Monterey Car Week has officially kicked off and the best is yet to come this weekend

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Without a doubt Monterey Car Week, the combination of the Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance, half a dozen collector car auctions and a myriad of other classic car festivities is the best one-stop-shop for all things automotive.  Unfortunately we will not be going and no one has offered to pack us in their suitcase — yet.   We’re still waiting for that offer, but even if we don’t attend there are plenty of places to see recaps of the many events.

In the event that you want to cash in some frequent flyer miles and head out there this weekend, or if you simply want to know more about the event, we’ve included a few of the Monterey activities that we’re most excited about.

Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance – America’s most prestigious classic car show

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Looking to see the most elegant, stylish and historical cars ever created all in one spot?  Look no further than the Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance – that’s French for competition of elegance – if you’re curious.  This annual staple of Monterey Car Week pits the finest in pre-war and post-war automobiles against each other in what’s considered to be the America’s, if not the world’s, most prestigious car show.  As the name suggests, the show takes place on the Pebble Beach golf course and attracts 15,000 spectators all paying at least $300 to attend.  Click here to see the Best in Show winner from last year as well as a number of other event videos.

 

Rolex Monterey Motosports Reunion

 

The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion is the world’s preeminent historic racing event and a centerpiece of Monterey Car Week.   The event draws competitors from all across the globe racing some of the most significant race cars ever built.  A total of 550 historically and period correct racing cars are accepted every year to compete in 15 different race groups.   This year celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Ford GT350 Mustang.  Ford will have a comprehensive paddock display celebrating this legendary race car and dozens of GT350 Mustangs will be out participating in the racing activities.

This past weekend hundreds of Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion entrants visited Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the Monterey Motorsports Pre-Reunion.  The Pre-Reunion is designed to give entrants in the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion time to get acclimated to the track before the big event, particularly because many entrants have not competed on the highly technical Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca course.

You can view a comprehensive gallery of the 2015 Monterey Motorsports Pre-Reunion here.

 

Going, going, gone – Over 135 “Million Dollar” cars set to hit the auction block in Monterey 

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If you think the January auctions in Scottsdale are the only place to buy a classic car at auction, think again.  In fact, unless you’re looking to spend a lot of dough at an auction Monterey might not be the place for you.  It is, however, a lot fun browsing the auction catalogs for the big Monterey auctions this weekend.  Since it’s always fun to dream, we’ve included a list of the top auctions this upcoming weekend and our “picks of the liter.”  And yes, we mean liter, as in cubic liter.  It’s an automotive reference.  Get it?

We’ve selected one “money-is-no-object car“, one “track car” and one “car we might just be able to afford.”  You’ll also find a list to all the auction lots just in case you have some money burning a hole in your pocket.

 

Gooding and Company

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Gooding and Company has been in the collector car auction business since 2003 and has sold three of the all-time top-ten highest selling cars ever sold at auction.  At the 2014 Pebble Beach Auction Gooding moved $103 million in inventory, including this 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider for $15 million.  Remember Ferris Bueller’s Day Off?  This is the same model that got pushed out of the garage and down the cliff.  Well not the same exact one – you probably wouldn’t want to buy that one.

Our Picks of the Liter

Money-is-no-object car:  If collectability is important it’s not a bad idea to own an example of the winningest car in Le Mans history.  This 1982 Porsche 956 won the 1983 24 hours of Le Mans and has been raced by a long list of legends including Ickx, Schuppan, Bell, Heywood and Holbert.  One little known fact about the Porsche 956/962 – this car pioneered the dual clutch automatic transmission technology that underpins the flappy paddle transmission common in  most sports car today.

Track Car:  We might not be able to afford it, but this Ferrari 206 S Dino Spider would be our choice for track car if we could.  It is one of just 18 examples built and is a thoroughbred race car.  Dino was Enzo Ferrari’s son whom he adored and lost to Muscular Dystrophy when he was just 24 years old.  Some say the Dino race cars were cursed, so this one may be best suited sitting in your garage opposed to exercised on track.  That is unless you have someone looking to cash in on a life insurance policy.

One We Might Just Afford:  There’s just something about Jaguar XK roadsters that draw you in and this beautiful blue 1955 XK140 certainly does just that.  Plus, it’s the desirable MC model with wire wheels, dual exhaust and headlights.  We’d gladly take it for the original MSRP of $4,040, but we’re afraid it will go for a bit more for that when it crosses the block.

View the entire Gooding and Company Pebble Beach auction catalog here.

 

RM Sothebys

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Combine these two names and you have an auction powerhouse.  Sotheby’s you’ve surely heard of.  RM Auctions has been around since 1991 and has moved some serious iron over the years.  Last year at the Monterey auction when the final gavel fell they netted $143.5 million in sales, including this beautiful Ferrari 275 GTB/C Speciale that sold for a cool $24 million.

Our Picks of the Liter:

Money-is-no-object car:  You can’t go wrong with this 1965 Ferrari 250 LM.  It’s the first Ferrari to ever have won overall at Le Mans, it’s race ready and undoubtedly a good investment.  That is if you have at least $10 million to spare.

