Festivities and Finances at Monterey 2016

This is coming to you from San Francisco International Airport, where I’m waiting to board my direct flight back to SCM World Headquarters in Portland.

My ride from Monterey to SFO was a 2017 Chevrolet Volt, and driving this high-tech hybrid was a vehicular sorbet — a refreshing and relaxing change from a week of carbon-monoxide-spewing vintage cars (I admit that if I could find a cologne that smelled like racing fuel I’d probably own it).

My Car Week started 10 days ago, when I drove SCM’s 1967 Alfa Romeo Duetto down the Oregon and California coast to participate in Concorso Italiano’s 50th Anniversary of the Duetto. We helped sponsor this celebration of a great car, and I will confess to playing the soundtrack from “The Graduate,” starting with Simon & Garfunkel’s “Scarborough Fair” through my Bluetooth speaker on the way down.

While the auction results are just starting to become finalized, total sales will be down from last year. However, from my personal observations, it seemed like there was still plenty of money for the important cars, such as the $13.5m Ferrari competition SWB at Gooding & Company and the $13.75m Shelby Cobra at RM Sotheby’s.

The market came up short for the overenthusiastic owners of “ordinary cars,” such as Maserati Sebrings and Ferrari Testarossas.

While we will see a decline in total sale numbers, there was no shortfall in the emotional celebration of those who were in Monterey for the shows and celebrations of their cherished marques.

From the Concours on the Avenue in Carmel on Tuesday to the final Best-of-Show fanfare at Pebble Beach on Sunday, what was clear was that our love affair with the automobile is not in jeopardy, despite all the talk of driverless cars. Texting and posting on Facebook will never replace the joys of properly executing a shift in a small-displacement sports car on a twisty road.

Coming up, SCM will have full coverage and analysis of the events — both monetary and celebratory — in Monterey. But the long and the short of it is that there were thousands of classic car lovers in Monterey. Some were buying, some were selling and some were just looking, but all enjoyed the cars.


Keith Martin

Keith Martin has been involved with the collector car hobby for more than 30 years. As a writer, publisher, television commentator and enthusiast, he is constantly on the go, meeting collectors and getting involved in their activities throughout the world. He is the founder and publisher of the monthly Sports Car Market, now in its 33rd year. Keith has written for the New York Times, Automobile, AutoWeek, Road & Track and other publications, is an emcee for numerous concours, and had his own show, “What’s My Car Worth,” shown on Velocity. He has received many honors, including the Lee Iacocca Award, the Edward Herrman Award, was inducted into the Concorso Italiano Hall of Fame and more. He is on the boards of directors of The LeMay Museum and Oregon Ballet Theater, and was formerly the chair of the board of the Meguiar's Award.

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  1. Thank you for putting on a terrific seminar before the Gooding auction. The variety of men on the podium was excellent.

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