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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Low clouds and mist enveloped the Monterey Peninsula on the morning of Thursday, August 18th, typical of Summer mornings on the Peninsula, as we drove into the quaint town of Carmel-By-The-Sea for the 8th Annual Pebble Beach Tour D'Elegance. Some of the important cars entered in Sunday's Concours would be driving from the manicured lawns of the Pebble Beach Country Club down the Pacific Coast Highway to Point Sur and back, with a lunch break in Carmel. The public would be able to view the cars lined up along both sides of Ocean Avenue and watch them as they make their way back to The Lodge at Pebble following lunch.

I parked our uninspired but utilitarian rental Ford Freestar in a quiet, narrow residential street adjacent to the remanants of the old Del Monte Forest, through which the likes of Masten Gregory, Phil Hill and Carroll Shelby raced in their magnificent Ferraris and Jaguars in the early to mid 1950s during the Pebble Beach Road Races. I tried to imagine what it must have been like to be wheel to wheel on these fairly narrow roads lined with towering pines, where a mis-judged corner meant an off into the trees. It was in fact a fatal accident in 1956 that saw an end to the Pebble Beach course and a shift to the Laguna Seca track nearby.

We strolled down towards Ocean Avenue, and I was struck by the oddity of seeing all manner of exotic machinery parked along the streets or cruising around looking for a parking spot: Ford GTs, Ferraris and Lamborghinis, the latest Rolls and Bentley luxobarges, and older Alfas, BMWs and Porsches.


360 Modena Spyder looking for street parking. He was successful and parked directly behind a Maserati Bora.


The large crowd gathered along Ocean Avenue clapped in appreciation as the cars rolled by, and there was a palpable sense of excitement and anticipation in the air. I caught a glimpse of a familiar shape over the tops of the heads of the folks gathered on the other side of the street. It looked like the Mercedes 300SLR driven to victory in the 1955 Mille Miglia by Sir Stirling Moss. The car was not listed in my program. It couldn't be the actual #722 that I had read about since I was a kid, could it?...but this is the Monterey week, and it was! A small group of professional photographers and I made an immediate beeline for the car, which was sitting atop its transporter, having pulled up to an adjacent street and accompanied by a staff of Mercedes engineers and public relations folks, all wearing red Mille Miglia shirts. In talking with the German engineer who appeared to be in charge of this incredibly important piece of racing history it became apparent that this was to be the car's very last public appearance. Sir Stirling himself would drive his old SLR for a few demonstration laps at Laguna Seca on Saturday before she would be shipped back to Germany to be placed permanently in the Mercedes Benz Museum.


The machine driven to an epic, record breaking victory 50 years ago in the Mille Miglia by Sir Stirling Moss and Denis Jenkinson. The number 722 signifies their start time: 7:22AM.



We made our way down Ocean Avenue, admiring the beautiful works of rolling sculpture lined up in front of the boutiques, galleries, and bistros. The cars, as well as their owners and people gathered there to view them, ranged from the sublime to the outlandish. British and American cars were parked on one side of the boulevard, with Italian and French machines on the other.



Beautiful lines atop the hood.





Another striking example of hood ornamentation.




As we were stepping out of a coffee shop following a quick pit-stop I was startled by a gentleman who said he had been waiting to talk to me, pointing to the M5 cap I was wearing. "I've got one of those!" As luck would have it he turned out to be Richard(DINO) from our very own M5Board!




If you guessed Ferrari 250GTO, you would be incorrect! This is actually one of four 330LM B Pininfarina Berlinettas made. Pininfarina incorporated the entire front end of the Bizzarrini styled 250GTO in this design. The wheelbase was lengthened and a more powerful, 4 litre engine fitted. This particular example was made in 1963 and I believe DNF'd at LeMans that year.





The tail of the 330LM B shares stylistic similarities to the 250GTO as well.





An example of the sublime. 1959 Ferrari 250 GT Scaglietti Spyder California LWB.




An example of the outlandish. Batmobile just off Ocean Avenue.





We waited patiently at the head of the caravan for the drivers to return to their cars, fire up the engines and drive back to The Lodge. Sir Stirling Moss walked towards the lead car, a beautiful 1957 Mercedes 300SL Roadster also shipped over from Germany for this occasion. He and his wife paused briefly to talk with some of the event organizers. Surprised that he was not mobbed by the crowd, I decided to approach him and request his autograph, knowing that he had a reputation for being somewhat un-approachable. To my amazement Sir Stirling graciously signed my Tour D'Elegance program and I believe one for one other person before quickly hopping into the cockpit of his 300SL.



The Man himself, signing my program. Note the facial expression of the gentleman in the yellow sweatshirt to the left of Sir Stirling's head!




Driving out of Carmel in the late afternoon we were confronted by a steady stream of traffic clogging the Pacific Coast Highway, heading in the other direction towards the Monterey Peninsula. Ferraris and Lamborghinis, too numerous to count, and of every era, inched along toward their rendezvous at the Concorso Italiano scheduled for Friday. A Porsche Carrera GT and Mclaren-Mercedes SLR seemed strangely out of place in this procession.

