Now that it is a few weeks after the fact I’ll finally finish up with my tales of Monterey at the 62nd Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, the mother of all classic car shows. As you can imagine, it was a day of luxury and basking in the glory of some of the most gorgeous classic cars ever.
I had to dress up of course, in a 1960’s vintage sheath dress, brown cloche hat, and faux leopard coat complete with my grandmother’s lucite purse and pearl cocktail ring. I’m glad I brought the big coat too, as it was cloudy all day and that way I was still fashionable. I still managed to get a sunburn though from wandering on the lawn looking at cars! My outfit was a big hit though and all day I received compliments and requests from enthusiasts and photographers alike to pose for pictures. I even did an impromptu photo shoot with my dad’s photographer friend Evan Klein with a 1930’s cream-colored Duesenberg that I fancied. I’ll include a few here for your enjoyment.
I always really dig checking out the cars at the Pebble Beach show. I love anything vintage, and I like to imagine all of the old movie stars that I love riding around in these cars. I always take my time and go up and down each row so that I’ve seen every car in the show. True, it does get a bit repetitive, but each car has it’s own beauty and personality to be admired. The show is broken up by classes that are categorized by time period or manufacturer or some other unifying classification. One of my favorite categories is always the antique class with the really old cars from the turn of the century. My mind is always boggled that these cars even exist anymore, much less run long enough to make it to the awards ramp at Pebble Beach.
An equally favorite category of mine is always the Duesenberg class. In the 1930’s, Duesenberg’s were the fastest, largest, and most expensive cars available. To own one was a serious status symbol, and many of the movie stars, nobility, and other high rollers had them. What draws me to these cars is not only their history, but their uniqueness. “Duesy’s” often included hand-built custom coachwork, so the bodies of each are different. They are truly some of the most elegant cars you can find, and just scream old Hollywood glamour. There is so much more detail and styling that went into cars back then that you just don’t see today. I hate the lines of modern cars. They are so boring and everything looks the same to me, while old cars have so much style and personality.
After having our fill of the cars, we were lucky to get into one of the hospitality suites sponsered by Mazda (thank you fatherly hook up). We enjoyed a nice buffet lunch and quickly got to work on the champagne on the balcony so we were overlooking the action while the awards ceremony began. It was a good thing the champagne kept flowing too, because it was a really long ceremony this year. Most of the time I genuinely enjoy the ceremony, but it just dragged on and nobody seemed really into it. The winning car was a silver 1928 Mercedes Benz Saoutchik Torpedo. A beautiful car to be sure, but I admit I didn’t pay to much attention to this one. It was one of the last cars I saw, so I was hungry and speeding through the Saoutchik class. And it was up against two Duesenbergs and an Alfa Romeo, one of my other favorite classic car makers, so I didn’t think it would win.
That night we had dinner with more Mazda people at a truly fabulous restaurant in Monterey called the Sardine Factory. As the name implies, the Sardine Factory is a restaurant established in 1968 in what used to be part of a sardine factory. Surprisingly, it is actually kind of fancy, but quirky too. Each of the dining rooms has it’s own design. We were in the Captain’s Room, which has a sort of Baroque nautical design with heavy blue hangings, striped wallpaper, and model ships. There is also a large portrait of a rather surly looking captain. The whole thing feels a little like the haunted mansion at Disneyland.
The dinner was delicious, and a more elegant dinner than I’ve been known to have lately. It was three courses, beginning with their famous abalone bisque soup. I didn’t even know that abalone was something you could eat! I just thought it was a shell on the beach. But now I’ve seen the light and if I were an obscenely rich person I’d probably eat abalone bisque every day, it was that freaking good. Following the bisque was an equally good arugula salad. There was a dainty intermezzo of the tiniest scoop of a blood orange sorbet in the largest fancy glass. For those that don’t know, the “intermezzo” is a little bit of something light and refreshing that you eat to cleanse the palate between courses in multi-course meals. For the entrée I had halibut on a bed of risotto with some sort of decadent lobster sauce. This whole dinner was accompanied by fine wines and cocktails of course! Dessert was more decadence with both a creme brulee and a chocolate mousse cake. Creme brulee is one of my favorite foods on the planet. What’s not to love about something sweet and creamy that you set on fire?
Dinner was also enjoyable for the company. As a kid, I would always be bored when out to dinner with my parents and their friends, and would usually bring a book. Now that I’m older, I can hold my own at a table full of journalists and car guys, and definitely had a great time that night and throughout the entire weekend. The conversation was so fun and lively I was actually disappointed when it was time to go back to the hotel and pack up to leave the next day. Ah well. The best thing about my fabulous weekend in Monterey is that it will happen again next year!
Until next time,
Good Luck and Happy Travels