Monday, August 18, 2014

RETRO: Monterey Historics1994 - 20yrs later...




21st Annual Monterey Historics with featured marque Ferrari event  program. (The Tomaso Collection)
Funny which memories we keep 'N discard, as this story stayed with me since I was so enthralled that I actually hand-wrote I-T 20yrs ago in cursive; Y'all remember that  cryptic language, right? As this was a time before I'd been introduced to the Personal Computer, along with still having relatively decent vision - since I still had a Driver's license and could actually S-E-E 'N recognize A-L-L of the various exotic cars on hand and on the roads.

Also , guessing obviously that I was so enraptured over this experience to Car Krazy Central in California because it was my first time to such an idyllic setting, having never seen such AWESOME machinery before...

Thurs, August 25, 1994

Waiting to depart from Sea Tac, (Seattle-Tacoma International Airport) I hear the person next to me groan: “Reno Air is Always Late.” Arriving in San 'Hose! (San Jose) I pick up my rental car from Hertz; DOUGHNUT? Hya! a white "Plain-Jane" 2-door Chevy Corsica. (SHUSH, DON’T TELL THE SHELBY CLUB!)

Marcus and I drive to downtown San Jose to meet his dad waiting for us inside an awesome sports bar, while I've become ensnared in a never ending saga of one-way Merry Go Round roads, as San Jose’s downtown one-way street grid turns into a 1hr “Nightmare,” which would make downtown Renton, Washington jealous

Finally finding shelter in a parking garage, we walk over to the bar where his dad has been awaiting our arrival.

The Great American Sports Bar is quite the place, with enough big-screen TV’s standing ready to show every Sunday (NFL) football game simultaneously. The remaining wall space is adorned with an impressive smorgasbord of sports memorabilia. Framed football jerseys of Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott and Dwight Clark along with framed autographed pictures, game balls, etc filling the space.

After a few brewskies” we head for Marcus’s father’s apartment, where we spend the night...

Fri, August 26

Leaving Marcus at his Dad’s in San “Hose” as the locals call it, I’m off on a solo journey to parts unknown… Aiming for Carmel, California, part of this weekend’s Monterey Historics exotic automobile Mecca, as Marcus's father has told me how the local's would get there from his Apartment.

Heading for the coast, I take Highway 101 south to Highway 152; turning west while passing thru Watsonville. Highway 152 is quite interesting, as I muse to myself that it's a typical California “side-road.” As the narrow two-lane blacktop constantly twists & turns through multiple thickets of shaded trees and bright patches 'O sunlight! When suddenly the road swoops upwards towards the sky - twisting left & right, whilst constantly being hounded by impatient locals behind me as I travel “TOO SLOW!”

Reaching the top of the hillside’s ridgeline, I’m greeted by clear skies while the Pacific ocean’s brilliant blue green waters beckon in the distance.

Plunging downhill the road cascades through countless switchbacks and several hairpin turns, with roadside signs proclaiming 15 MPH… At the bottom of this twin lane rollercoaster, I bungle my first attempt to connect with the intersecting freeway while passing through the coastal town. Then finding Highway 1, I continue south towards Monterey, nearing my destination…

Nearing the city limits of Carmel I ponder if I’m headed in the right direction? As so far I’ve seen absolutely zero exotic cars as the Highway soon ends...

Sitting in traffic, a yellow Ferrari 330 GT convertible and two trucks pulling trailers pass by; leaving me wondering just what exact type of exotic machinery are inside those trailers, eh?

Crawling uphill towards the end of Highway 1, I notice the exit sign for the “famed” 17 mile drive to Pebble Beach on my right side. Nearing the first city stoplight of Carmel, I hear the unmistakable rumble of a flat 12 boxer engine as a Ferrari Testarossa and Porsche Speedster pass me. This MUST be the right direction after all, eh?

Sitting in line while facing downhill to make a left hand turn at the little town’s next stoplight, a “rosso Italiano coupe” fast approaches, as the early 1960’s vintage racecar with blanked-out white “meatballs” on its doors shrieks uphill! And then next a dark metallic brown Ferrari Dino passes me in the “slow” lane, as I must be close…

Following the never ending line of cars, I arrive at Quail Lodge golf course one hour later, this being the worst of the traffic to date upon my trek to Carmel!

Following the traffic to the awaiting parking attendants, I’m asked if I wish to pay the $15.00 parking fee or park for FREE? (DUH!) Thus after parking the “Chebbie” out-of-site in the nearby residential neighborhood.

Walking towards the golf course I realize that I’m laughing to myself! (Giddy Schoolboy laughter) With the journey seeming to have already “paid” for itself as I pass five Ferrari’s, two DeTomaso Pantera’s, a Maserati and Acura NSX ALL in the FREE parking; Aye Karumba!

Nearing the car show entrance: “Pardon me, Do you have any Grey Poupon?” Err, I mean jumper-cables, eh? I watch bemused while waiting to hear the sweet sounds of a stillborn Lamborghini Countach V-12 engine reluctantly roar to life.

A small armada of De Tomaso's hold court at Concours Italiano. (The Tomaso Collection)
I pass a Ferrari Daytona coupe and another Testarossa, as there's FREAKIN' Ferrari’s Everywhere! And that's before I've even gotten into the show; Mama Mia!

Entering Concourso Italiano’s main gate, I’m simply “AWESTRUCK!” This is the largest, most awesome gathering of Italian Supercar’s I’ve ever witnessed in my life; “Momma Mia!!!” Never before have I seen so MANY Ferrari’s, as there’s row after row of assorted colours.

