Odometer (Legend): 544,256
Odometer (ILX): 180,000
Happy weekend! I spent a day rubbing shoulders with the automotive elite at an exclusive motorsports show called The Quail in Carmel, California on Friday. Some 3,000 entry tickets were pre-sold at $600 apiece. I was lucky to score one for free, thanks to prior involvement with the NSX Club of America and the fact that Acura is a major sponsor of the event. It was a feast for the eyes, ears, and tastebuds.
From the moment I showed my credential and was given a site map / lanyard, I turned my gaze to the entrance of the event. Immaculately manicured lawns were lined with brightly-colored supercars and exotics. Event workers dressed head to toe in white apparel flanked the entryway.
This was not just your everyday “car show” in a Home Depot parking lot with people plopped down on camp chairs and shooting the breeze. Instead, wait staff brought around wine, champagne, and caviar. There were 5 or 6 different tent pavilions with free regional-themed food and live music. And I don’t think any vehicle on display had a value of fewer than six figures. Many were seven.
I made the rounds as I worked my way toward the large Acura display and was greeted by a couple of colleagues who were already there: Chris Willson from Science of Speed, and May Lee, the VP of the NSX Club of America. On display was an elevated white platform with the Acura Precision Concept in the middle, with the NSX GT3 racecar on the left and a ‘street’ NSX at right. Around 11:00 a.m., seasoned racecar driver Dario Franchitti arrived for some interviews. I shook his hand and we talked a little. He’s no stranger to fast cars, having won 4 Indy races. He’s ordered a “Nouvelle Blue Pearl” 2017 NSX which will be delivered to him later this year.
Right down the street, the Bonhams collector car auction was taking place all day. My friends Scott and Sandy were selling their 1959 Mercury Park Lane – lot number 74 – and hoped for a good outcome. I caught a shuttle ride over there to meet up with them. The entire area was bustling with people, music, and activities – with auction bidding coming over the loudspeaker in a British accent. “Nine hundred fifty, do I have nine hundred fifty?” he’d ask. Seriously? $950,000 – people spend that kind of money on cars. The most expensive car sold this week in Monterey was a 1955 Jaguar D-Type that went for $19,800,000 at RM Sothebys Auction on Friday night. Pocket change.
The quick in-and-out Monterey trip capped off with a car event that differed greatly from The Quail. It was called Concours d’LeMons, and it was a tribute to “the oddball, the mundane, the truly awful of the automotive world.” Scott, Sandy, and I cruised in their Mini Cooper over to check out the festivities in Seaside on Saturday morning. The Concours is free and “you get what you pay for.” This tongue-in-cheek poke at the hoity toity Pebble Beach and Quail crowds seems little a little more my style. We saw an Amphicar, a couple of AMC Pacers, and of course a Yugo on the grounds. My friend Jason Cammisa from Motor Trend was on-hand as one of the judges.
And with that, I was dropped at the curb of the cute but functional 4-gate Monterey airport and shed my fleece sweater, knowing that in about 2 hours I’d be back in the desert’s inferno and dealing with nearly twice the temperature. Thanks for coming along for the adventure! And, many thanks to the folks at Acura for making it possible for me to attend. Here’s a very short video, along with some of the other photos I took.
Porsche-mania: Cars for sale at Bonhams.
Breakfast is served
Ultra rare BMW “Z1” with only 34 kilometers on it. This went for $90,000.
Ferrari something-or-other that’s worth more than any home I’ll ever own.
Love these lines.
Hey, finally a red car I can relate to. This 1991 NSX with 85,000 miles looks showroom fresh and belongs to Acura headquarters.
A few celebrity sightings, including this one with Acura’s Chuck Schifsky.
RealTime’s Peter Cunningham, whose collection I visited in Milwaukee last month.
Science of Speed’s Chris Willson
Acura PR’s Gary Robinson
A few folks from Hagerty Insurance, including Jonathan Klinger who inspired this blog 5 years ago.
Like the colors of Skittles candy.
With my buddy Donny from Cadillac, leeching off the free food at the Rolls Royce booth.
Feasts for the eyes, too.
Acura CEO Jon Ikeda – a friend of mine since his days with the Acura Design Studio.
Scott and Sandy’s 1959 Mercury with 40,000 original miles, which went for $40,000.
Scott and Sandy themselves. Thanks for the hospitality, guys!
As seen from the parking lot of the Concours d’LeMons. Hey, wait?
The original owner of this 1987 Chevy Cavalier was especially proud of it. And he’d driven it all the way from Michigan!
Before you go, check out the website of author Darius Nabors. He and his friend Trevor set out 59 weeks ago to visit all 59 national parks in 59 weeks. They’ve achieved their goal! I learned about Darius while thumbing through the American Airlines magazine on my flight from Phoenix to Monterey on Thursday night. Congratulations, Darius!