Sandy's Place - Other Interests that Stir My Passion: Automobiles
In addition to audio, music and art, I have had a longstanding interest in automobiles, both finely engineered cars intended for the streets, as well as exotic race cars. I suppose that this evolved out of my slot car racing endeavors, although one might say that my slot car endeavors evolved out of my interest in cars. I remember in the mid 1960s, my father got us tickets and pit passes for the US Grand Prix at Watkins Glen, and we spent most of the race sitting on the pit wall as Jim Clark and Graham Hill cruised into the pits just a couple feet from our dangling legs.
Nowadays, my passion for cars is fully indulged every summer when we go out to Monterey for car week. So, what is car week? Basically, it developed from the Pebble Beach Concourse
D'Elegance; an amazing car show out on the 18th green at Pebble Beach, where aficionados from all over the world bring their prize automobiles to show them off and compete for blue ribbons. Some literally fly them in at tremendous expense. A couple years ago, there was a Ferrari race car on the lawn that had been flown in by its Swiss owner, just for the Concourse and the Laguna Seca Vintage Races (more on this shortly) where it had been raced the day before, then cleaned up with
an all night effort for the Concourse. Anyway, then came the car auctions (now there are six, auctioning over 1000 cars for $350,000,000 plus). And, of course, the Laguna Seca Vintage Races, where mainly well heeled sportsmen (plus my friend Mike Patlin) run race cars of yore (some dating back to the early 1900s) in 10 lap races around one of the nations top race tracks.
Then came Concorso Italiano (lots of red and one of the highlights is Noel Lee of Monster, with his stable of
Quail (another concourse like event), and of course, incredible eye-candy cruising around town. And, in this case the eye-candy is 4 wheeled: more Ferraris, Lamborghinis etc. than you have ever seen on the street.
Anne and I have been going for 10 years now. We stay at a beautiful bed and breakfast, with other enthusiasts including my friend Matt Polk, and normally, one of my former partners at Definitive, Ed Blais, who has a warehouse full of exotic cars. We are running from morning to night, not wanting
to miss anything. We go to the auction viewings and attend auctions, watching them hammer down $40,000,000 cars. Very exciting. Although I obviously don't participate on that level, I have
purchased a few and shipped them home to Baltimore.
The first was a 32 Ford Hot Rod (we named her Rhonda), then there was
a 1962 Porsche 356 Cabriolet that I surprised my wife Anne
with for her 60th Birthday. Funny story: I came back from a hot day under the sun at the track, was feeling a little loopy, and went to the Russo and Steele auction before dinner. There was a beautiful little red 356, Anne's dream car, and I bought it. I had to call her up to tell her I would be a little late for dinner (nothing surprising there) and when I told her it was because I just bought her a 356, her response was," sure, yeah". Boy was she surprised! Then there was the red Ford GT with
8 miles on it
. I was told I shouldn't drive it, didn't, and sold it a year later.
This year was great, as always, and gave us a little vacation from GoldenEar. Well sort of a vacation, as we had to work every morning. I took some great pictures of some fabulous cars, (click here to see them all):
Caroll Shelby's first Cobra
(sold for a cool 14 million), the STP
engined turbine Indy car, driven by Graham Hill in 1968 at Indianapolis
(the turbines were so much
faster than the other cars that they had to basically outlaw them),
Dan Gurney's personal Eagle that he ran for the first time at Indianapolis, the little red 1964 356 Porsche Coupe that I bid on but didn't get (and a good thing too), and a few other wonderful cars. Plus, a shot of the CanAm cars coming into turn 3 at Laguna, Jay Leno (a super car enthusiast, who apparently didn't get on the list for the first production of the new Ford GT, and is shown here trying to talk the guys from Ford into selling him one). And then, my favorite most exciting moment: the guy standing on the podium, next to the white Ferrari race car about to be auctioned off, is one of my heroes, Jim Hall. Jim was a Texas oilman, who raced a series of cars in the 60s called Chaparrals. Wild and wonderful race cars of his design and manufacture, There is always next year: we have already made our reservations