For starters: Daytona’s, Dino’s, 250/275 GTB’s, F-40’s and Testarossa’s abound. Then the 'BAD BOYZ:” A 288 GTO, a 512Bbi, a 512BB Le Mans racer, a trick 348 Challenge car, a 250 GTO and an awesome 1983/84 Lancia twin turbocharged Ferrari V-8  Le Mans prototype. (825bhp @ 1.7bar) As this car reached a terminal velocity of 246mph on the Mulsanne straight!

Next it’s over to “Lambo-valley,” where I’ve never seen this multitude of Lamborghini’s at once! Sprinkled liberally about, sit at least 15 Countach's, a few Diablo’s plus a Diablo VT, And the MOST AWESOME Lambo: four Miura’s, 5-10 Jalpa’s along with the ugly duckling Espada’s.

Shell-shocked, I wander over to the Pantera International booth and promptly insert foot-into-mouth. I ask Linda Adler: Where’s the Pantera’s?” She laughs and points towards the 15-20 Pantera’s and Mangusta's directly behind me...

After sheepishly buying 2 T-shirts & related “trinket,” I walk over to the Ford Ghia display tent to look at the Ghia concept cars. As there’s even a mock-up modular Aston Martin V-12 engine on display.

I walk over to the crowd of people surrounding a brilliant blue Bugatti EB110, making it’s North American debut. Yes it’s the same car that Michael Schumacher would pirouette several times in the rain while giving a “hack” (journalist) a test ride aboard his brand new “toy.

Visiting all the various vendor booths, I decide that my favourite features wall-sized murals of Enzo Ferrari and some of his best creations. Then I pass the Randy Owens booth and notice that Randy is busy selling some of his great artwork...

Next I meander over to the main grandstands where the stage “drive-by’s” occur. This activity is supposed to begin around 1-1:15PM, but Italian’s love their pasta and nothing will hasten the leisurely lunch.

The mood is complete with an Italian opera singer and several fine lambrusco’s to clense the pallet. The procession of vehicles to drive past the awaiting spectators begins at 1:45PM.

First onto the ramp are various Italian “Scooters.” While a 250 MV Augusta rider tries vainly to start his motorcycle the announcer waxes eloquently about how he used to ride his Augusta everywhere…But since he started wearing an Alfa Romeo cap his Augusta won’t start; Hooah! Cymbal crash please...

Just a few of the countless Ferrari's on display at Concours Italiano. (The Tomaso Collection)
After soaking in some afternoon sunshine and fine Italian beverages while admiring passing Italian coachwork from the grandstands, I make another circuit to view all of the various marques one last time before departing.

Exiting the show, I saunter over to the “back-forty” (preferred parking lot) where  a small armada awaits perusing, as I’m floored, as a sea of red Ferrari’s stretch as far as the eye can see! Ferrari 308’s & 328’s seem simply “A dime-A dozen,” with Daytona’s, Testarossa’s and Dino’s sprinkled in for variety. I saunter by multiple 348’s, four Pantera’s and a lone red Dodge Viper; CRIKEYS!

Departing Quail Lodge, I set off to check into my motel in nearby Marina del Ray via traffic choked Carmel. Snaking along, I’m passed by three Pantera’s with three Testarossa’s trying to catch up!

After checking in, I head back to visit Monterey. And it must be a good day to be wearing my Michael Schumacher Benetton Ford T-shirt as I’ve already had two “nice shirt” remarks along with a lengthy chat about Schumacher while checking in. But the Monterey Tourist Information booth conversation was quite amusing… As I asked for directions to Cannery Row, the woman asked me: “Are you Michael Schumacher?” No, he’s busy at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium I replied. I must tell my boss about your T-shirt, he’s CRAZY about the “Wunderkind!” “He’ll be mad at me if I don’t tell him.”

She picks up her cell phone and calls him. They talk in German for what seems like 55 minutes… Where did you get it? How much will you sell it for? Blah-blah-blah... While she’s busy chatting on the phone two guys behind me join the fracas, asking me what happened to Schumacher at the German Grand Prix? All this attention while Max & Bernie continue to SNUB  the U.S. (It would take another 6yrs and piles of Tony George’s money to bring F1 back to the U.S.)

I drive past Fisherman’s wharf before finding a parking spot in downtown Monterey. As I start walking in search of Cannery Row I spot a red Testarossa with rounded license plate wit the word ROMA parked in the Wherehouse Records parking lot, KURR-RAZY...

As I continue walking more Ferrari’s cruise by. Then I hear something rumbling towards me. I turn and see a silver monster rolling up to the street’s intersection. As I’ve NEVER seen a Lamborghini Countach on the street before! (“Be still My beating heart”) The best part is listening to it idling at the stoplight before gently accelerating away. (As how do you describe the symphonic  rhapsody I've just heard?)

I continue walking with the wondrous symphonic melody of the Lambo's V-12 playing in my head until reaching a large park overlooking the Pacific Ocean. (Lover’s Point) Thinking I’ve obviously passed Cannery Row, I turn around and begin walking along a wonderful trail beside the ocean.

Taking Ocean View blvd past the aquarium and the shops along Cannery Row, I realize that I've’ been walking for nearly 3-hours... Then panic sets in as I’ve momentarily forgotten where I parked the Chebbie; SHEISA! After spending another 30-45mins searching for the non-descript white 2-door Chevrolet, I flee Monterey to return to my motel!

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