Santa Maria Sun / Art
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 21
Monterey Run:Part ThreeJohn Ready
Ed. note: We now present, after a slight delay, the much-awaited conclusion to the (mis)adventures of a car-crazed local and his equally infatuated cohorts.
Concours d’Elegance Sunday
“Roger, we should get a real early start tomorrow for Concour Sunday to be ahead of the crowds. This is the big day.”
“John, I usually let everybody rush in and come along later after all the dust has settled.”
“I would rather be there for the start, when all of the cars are first coming out, and enjoy the excitement of them parading onto the fairway.”
“They will all be just the same cars after they get parked. I’ll see ’em in the afternoon. What time are you going to be there?”
“Oh, I was thinking around 5:30 or 6.”
“John, that’s way too early. I didn’t know there still was a 5 or 6 in the morning.”
“OK, I’ll see you when you get there.”
“Fine with me”
The concept cars
This event takes place on the putting green in front of the Lodge. All of the world’s car manufacturers try to outdo one another here each year.
• Porsche 918 RSR: This fabulous-looking car is a development platform for hybrid technology. It’s a mid-engine RS Spyder V-8 that puts out 563 hp at 10,300 rpm, plus two electric motors that provide another 204 horsepower to the front wheels. This car was here last year and has gained an orange racing stripe while undergoing extensive developmental work. This car is a fully functioning, working, rolling developmental laboratory. The power generated during braking is stored in a flywheel accumulator and then transferred to the electric motors during acceleration.
• Shelby Super Car (SSC): Carrol Shelby’s latest will have 1,375 horsepower and top out at 275 miles an hour. It sure looks like Shelby has reinvented himself again. It’s just a roll-around plug at this time, but already looks almost supersonic fast. I would have been all jazzed about this Shelby SSC if this next car hadn’t shown up:
• Jaguar C-X75 Concept: This car is almost like a space ship. Look, Ma, no mirrors! Power comes from two gas mini-turbines that store energy in lithium-ion batteries that power electric motors at each wheel, for a total of 1,180 lb/ft of torque. The fin on top has a lipstick camera looking backward; this replaces the mirrors. The tail lights are like cat’s eyes even when they’re off, but when they’re on, they look wildly exciting. Last May, Jaguar announced partnership plans with Williams F1 to build this car.
• Ford “Start Concept”: I noticed this car late in the day. It was not the only red car on the green. The most timely and relevant was this new pesky little Ford. The chrome roofline strip gives it a Bug-like profile, but there’s a roof accent piece that adds just a dash of style, like an apostrophe. The smooth fenders radiate into the open wheel wells rather neatly. It has big, beetle-like doors. The slotted tail lights look sharp. The slim door handle fits in; why would it need to be bigger? This will compete with the Mini Cooper, the new Bug, or a version of the Fiat 500.
Roger checks in again
“John, it took more than one hour to get from Highway 1 to the gate into Pebble Beach and another hour just to go past the Lodge. Now I am out here another hour looking for parking.”
“Do you have your GPS unit?”
“No, I left it at the motel. Who in the world would think I’d need it to go to the Concours just to find parking?”
“I’ve been here many times before and never had these problems.”
“Roger, do you have more than three-quarters of a tank?”
“No, just a quarter.”
“Is the scenery repeating itself every 15 to 20 minutes or so?”
“Are you frantically using reverse a lot?”
“Are you using words that you never heard in the Bible?”
“Yes. I see tons of signs pointing to Jaguar parties that were last night.”
“Do you promise to lead a better life if you ever do get out of there?”
“No. I am driving parallel to a four-lane highway on my right, but I can’t get on it. Is that Highway 1?
“No it’s Route 68.”
“Now how can that be?”
“Trust me, it’s true. You are on Crest Drive. Do an immediate 180.”
“How do you know that’s right?”
“I went through there the day before yesterday.”
Roger got to the Concour at 2:30 p.m.—a short, four hour drive from Marina.
Stutz was one of the featured marks this year. The company was started 100 years ago. They were based in Indianapolis, Ind., and have an early “Indy” racing legacy. Such notables as Barney Oldfield drove for them.
The early Stutz engines had two-cylinder jugs, with brass plugs in the head for access to valves. This feature allowed the valves to be reground in the block while it was still in the car. Benz had this as a feature on their engines at that time, so there has at least been some cross pollination here.
