events and one auction you’d think we would call it a day, especially since we had yet to sleep, but anyone that knows me knows that would never happen if there’s the prospect to see even more cool cars. So on we went to Carmel to see what we could spot driving around. It turned out that at this Friday afternoon there wasn’t much of anything interesting driving around Carmel but there was a pair of Tesla Model S’s parked on the street for people to check out. I have to say that it is a beautifully styled sedan with crazy amounts of practicality with a trunk up front and its hatchback type opening out back. What really disappointed me about the car though was the interior, it was kit car bad.

But wait there’s more! We drove to downtown Monterey next to the RM auction and convinced them to give us passes to see the cars that were going to go up for auction. There is where we saw and photographed several cars that would sell for extraordinary amounts of money. The most stunning of which was the 1968 Ford GT40 Gulf/Mirage Lightweight which would sell for a record breaking $11 million. This car has extraordinary provenance, was used as a camera car for the Steve McQueen film “Le Mans” and is one of only three lightweights to be built. Next to it sat, appropriately so, a stunningly perfect Ferrari F40 which we couldn’t help but drool over.  The rest of your cars were your “standard fare” collectible Ferrari’s, Shelby’s, Ford’s, Rolls-Royce’s, etc. On the street nearby we once again saw the McLaren F1, but we also saw a highly modified Freightliner with turbos sticking out the side and a three-wheeled Reliant! Things got even more interesting after this.

We were heading to run some errands to pick up stuff we had forgotten to pack and to go grab a bite to eat when we saw a huge dust cloud in front of us and traffic came to a screeching halt. Strange we thought…as we inched forward we noticed one of our friends standing at the side of the road and the van she was riding in along with the trailer it was towing off in a ditch. We pulled off and asked her what happened, she told us that a car side swiped them and sent them off the road but kept going. We saw what looked like a car stopping way off in the distance and quickly sped off to check it out. Right as we were getting to it two men were exiting the car, grabbing what they could and starting to walk away. I quickly pulled our Escape in front of the car blocking it so they couldn’t get back in and try to drive and told the guys to stop. There was noticeable damage all along the side of the car and the suspension was bent pretty good which is probably why they stopped. We stayed there until the police arrived and then left. Inside the trailer sat a 1 of 1 Ferrari 250 SWB Nembo Spyder which is worth a few million. Luckily it was strapped down really well and was unhurt during the whole ordeal. After running our errands and getting a bite to eat we returned to Carmel to find the SLR Stirling Moss parked on the street like any other car a block from the McLaren F1. Our night ended with the F1 doing a nice little burnout for us. It was a great way to end our first night and well worth the 43 hours I went without sleep after only sleeping two.

[Check out more of Leo’s photos from Monterey at CNCpics.com]

  • danleym

    How I managed to miss that while I was out there I don't know, but I wish I would have made it. I was only a couple hours away, near Santa Maria, an easy drive up.

  • calculatedrisk

    Is that outboard brake cooling on the Quattro? Amazing cars and pictures

  • sudden1

    What a great story! Start to finish. The events and the incredible cars seemed to be the conveyance for quite an adventure…

  • Those don't look like the cars *I* saw in Monterey that week… 😀

    • SVT2888

      I really hate that I missed the Concours D'Lemons. 🙁

      • I hate that you missed it too. Although this year it was more of a cruise down 17 mile drive than an actual car show.

        The ZomBee is so mad at you, it wants to eat your brains.

  • Buickboy92

    Incredible! You're so lucky. Why does CA get to have all the fun? 🙁

    • SVT2888

      Because we have beautiful cars, beautiful girls and beautiful weather? =D