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Monterey Car Week Once Again Brings The Goods In 2017

Monterey Car Week Once Again Brings The Goods In 2017

We recap one of the biggest car events of the year

I’ll admit it – I’m pretty spoiled when it comes to car stuff. Of course, that’s the sort of thing you’d expect given my line of work. When unicorns and exotic metal become the routine, it’s easy to lose your perspective. But even with my drastically skewed sense of what four-wheeled “normalcy” is supposed to be, Monterey Car Week manages to impress. For starters, there’s the sheer scope of it. Think seven days of events and practically endless things to do, ranging from shows, to auctions, to racing, to cruises. There’s excess of every kind when it comes passion-inspiring rides to enjoy. Then there’s the backdrop. The California central coast is without a doubt one of the most spectacular places on Earth, with jaw-dropping scenery and rich history at every turn. But probably the best thing about MCW is the superiority of the cars on hand. Not only is the quantity over the top, but so is the quality, a rare combination to which I have yet to find an equal in all my auto-themed adventures. I’ve been covering this thing for several years now, but 2017 still managed to bring the goods in a big way.

If you’ve been thinking about going, but you’re still on the fence, then we hope this will convince you to get out there in 2018. If you wanna go, but haven’t had a chance, then we hope our account of the action will assuage your longing – for now, at least.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Monterey Car Week.

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1932 Bentley 8-Litre Tourer

1932 Bentley 8-Litre Tourer

The car that didn’t save Bentley during the Great Depression

When the Great Depression struck the world, the automotive industry, like other industries at the time, suffered dramatically. It took a serious toll on Bentley; so much so, that it didn’t take long for its finances to fall into shambles, and the company to be placed in receivership. Before that happened, however, Bentley tried to turn things around by introducing the Bentley 8 Litre. It was announced to the public on September 15, 1930, and was the last completely new model from Bentley before the company fell apart and Rolls-Royce Limited took ownership of the struggling company.

Due to the timing of the Great Depression, sales of Bentley’s newest wealthy people hauler were incredibly slow. With only 100 examples produced between 1930 and 1932, that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Despite the fact that sales were poor, the 8 Litre was a fine automobile. It featured an 8-liter straight-six, and the chassis came at a cost of about $1,850. The model we’re here to talk about today is a 1932 tourer model that features coachwork by Vaden Plas. To put it shortly, the car is elegant and beautiful.

This specific model just went under the hammer at RM Sotheby’s auction during Monterey Car Week in 2016. We were on the scene and snagged a lot of good pictures of this beauty. So, let’s dive on in and take a closer look at this 1932 Bentley 8-Litre Tourer by Vaden Plas.

Keep reading for our full review.

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Soberanes Fires Continue To Burn, Monterey Car Week Undeterred

Soberanes Fires Continue To Burn, Monterey Car Week Undeterred

Devastating wildfire is just 10 miles south of annual event

With the 66th annual Monterey Car Week kicking off in a few days, some 85,000 auto enthusiasts are expected to arrive on the central California coast to take part in various car shows, auctions, racing events, and cruises. However, attendees will need to share the road with the 5,000 firefighters currently battling a devastating wildfire located just south of Monterey.

One of the biggest issues is access to Highway 1, the main artery that runs north to south through the central coast. With the huge increase in traffic expected for MCW, concerns are being raised over whether or not firefighters will be able to get to and from the frontlines.

However, according to a report from local NBC affiliate KSBW, Cal Fire and the California Highway Patrol have given the event the go-ahead, and are working with organizers to make sure firefighting efforts aren’t hampered.

Some of the changes include a truncated route for the Tour d’Elegance, a classic car cruise that traditionally includes a run south into Big Sur. This year, the route has been shortened to 35 miles, rather than the usual 70. There will also be stricter parking enforcement, and additional law enforcement in high-traffic areas.

So far, the Soberanes wildfire has burned more than 70,000 acres and destroyed 57 homes. Hundreds of locals have been forced to flee, and the fire has been blamed for three injuries and one fatality. Acting Governor Tom Torlakson has declared a state of emergency in Monterey County.

Thankfully, the majority of the firefighting effort is now centralized south of Monterey, and it’s expected that the increase in traffic won’t have a major impact on firefighting efforts.

“We feel pretty comfortable that we are able to get in and out of the areas that we need to in case of emergency,” Cal Fire Capt. Mark Edria told KSBW.

Cal Fire is reporting that the fire is currently 60 percent contained. You can find updates on the firefighting efforts here.