Track Car:  If we want a reliable track car that won’t let us down this 1996 Porsche 911 RS 3.8 is just the ticket.  This European market only car is street legal and was originally built to qualify its racier brother, the RSR 3.8, for professional racing duties.  This car is contemporary enough to be comfortable yet packs more than enough oomph from its turbocharged flat-six to scare you silly on the track.

One We Might Just Afford: Well, its actually a twofer, but if you split the cost between this Fiat 600 Jolly and Fiat 600 Multipla you’re looking at something around $75k apiece.  You can’t get much cuter than these two cars, arguably the most popular cars in Europe in their time.

View the entire RM Auctions slated for Monterey here.

 

Bonhams

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Bonhams is one of the oldest if not the oldest auctioneer of fine art and antiques in existence.  It also auctions off some serious cars at a number of collector car auctions.  In fact, last year Bonhams sold $103 million worth of inventory at the auction in Monterey.  The highlight of last year’s sale was this Ferrari GTO that set the all-time auction sales price record at $38 million.  This year Bonhams has 111 cars scheduled to cross the block, including our picks of the liter below.

Money-is-no-object car:  Ferruccio Lamborghini proved that with the right amount of determination and engineering acumen you can take on the likes of Ferrari.  Our favorite Lamborghini creation is the Miura and we have our eyes all over this 1967 Lamborghini Miura P400.  We’ll have to dig extra deep in the couch to find the $1 million it will take to win this one.

Track Car: A strong contender for the car we might just afford, this Lotus Formula Junior  proves that you don’t need to spend a fortune to have a lot of fun.   Add a few grand for a Skip Barber racing school, a couple grand for safety gear and you’re all set for a weekend of vintage racing fun.  We suggest Road America for your first outing.  Perhaps the Elkhart Lake Vintage Festival in September.  Go ahead and buy it.  We’ll gladly help out as crew your first weekend out.

One We Might Just Afford: The E30 M3 is the grand daddy in the M3 lineage and the one we’d most like to own.  This car isn’t exactly cheap,especially considering these cars could be had for $10k not too long ago, but its time capsule condition assures us that it hasn’t been abused or cannibalized like many of these cars were in the 90’s.  We’re also betting that even at $75k there is still room for appreciation in the coming years.

View the entire Bonhams Monterey Catalog  here.

 

Mecum

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If there is one auction house that you’ve heard of other than Barrett-Jackson it is surely Mecum auctions.  Around for years Mecum auctions are regularly broadcast on cable TV and occur all across the country.  Last year Mecum netted $35 million in auction sales, with top honors going to this 1961 Ferrari 250 Series II convertible.  This year several hundred cars will cross the block at the Mecum Monterey Auction.

Money-is-no-object car:  An early Porsche 930 Turbo is cool enough on its own. Throw in ownership by the king of cool, Steve McQueen, and this 1976 Porsche 930 Turbo is quite possibly the coolest car available at the Monterey auctions.  The most rare?  Probably not.  Quickest?  We doubt it.  What’s cool about this car is that Steve McQueen not only drove it regularly, he also special ordered it exactly to his liking.  In fact it is the last Porsche that Steve McQueen ever ordered.  You won’t find another one of these.  Ever.

Track Car:  Well outside of our make believe auction budget, this 1967 Lola T70 Mk III race car is quite possibly the closest thing to strapping a rocket to your back.  With upwards of 600 horsepower and no more than a little aluminum to surround you this car will surely satisfy all of your speed needs, but we reckon after one drive on track you’ll scare yourself to death.  We think it’s probably worth it.

One We Might Just Afford: The original Toyota Land Cruiser is an automotive icon.  This unrestored 1981 Toyota BJ-40 Land Cruiser is completely unrestored and in great condition.  We give it extra points for the diesel engine.

View the entire Mecum Monterey auction catalog  here.

 

Russo and Steele

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Russo and Steele, headquartered in Phoenix Arizona, was founded in 2001.  A relative lightweight in the Monterey auction scene , Russo and Steele sold $12 million in vehicles at its 2014 Monterey auction, highlighted by the sale of a 1956 Mercedes Benx 300SL Gullwing for $1.3 million.  This year Russo and Steele is scheduled to auction off 250 classic and collector vehicles in Monterey.

Money-is-no-object car:  This 1963 Ferrari 250 GTL Lusso shares the engine and running gear of the 250 SWB and 250 GTO competition models, but ties it all together in a more luxurious touring car package.  It’s a little softer, a little more usable and our pick for a vintage Ferrari road trip.  Now we just need to pick the destination.

Track Car:  Unless you have bags of money hidden in your basement, the prospects of ever racing a real Shelby Cobra are slim to none.  Good thing Shelby Cobra recreations are just as much fun and accepted by most vintage race organizations.  This 1965 Shelby Cobra continuation car has recent race history and would fit in nicely in any vintage race paddock.  We’re betting this car sells in the $75k range.

One We Might Just Afford: Few cars are more charming than an original VW Bus and this 1959 Volkswagen 23 Window bus is the one you should own.  No Volkswagen bus will ever win a drag race, but without a doubt a bus like this one will turn more heads than the latest and greatest Italian sports car ever will.

View the entire Russo and Steele Monterey auction catalog  here.