After another scorching day at one of the most sunny Monterey Weeks of recent years, the Concours judges finally delivered their verdict on the coveted ‘Best of Show’: the ‘24 Isotta Fraschini Tipo 8A owned by Jim Patterson of Louisville, Kentucky took the top award.
This beautiful classic was acquired by Carrosserie Worblaufen, Switzerland, around 1931 and used as the basis for a Sport Cabriolet they had planned for the long-wheelbase chassis. The result was displayed at the 1933 Geneva Motor Show after which it won the Grand-Prix d’Honneur in Cannes in 1933. The well-balanced proportions of the chassis, with its long hood and low windshield, belie its true size. It gives the appearance of a close-coupled body on the long wheelbase, enhanced by the dual rear-mounted spare wheels. This magnificent car has had only four owners since new; it lived a quiet life in Switzerland and France before being shipped to North America in 2014.
Among the stunning automotive treasures on display on the 18th fairway were precious examples of motoring history: Alfa Romeo to Talbot-Lago, plus a special celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Shelby GT350 Mustang. The iconic early-1970s orange Mercedes-Benz Gullwing C111, originally built to test a Rotary (Wankel) engine, was a consistent head-turner surrounded by rare grand classics. Industry public relations executive Stuart Schorr, above, found it to be one of the most appealing cars on display.
One of the outstanding stories of motoring collaborations involves the creation of the Shelby American version of the Ford Mustang. When Ford asked Carroll Shelby in the early-mid 1960s to look at creating a performance version of the Mustang, no one expected the results to be an automotive legend. The Shelby Mustang GT350, launched in 1965, became an iconic game-changer for the Mustang on the street and racetrack.
Of the five immaculate ‘65 Shelby GT350s on display at the Concours (plus three 1966 models), one was entered by a racing legend: Bobby Rahal. The three-times CART Champion acquired the car after it had been left in a field for 27 years. After a two-year restoration, the 289/305 Mustang is now back in its glorious original state.
Following the Concours win of a Ferrari in 2014 – a ‘54 Ferrari 375 MM Scaglietti Coupe belonging to Jon Shirley – the organizers had planned a feature display for the ‘Prancing Horse’ marque in 2015. Among the stunning, mostly red, Prancing Horse displays, is a particularly interesting former racecar – once driven by Mike Hawthorn. The ‘53 Ferrari 250 MM Vignale Spyder is now owned by Kurt A. Engelhorn who has great joy in entering historic rallies and races, including here at Laguna Seca. “The car was restored before I bought it, but it is very driveable and a great deal of fun,” said the owner who lives in Switzerland.
For Mr Engelhorn, classic cars have been a passion for some twenty years and his collection is varied from a Lotus 7 to the Jaguar XK120 that broke a record in Belgium on the Jabbeke Highway in 1953 in the hands of the company’s Chief Test Engineer, Norman Dewis. The car achieved a remarkable speed for what was essentially a production car, of 172.4 mph (277.4 kph). “Next year I hope to return to Pebble Beach with an original Ford GT40 which is currently under restoration” he continued. “Pebble Beach is a very beautiful event for me and my wife comes with me as she loves to play golf.”
For the many thousands of visitors to have taken part in the very special occasions that make up the Monterey Classic Car Week, 2015 will go down in history as the best yet. Another measure of its success is the prospect of raising some two million dollars for local charities, a figure that is nearly double that of past years. Sam & Emily Mann’s ’37 Delahaye 145 Franay Cabriolet, above, thrilled spectators and judges alike. As the Official Timepiece of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Rolex maintains its shared motivation: a passion for endurance, innovation and tradition, with total success.
For more information about Pebble Beach and other Rolex-sponsored events during Monterey Classic Car Week, please visit http://caracingnews.com/gallery.aspx?eid=356&year=2015&clid=0&ctid=100