The wildfire is thought to have originated from an illegal campfire in Garrapata State Park.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Monterey Car Week 2015 – Day 3

Monterey Car Week 2015 – Day 3

What is it about those special cars; the ones that can connect with you on a deep, personal level? Is it the look; the way the lines catch the sun in just the right way? Is it the smell; that heady mix that can instantly teleport you back to a certain time and place? Is it the sound; the rumble and purr that evoke an instinctual reaction, resonating straight to the gut? In truth, it’s all these things. It’s the kind of stuff that drives the passion, pushing someone to retrace a historic race through the forest or fork out a bit (or a lot) too much money to have that one sweet ride sitting in his garage.

These are just some of the things that make Monterey Car Week so powerful. And while the annual celebration offers plenty of highly exclusive events, there are a few open to anyone and everyone with a passion for four wheels and an engine. Friday saw me cover two of them, including a gaggle of historic Ferraris on the old road course in Pebble Beach, and the Russo and Steele Auction in Monterey.

Continue reading to learn what happened on Day 3.

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Monterey Car Week 2015 – Day 1

Monterey Car Week 2015 – Day 1

Only a handful of miles separate downtown Monterey and Laguna Seca, permanently tying the small California city to the world of automotive performance. But the home of the Corkscrew isn’t the only reason the Central Coast is considered one of America’s most prominent motoring meccas. Before the famous racetrack was built in 1957, the SCCA hosted a road race in the neighboring community of Pebble Beach, offering a narrow, multi-surface track for lithe roadsters to slide among the cypress trees and hay bales. Just south is Big Sur, a cliff-lined twist that provides one of the most dramatic driving roads in the world. All told, there are plenty of reasons Monterey is considered a haven for car lovers, and every August, the gearheads come out to play in a jubilation of four-wheeled glory called Car Week.

The number of events in this particular slice of space-time borders on the excessive. The vast majority caters to the top-shelf of the car world, where absurd speed, jaw-dropping beauty, unicorn-like rarity, and head-spinning price are the norm. However, Monterey Car Week isn’t just for the multi-millionaires of the world. It’s an event in which car lovers of every stripe can participate. It’s a time to bask in the iridescent glow of the gas-fueled lifestyle. Sure, there were plenty of show-offs in six-figure playthings – that much is undeniable. But for every snob, there are several true-blue car lovers on hand.

It doesn’t matter how big your bank account is – every gearhead can appreciate the sound of a 1953 Ferrari 340 MM race car rounding a corner on 17 Mile Drive. It doesn’t matter if you own several mansions or pay rent – it’s hard to forget the sight of an original 1957-1962 Mercedes 300 SL crossing Bixby Bridge. It doesn’t matter what you drive – getting stuck in a line of McLarens parading around town is always memorable.

Yes, Monterey Car Week has plenty of exclusive activities for the well-heeled elite, but there’s also a lot to do on the cheap. Lucky for me, I got to experience both.

Continue reading to learn what happened on Day 1.

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Russo and Steele

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Tucker Club casts doubt on up-for-auction Torpedo convertible's authenticity

Tucker Club casts doubt on up-for-auction Torpedo convertible’s authenticity

You probably know by now that while auctions are a great place to find – and buy – some pretty rare and priceless items, some of the products that invariably go up for bids are not all they claim to be. Thankfully, one bidder who probably wouldn’t know any better would be spared from getting swindled by a fraudulent item after the Tucker Automobile Club of America, Inc. clarified that a certain Tucker Torpedo Convertible, which will be up for auction at a Scottsdale even in the near future, just may be one of those items that are far less authentic than originally thought.

The Torpedo is being offered by renowned classic car company Russo and Steele but according to the TACA, no such car was ever made by the Tucker Corporation. The club even went to great lengths to issue a press release, saying that “The Tucker Automobile Club of America, Inc. (TACA) has never been presented with-nor have been able to find-any credible evidence to prove the authenticity of this or any other vehicle as being a Tucker Corporation intended convertible and therefore we cannot certify it as such."

Continued after the jump.

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Porsche GT3 Supercup Race Car @ Russo and Steele

Porsche GT3 Supercup Race Car @ Russo and Steele

How often do you come across a car that is already considered a must-have classic without even being more than ten years old?

Well, when you chance upon this 2002 Porsche 993 GT3 Supercup Race Car, be advised that you’re looking at one.

Despite being similar to thousands of other 996 models, this particular GT3 race car holds a special place in the hearts of collectors for its stirring performance during the 2002 Porshce Supercup series. Driven by no less than Stephane Ortelli, one of the three drivers of the victorious Porsche GT1 that raced during the 1998 24 hours Le Mans, this particular Porsche was able to accomplish what no other Porsche has ever done, winning its series in its very first year with Ortelli, one of the best drivers of that period, sitting behind the wheel.

The car, by most accounts, is pretty similar to most other 996 models that carry the same 3.6 liter displacement of the 996’s horizontally-opposed six-cylinder engine. With the added element of water-cooling to the first 996 production car, the GT3’s engine is closer to that of the 962 racing engine, which was completely water-cooled. However, unlike the 962, which used 6 individual cylinder heads, the GT1 and GT3 used 2 cylinder heads like the 959.

