Just What Goes Into Competing At A Concours in Monterey?
Photography by: Chris Robins, Andrew Schneider, & Yoav Gilad
Summer is in full swing, which means car season is in full swing. If you live in the warmer parts of the country, car season is always in full swing. I hate you. Kidding. Just jealous that I won’t get to any of those places full-time until retirement.
Here, in the northeast where I live, spring, summer, and early fall are our times to drive ’em like we stole ’em and attend the local events. And, occasionally on a cold, clear winter day when the air is crisp and the roads have little salt on them, we take our cars out for some “spirited” driving—so they can suck in all that invigorating cold air and really ‘breathe’.
There is no shortage of car events to participate in. Whatever type of car you drive and wherever you live, you can always find the proverbial coffee and cars, caffeine and carburetors, EuroFest, vintage concours, or whatever the name of your local enthusiast group is to attend on a weekly basis. Maybe it’s five cars. Maybe it’s 500.
If you are in a position to travel with your car, then events like the Mille Miglia, Ennstal-Classic, La Carrera Panamericana, the Argentine Mille, the Copper State, the Colorado Grand, the California Mille, or even Peking-to-Paris may be for you. I have my bucket list, suffice to say, some are included on the few I just rattled off, others not. I’ve been fortunate to have been to 3 of the aforementioned.
Once you’ve gone through the mental gymnastics of scheduling what events you are going to attend, and with which of your car buds, what happens—let’s say—when you actually have a car you want to enter into one of these shows? What happens, if on a whim, you decide to enter your pride and joy into any one of the premier Concours events, like Amelia Island, Pebble Beach, The Quail, or Greenwich?
What happens if your car gets accepted? (You never get accepted—only your car does!)
Putting the Wheels in Motion
There are a few events that really ratchet-up by several notches the level of car, participation, location, and, of course, the price tag of attending. How does one place a bet on where the Wheel of Fortune is going to stop across the spectrum of events you send in an application to attend? I suppose that depends on what you hope to get out of attending the event, and, perhaps a few of the ancillary events that take place nearby. Ultimately, of course, this all hinges on the pedigree of the car you are entering for participation.
I had an idea about eight months ago when I was getting close to buying my 1973 Alpine-Renault A110 1600S (VC). The VC version is the car that the famed World Rally Championship Group IV Alpine 1600 and 1800 rally cars were homologated from with its higher horsepower, larger displacement engine, strongertransmission, and heavier gauge frame construction. I emailed the organizers of The Quail, which takes place in Carmel, CA during car week every August, with the idea that I’d get together eight to ten of the world’s best preserved Alpine A110s to have them shown all in one place: on the lawn at The Quail.
My quest to find my Alpine lead me to the illuminati of guys that are completely plugged into the Alpine scene (which surely is not here in the US). A very European-centric group that chases cars, keeps track of which are where, restores, worships, and races these earliest of Ferrari and Porsche killers from the late ’60s and early ’70s. I became friends with Jurgen Clauss of AlpineLAB who unearthed my car from a private collection, where is rested peacefully for many many years.
Suffice it to say, my big thinking was extremely short-lived, as these cars are located primarily in Europe, some in Asia, and the costs to transport these sexy gems to Carmel for the event on what turned out to be pretty short notice was just too much for many of the owners to bear for a day’s worth of adoration.
So I did the next best thing I could think of: I would apply to The Quail once I purchased the Alpine A110 I was looking at. I had always loved this car. I remember being a kid loving the A110 and Mini Cooper and vowed I would one day one them. The folks running The Quail liked the idea, they like the car, they have not shown an Alpine at the event, and so after I bought my car in February 2015 in Europe, I applied. The car is extremely clean, extremely rare, and had come out of a private European collection and so is very low-mileage (25,100 original kilometers – about 15,600 miles in its 42 years of existence) example, complete with the bells and whistles of the World Rally Championship cars of that era.
Continue through to the Petrolicious Guide To Monterey Car Week Presented by Michelin to read the full story.