Early on, Stutz was mainly a running gear manufacturer for these Bearcats. The cowl section behind, in back of the firewall, is made from one piece of sheet metal with some large radius cuts. The bucket seats are fabricated in a similar manner.
The monocle windshield is still unique, still amazing after all these years. Now there’s some real bucket seats.
Stutz’s engine evolved by the ’30s into a straight eight with dual overhead cams and four valves per cylinder, called a DV32. They were using custom coach builders in many of the examples at this Concour.
There’s a lady announcer at Concour, whose name I do not know, who has a voice that’s so velvety smooth you’re sure she’s never had an anxious nanosecond. She only knows other people who’ve also only had a charmed life. It’s such a beautiful resonance and relaxing voice that we become blindly confident that nothing can ever go wrong.
This was the 50th year of the Jaguar XKE. There were signs for Jaguar parties all over the peninsula that week. They brought the original prototype XKE along with a 1961 XKE Coupe that was the very “Motorshow Car” Jaguar introduced at the Geneva Auto Show in 1961.
All three of us managed to get together in front of the Gallery Café after the Concour. Sure enough, when Roger pulled up, with his top down, he had some old nondescript Elvis tune blaring on the radio just to get my goat. We agreed we were going to head over to Spanish Bay. Roger said he wanted to hear the waves crashing on the rocks. So we headed out. Roger was in the lead, then Bob, and then me in my ’64. We went a few short blocks, and Roger hung a left and went about 600 feet to stop at a viewing site.
“Why are we stopping here, fearless pathfinder?”
“We are stopping here because I am sick and tired of leading this expedition.”
“What if Shackleton, Byrd, Armstrong, or Lovell said that? Where would we be today?”
“Maybe we would be back some place where we belong.”
“I knew something was going wrong because Spanish Bay is west of the Lodge, and we were driving with the Pacific on our right. So we are going to have to drive a long way if we keep going in this direction, with many fill ups to get there—unless we turn around.”
Bob chimed in: ”You know, you just can’t dream any of this stuff up.”
“Look, there’s Point Lobos, at our 12 o’clock and 10 miles.”
“I just wanted relax and see the waves hitting the rocks.”
“Well, if that’s what you wanted, you definitely have stopped in the wrong place. This is Stillwater Bay. It is a bay that is named for its still water. Believe me, the surfers never stop here.”
“Alright, Mr. Smarty. Why don’t you take over all the planning for next year?”
“OK, Roger here it is: The Concours is on Sunday, Aug. 19, 2012. See you there!”
“There is a lot more to it than just that.”
“Let’s go to dinner we can talk about it there.”
“Where do you wanna go to dinner?”
“I don’t know, Ollie. Where do you wanna go to dinner?”
I stayed an extra day just to rest up before heading down that long, lonesome highway. Roger stayed on also for some much needed rest, and he prefers to hit the L.A. traffic in the middle of the night.
We met up at the end of Ocean Boulevard at the beach, before leaving town. We started our own personal gathering of Corvette friends from all over the country and portions of Europe, which lasted an hour and a half.
I was antsy to get going and pulled away, while Roger made a new friend who had a beautiful golden retriever. I had to start up to interrupt the conversation. It’s a chore heading back up the hill on Ocean at the stop signs, because you have to feed in the clutch just right or you lose it. It’s really good to get out of the stop-and-go and get on the open road again. I stopped at Nepenthe again and met Annette Ziegler, who bragged that she was invited to every party on the peninsula. I could easily see why.
It always seems like I am going downhill when heading south after this weekend. I am still at the same relative elevation. Maybe it’s the orientation of the map. It’s more like a great time and drive are coming to an end.
I decided to stay the night in San Simeon and walk Moonstone beach in the morning. Later that evening, Roger checked in again: “Hey, where are you at?”
“I am in San Simeon. Why don’t you stay here tonight?”
“Nah, I don’t want to unpack again. I am already in Morro Bay, and I’d have to backtrack. Besides, I’ll hit L.A. at just the right time of night.”
Roger has some low cruising gearing that allows him to run casually at 85 and still have good passing power. So he turns on his brights and slaloms around all the normal traffic through L.A. on the way to San Diego.
“Have you thought of an official name for your tour?” I asked him.
“Yeah, it’s ‘Roger’s Invitational Monterey Run.’”
“OK, we will go with that.”
It seems to me like my favorite search engine is a 375 horse, 327 fuelie. ∆
Send comments to Executive Editor Ryan Miller at email@example.com.
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