Continued after the jump.

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1963 Chevrolet Corvette V7 Twin Turbo @ Russo and Steele

1963 Chevrolet Corvette V7 Twin Turbo @ Russo and Steele

It’s not too often where you see a vehicle that grabs everybody’s attention at the mere sight of it. But that’s what this 1963 Chevrolet Corvette V7 Twin Turbo commands: your unbridled attention.

Combining the true heritage of America’s sports car with modern-day super car technology, this original Corvette Stingray coupe was reinvented to become an attraction everywhere it goes.

Created by Phil Somers and Art Johnson, with the help of Mark Harlan of the fabled Harlan Design Limited, the ’63 Corvette was given a twin-turbo 1,000 hp Chevrolet LS motor, a monster engine that can run roughshod over even the fastest of sports cars. In addition to that, the car was also built around a GT-inspired architecture that assimilates a mid-engine race-inspired tube chassis and a Mendeola sequential paddle-shifted transaxle.

Despite having built a reputation as a tried-and-tested sports car, this ’63 Corvette takes the boundaries of unbridled speed and power and, as a result, has been transformed to an authentic super car.

Continued after the jump.

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1960 Facel Vega HK500 Two Door Coupe @ Russo and Steele

1960 Facel Vega HK500 Two Door Coupe @ Russo and Steele

Facel may be a brand that not a lot of today’s generation can recognize, but back in the 50’s and 60’s, it was one of the most successful enterprises in the world, responsible for making almost anything that’s under the sun. From scooters, office furniture, military vehicle bodies and combustion chambers for deHavilland and Rolls-Royce jet engines, it seemed like Facel had a hand in building everything his ingeniously creative mind could think of.

One of Jean Daninos’ biggest goals, however, was to build a car that would re-establish his native country of France’s foothold as one forefront GT markets in Europe. With an unyielding vision to succeed, not to mention a few breaks and good fortunes here and there, Daninos was able to use his company to make his goal a reality.

As with any other starting venture, Daninos initially had to weather a number of storms before getting his project off the ground and as soon as the clouds had dissipated, Daninos immediately went to work.

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1969 Chevrolet Corvette 1974-1975 Greenwood IMSA Road-Racing GT @ Russo and Steele

1969 Chevrolet Corvette 1974-1975 Greenwood IMSA Road-Racing GT @ Russo and Steele

John Greenwood’s contributions in cementing the legacy of the Corvette as America’s Sports Car should never go unnoticed. As one of America’s most feared race-car drivers at that time, Greenwood took his Corvette racing operation nationwide and proceeded to win two consecutive Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) A/Production National Championships in 1970-71. This, of course, comes after he made a name for himself as a legend in Detroit with his street-racing exploits in an Impala and a Corvette.

Greenwood’s reputation as an ace driver landed him a sponsorship deal with B.F. Goodrich, which turned out to be the first of many sponsors who would come knocking at his door. With his tire sponsorship in tow, Greenwood set out to make his very first full-modified Corvette racers, which he aptly called his ‘Swing-Arm Cars’. Greenwood once again proved that he had the Midas Touch with Corvette’s when he raced in IMSA’s Camel GT Challenge and subsequently took home 3 wins in the SCCA’s Trans-Am Series in 1972 and 1973.

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1955 Mercury Montclair Convertible @ Russo and Steele

1955 Mercury Montclair Convertible @ Russo and Steele

We’ve all seen the inordinate number of convertibles cruising along America’s highways these days, but how often do you see a fully-restored 1955 Mercury Montclair Convertible out on the streets? Not a lot, right?

Anybody who’s willing to spend for an American classic would be wise to use it on this one and only classic from 1955. Predominantly white with some red trimmings and a soft, black rooftop, the ’55 Montclair’s enduring legacy is a testament to its classy look and superior drivability.

The car retains most of its original stylistics while also adding a few technologically advanced features, infusing the car with a combination of old-school ‘feel’ with new-school technology. This particular Montclair convertible comes with automatic C4 transmission, front sway bars, tilt steering, power windows, CD player.

Moreover, the car has undergone a full off-frame restoration, complete with originally modified front disk brakes, converted to 12 volt, A/C, intake and carburetor. The cars’ frame has also been powder coated, giving it extra protection from unnecessary wear and tear. Likewise, the car’s original nuts and bolts have been upgraded to stainless steel, thereby reducing the amount of rust these parts could accumulate.

While this ’55 Mercury Montclair Convertible has had its fair share of restorations, the enduring image of driving on the roads with this one-of-a-kind vehicle is still something we all secretly dream of doing someday.

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