Now that the annual Monterey convention of dealers and stealers, gearheads and tire-kickers, lookie-lous and wallet-flashers is over, it's time to reflect. For several years, the weekend's events have overlapped, but this year the congestion was ludicrous. The traffic jam to the track on Saturday rivaled the Bronx expressway on a Friday afternoon before the Labor Day weekend.
Let's suggest something sacrilegious. How about moving the important races to the preceding weekend, making the focus of that time the cars in motion, and of the following weekend the concours and the auctions?
The Monterey weekend is poised to become the week-long Monterey Festival, and it is just a matter of time before some daring organization makes the leap to the now relatively quiet Monday through Thursday preceding Concorso Italiano.
We predict that within five years we'll be celebrating Monterey Festival Week, with both weekends and every day of the week in-between full of events.
FROM STOCKS TO CARS?
Will the current gyrations of the stock market presage an influx of crazy money into the collector car market, as happened in the late '80s? We don't think so. As we've said in the past, serial production cars, especially closed ones, are just going to percolate along, rising minimally, if at all.
The type of collector we see most often today wants to use their toy, and is looking for a car for events like the California Mille or Colorado Grand. So long as the car market is driven by use and not speculation, prices will not rapidly escalate. The run-up a decade ago came from those who could buy and sell and make 25% in a day. And they were selling to more speculators, who were looking to make another 25% on the next day.
We don't see those speculative, quick turn, high profit buyers and sellers out there, no matter what the stock market is doing. So if you were thinking of buying a Lancia Aurelia Spyder for $65,000 because you've always wanted one, go ahead. But if you imagine that the stock market fluctuations will cause your Spyder to be worth $100,000 by Thanksgiving, we wish you luck but think you'd be better off buying pork belly futures.
A FERRARI FROM MONTANA
There's a vintage Ferrari in our driveway, our first V12, a Ferrari 330 America (S/N 330GT5077). We yanked it out of a back-alley garage in Butte, Montana, where it was found by our itinerant friend, Jerry Jordan (yes, the same fellow we had all the TR6 trouble with. Just when we vow to excise him from our database, he comes up with something like this.) Same owner since 1983, currently wearing very old but presentable red paint (it was born white), and shows 97,000 kms. Nearly everything, even the overdrive, works-the sole exception being the gas gauge as we found out at 10 p.m. in the middle of nowhere while driving to our cabin on Mt. Hood). The only immediate needs are a fresh clutch (parts from Rutlands, installation by Nasko) and a reupholstery of the front seats (material from Matt Jones Re-Originals, craftsmanship by Guy's Interior Restorations). One of 50 330 Americas built, it has the classic lines of the 250 GTE 2+2 with the 300 bhp, 4-liter engine of the later 330. We paid $22,000 delivered to Portland, and hope to be in the car around $27,000 when all the work is finished. Our goal is to have a great 12-cylinder beater, with imperfect paint that lends itself to long, cosmetically-carefree drives. We'll report our experiences as we enter this prancing horse world.
BARRETT-JACKSON, TOUR DE FRANCE AND THE BARRIER REEF
Deadline to join our Barrett-Jackson "Insider's Tour" is fast approaching. In addition to an on-site hospitality suite for tour members, and a chance to walk the field with experts to help you examine cars you might be interested in bidding on, there will be keynote speakers giving a brief overview of the market at each morning's roundtable discussions. These luminaries include Craig Jackson, owner of Barrett-Jackson, Don Williams, owner of Blackhawk, and Chris Renwick, Director of Marketing for the Symbolic Motor Car Company.
In a recent reshuffling of our office space, we're afraid we've mislaid some of the requests we received about our proposed "Team SCM Historic Racing" excursion to the Tour de France. Do us a favor -if you'd like to be on the list for more information (we haven't received any confirmation of dates, route or costs yet) drop us another fax (503-252-5854) or call us at 503-261-0555 to be sure we've got your name.
We're looking at options for the '99 SCM Seminars and Getaway, and are currently leaning towards ten days in Australia, perhaps visiting some prestigious private collections in Sydney, going to the interior for a couple of days and then heading out to the Barrier Reef. If you'd like us to keep you posted on developments, call or fax us at the above numbers.
ON THE COVER
It's Ferrari 1-2-3 at Daytona on the cover this month. Artist Dexter Brown depicts a victorious trio of Ferrari P4s crossing the finish line in their moment of triumph, before being steamrollered by FoMoCo's GT-40s at Le Mans. According to Contributing Editor Michael Sheehan, #23, the first place car, is S/N 846, driven by Amon / Bandini. It burned to the ground at Le Mans that year and the remaining pieces are claimed to be owned by Michael Vernon in England. #24, which achieved second place, is S/N 856, piloted by Parkes / Scarfiotti. It is now in the collection of John McCaw. Third place, #26, is S/N 844, and was originally a P3 whose injected engine was upgraded to carbureted P4 specs. It now resides in the Hiyashi collection. It was from this famous victory that the 365/GTB "Daytona" drew its name.
Signed and numbered prints from an edition of 500 are available for $110 from Jacques Vaucher's l'art et l'automobile, (516/329-8580, fax 516/329-8589, NY).