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Monterey Car Week — Downtown Carmel

by Dave on August 19, 2014

Pebble Beach, the Rolex Motorsports Reunion, Concorso Italiano – they’re some of the better-known events at Car Week down at the south end of Monterey Bay each August. They’re also pricey to attend. One of the few events free to the masses is the Concours on the Avenue, held Tuesday of Car Week on the streets of downtown Carmel. Entrants are hand-picked so there’s always a fascinating mix of sports cars, race cars, antiques and classics. The people-watching is just as entertaining.

This year the organizers contacted the Santa Cruz Woodies club and asked if we couldn’t arrange for a number of cars to make the trek south. The concours is not only at the far end of the Bay, it’s at the other end of the spectrum from our irreverent, sometimes raunchy woodie events. Club president Rowland Baker promised to behave and put together a group to participate.

The woodies were staged outside the event with another outlaw gang, the R Gruppe Porsches. We then paraded down Ocean Avenue to individual registered and numbered parking slots. The group included this family-sized ’52 International, a Chrysler Town & Country “barrelback” sedan, and a stunning ‘42 Hudson Super Six, one of 18 built. It motored off with a “First in Class.”
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Rowland Baker’s ’49 Dodge had a lot of folks scratching their heads. He’s yanked the lazy flathead six and refitted the car with a vintage Red Ram Hemi. Beautifully executed, it looks like it could’ve been a factory option.
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There were a few hot rods on the Avenue, like this high-end ’34 roadster, but the real bad boys were the R Gruppe. Once snubbed by Porsche aficionados, these cars are now the darlings of the guys that actually drive their cars. They’re stripped down and lowered, fitted with built motors, bigger brakes, better suspensions and more. They’re one-off and, if their prices are any indication, they must be awesome to drive.
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While there are always lots of Porsches at Carmel, the organizers usually choose pretty cool examples. This ’52 roadster was a one-off Cro-Magnon car that eventually evolved into the Speedster.
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Another pre-Speedster this ’52 Glocker-Porsche had a long and impressive racing history in Europe.
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There were several 356 A, B and C cars, all perfect.
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Not so perfect, but in a world of over-restored and fiberglass copy 550 Porsche Spyders, this survivor was absolutely outstanding. One of my favorites of the day, it had a racing history through the 50’s and 60’s including the Gran Premio Libertad in Cuba. A broken valve spring ended its career in 1963 and for nearly 50 years it sat forlorn in the back of a shop in the Midwest. While the cosmetics have been left as is, the underpinnings are fully restored and it now participates in vintage racing events.
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Another vintage Porsche racer, this one an aluminum ‘61 Abarth- Carrera coupe. 21 were built.
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These are the kinds of cars I remember seeing at the sports car races as a kid. A ’55 Elva with a 1098cc Coventry Climax motor.
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Another Abarth car, this one a Fiat.
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An Autobianchi micro car. Way more fun around town than a Mini or a Smart.
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A Rometsch-bodied Volkswagen. This one had an vintage espresso maker plugged into the cigarette lighter.
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If you haven’t been following Volkswagen Buses (remember 0 to 60 in 30 minutes?) examples like this are selling for over $100K.
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This Icon-built Buick “derelict” was a sleeper. Full patina body. Full leather interior. Big block motor and pro-street suspension.
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A Cad-powered Allard, and an Aston Martin wearing what looked like original paint.
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Chrysler-powered Dual Ghias were popular with the Rat Pack. Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin both owned ‘em. So did Ronald Reagan, Lyndon Johnson, and Dick Nixon.
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Maserati was the designated marque of this year’s concours. While it was a T-shirt and flip flops kind of day, this Maserati fan was dressed for success.
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Another Maserati, this one complete with white leather factory-fitted luggage.
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Ferraris are always well-represented on the Avenue, the third car down participated in the Carrera Panamerica in Mexico. Evidently, while running in these remote rally events, you list your blood type on the door.
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Gas bikes. Bro-peds. Whatever you call them these motorized bicycles are all over Santa Cruz. This one was unique in that the gas tank was integral with the frame.
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