I came. I saw. I need a drink, blogs photojournalist Jim Palam, after spending five days of auto immersion on the Monterey Peninsula.

MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018, PT. IThere’s no doubt that if you’re a Car Guy you must experience this high-octane week of automotive achievement, competition, celebration and extravagance. But be forewarned: bring comfortable shoes, lots of money, plenty of energy and a lot of patience. If you’re lucky, you’ll make it through Day One with enthusiasm intact for Day Two. Welcome to MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018, PT. I: THE HAMMER!

Try as I did as many before me, there is just no realistic way to personally experience all the events. My plan was to break a shortened-week (Wednesday through Sunday) into three categories – Auctions, Shows and Racing – and to then see if I could do two events a day. Well the plan worked, and the good news is that I captured a wide-ranging collection of images that I hope Car Guy Chronicles’ readers will enjoy. So, let’s slam things into gear and get rolling with Part I of my three-part Monterey Car Week report – a “raised-hammer” look at the RM Sotheby’s, Bonhams and Mecum auctions.

We have to lead with the ‘62 Ferrari 250 GTO, Top. As my friend and “Car Gal” Katrina predicted, the “Highest Auction Price Ever” sale fell short of the silly-high $60M predicted “Record Price.” Still, the $48,405,000 sell price at RM Sotheby’s sure is more than I sold my VW for a while back. And, up close, you really want this car!

MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018, PT. IBefore the auction hammer comes down, event attendees have an opportunity to preview the lots which are generally displayed outside on the fields or plazas, or inside, under the spotlights. Some guys, like Martin Worrall here, don’t care where the cars are as long as there’s a refreshing libation within hand’s reach. Nice Flamingo Suit, Marty!

MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018, PT. IYep, it’s official. My personal “Best Car of the Week” has to be the iconic ‘54 Chrisman Bros & Duncan record-holding, Hemi-powered Bonneville Coupe. Ponder this: In 1955, this car set the new D class record at Bonneville at more than 196 mph. This is one blistering-hot Hot Rod.

MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018, PT. IMecum sale-price estimates for the Bonneville Coupe were in the $500K to $700K range, but bids well-above $400K never did meet the reserve. So, if you’ve got more than the $500K you just might be able to swing a deal! I’m $499K short, but confident!

Even the best Bonham’s auction assistants need help now and then remembering how to fire-up some of the classics – like this ‘50 Delahaye 135 M Cabriolet Atlas. Masking tape and markers to the rescue.

MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018, PT. I“Circle the wagon!” This trapped ’66 Volkswagen Type-2 Samba 21-Window Bus broke free and sold for an impressive $100,800 at Bonham’s.

MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018, PT. IThis bespoke design ‘33 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Continental Fixed Head Coupe, a class winner at Pebble Beach in 2009, did not sell at RM Sotheby’s.

MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018, PT. IProof that there continues to be more than just interest in “Survivor” cars, this rusty and dusty ‘61 Aston Martin DB4 Series II Sports Saloon emerged from storage and sold for $434,000 at Bonham’s.

MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018, PT. IFor everyone who prefers their vintage English classics squeaky-clean and shiny, I present to you this dazzling ‘62 Opalescent Bronze Jaguar E-Type Series 1 3.8 Coupe – nicely acquired at Bonham’s for $190,400.

MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018, PT. I‘54 Ferrari 375 America Coupe. Stunning, whether coming, going or resting on the bricks at RM Sotheby’s.

MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018, PT. ISome Lamborghinis don’t have Scissor Doors. Take this ‘64 Lamborghini 2R on the field at Mecum for example. No doors. No roof. No Bieber!

MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018, PT. IIf you’re heading to “Yesterday” your transportation has arrived. This impressive ‘41 GMC Yellow Coach Greyhound Silverside was a Mecum audience favorite.

MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018, PT. IYou Car Guys mind if I include this photo simply because I like the juxtaposition of the ’62 Austin-Healey 3000 red and ’90 Mercedes G250D gold colors? Why, thank you!

MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018, PT. IEarlier in this report I told you that after Monterey Car Week was over I felt like I needed a drink. Maybe a Jägermeister to help with digestion? Or better yet, maybe a spirited drive in this attitude-adjusting ’86 Porsche 930 Turbo, Le Mans 24 replica, as seen at Mecum.

MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018, PT. IThis orange bird seemed a little out of place on the grass at Bonhams. But this long-nose, high-wing ‘70 Plymouth Superbird flew high, fetching $112,000 at hammer-time.

MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018, PT. IOne way to add panache to an auction is to roll-in a Hollywood Legend – like this bigger-than-life ‘33 Duesenberg Model J Convertible Coupe once owned by Academy award-winning actress Marie Dressler. This “Disappearing Top Roadster” quickly disappeared through the crowd after selling on the Mecum block.

MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018, PT. IIt seems that everything is so high-tech and Tesla nowadays. But can we please spend at least a part of our weekends in the leather and analog comfort of something less cutting-edge and more refined – like this ‘61Mercedes Benz 300 SL Roadster? Pictured on the Plaza at RM Sotheby’s.

MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018, PT. IAccording to experts the ‘39 BMW 328 Roadster is among the most attractive, successful, and influential pre-WWII sports cars ever built. Sitting among the collector gems on the grass at Bonhams, this stunning example went on to sell for $621,000.

MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018, PT. IDemented Dart is a connected-to-reality ’68 Dodge Hemi Dart (LO23) Super/Stock that was created under contract from Chrysler by Hurst Industries explicitly to race in NHRA competition. Lots of interest in this car at Mecum, but it didn’t sell.

MONTEREY CAR WEEK 2018, PT. II chose this ‘Coming at You’ image of this polished and proper ‘31 Cord L29 Cabriolet to let you know there will be two more installments of my Monterey Car Week report coming at you in the days ahead. Thanks for visiting

Words & Photos by Jim Palam,