Friday, August 19th. I decided to attend Practice Day of the 32nd Rolex Monterey Historic Automobile Races held at the Mazda Raceway/Laguna Seca rather than fight the crowds at the Concorso Italiano. As beautiful as the cars gathered this weekend on the Peninsula were, I enjoy seeing the cars driven at speed much more. Besides, the Friday crowds at the Historics are generally much lighter than the Saturday and Sunday Main Events, and the price of admission includes incredible access to the paddock area as well as open grandstand seating. From the usually mist and fog shrouded early morning practice runs of the PreWar Sports/Touring Cars of Group 1A to the late afternoon runs of the Group 7B '66-'72 Historic Trans Am racers, the hills around Laguna Seca resounded with a symphony of unbridled power.




M5 parked at the Barloy Canyon lot directly across from our parking spot. Anyone from our Board recognize their baby? Boy I missed my Tosca!



The paddock area is a busy place where owners and their crews adjust and prep their cars before and after their practice runs, and where one can simply walk up, admire the beautiful and historically important racecars, engage the cars' proud owners in conversation, and learn more than from any book. It really is an incredible opportunity. My senses were quickly overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of visually stunning race cars sitting under canopy, rumbling back from their practice runs or rolling out to the track. Static works of automotive art were suddenly transformed into a blur of brilliant colors, shapes and movement on the track, accompanied by a melodious(but loud) soundtrack of internal combustion fury and the pungent and strangely intoxicating smell of racing fuel and burnt rubber.




Truly a Great American Racing Special(the theme of this year's historics): One of three Scarab sports racers built by Troutman/Barnes for Woolworth's heir Lance Reventlow. Arguably the best sports racer of its day, one of these fabulous and incredibly beautiful, California-built, Chevy powered machines was driven to a historic win at the Riverside Grand Prix in 1958 by mechanic-driver Chuck Daigh. He was wheel to wheel for the lead with Phil Hill in an exotic, quad-cam Ferrari 412MI(Monza Indianapolis) the first quarter of the race before Hill retired with mechanical problems.





One of the cars the Scarabs would have faced "back in the day". 1957 Ferrari 625 TR. This is the famous ex-von Neumann machine. The 625 TR would have also battled my favorite sports racer of the era, the awesome 400 horsepower V8(ala our beloved M5) Maserati 450s of 1957, of which only 10 were made, and none were present at the Historics this year. Oh, the days when 400 horses resided up front, and power was driven by the rear wheels as God intended.




e39 M5 in the paddock. The well-heeled owner/drivers of the racecars often pulled up in some pretty exotic street machines. Several Bentley Continental GTs, an Aston Martin DB9 and Vanquish as well as sundry Ferraris were seen parked in the paddock area. I cannot recall now who actually owned this car, but it was not in the BMW tent area. A vintage racer with excellent taste!




1958 Ferrari 250 TR. Approximately 300 horses from a 3 litre V-12. Testa Rossa of course literally translates to "Red Head" and refers to the always red painted cam covers.




A beautifully prepared 1956 Ferrari 500 TR. Note the Rosso cam covers atop the twin cam cylinder heads.



1957 Maserati 250Si. I love the svelte body work of the 50s Maserati sports racers.




The rear of yet another fabulous Maserati. 1955 300S.





1953 Jaguar C-Type. A beautiful and timeless design that borrowed heavily from the prewar BMW 328s that were all conquering in the Mille Miglia.





1957 Aston Martin DBR2/2. Aston Martin's big engined answer to the Maserati 450S. Winner at Silverstone, 1957, with Salvadori at the wheel. Surely you realize by now my fascination with the 1950s sports racers.




A Cobra Pit, quite literally. I have never seen so many genuine racing Cobras gathered in one place!





The best of the 1960's road racers. 1966 Ford GT40 rumbling out of its paddock to the track. The 40 in GT40 represents 40 inches. That is how high the car is off the ground. I could not believe how low that really is until I stood next to it in person. It made the current Ford GT sitting adjacent to it in the paddock look like a truck! The sound of that big-bore V8 at speed was amazing, probably how our s-62 motor would sound completely unrestricted.





Another 1966 GT-40, in GULF colors. One of the most beautiful race cars of all time.





Pack of BMWs on track, approaching Turn 4. 1978 320 Turbo driven by Bobby Rahal in the lead.





1975 BMW 3.5 CSL at speed, piloted by Tommy Milner.





Another 3.5 CSL, this one from 1974 and driven here by Rug Cunningham.





The 1980 BMW M1 owned by BMW NA. All of the BMWs were a joy to watch on track. They were much more charismatic and produced far better music to the ears than the innumerable Porsches droning around the track. Just my humble opinion, of course.



As impressive and intoxicating as seeing, hearing, and smelling all of the more than 400 cars in the Historics were, in the end the most memorable and meaningful experience I had in Monterey was my chance meeting with a reluctant racing hero from the 1950s-1960s. No, I am not referring to Sir Stirling. I had but a moment to talk to Sir Stirling, and it was a brief moment of connection to the period of Motorsport I love so dearly. No, I am referring to my unforgettable meeting with a racing driver who drove a pontoon-bodied Ferrari 250 TR "back in the day" in all of the top West Coast sports car races. A man who knew Jim Hall, Carroll Shelby and raced with the best of them. He happened by chance to ask my wife if he could share a table with her and my son for lunch adjacent to the paddocks, while I was still admiring cars in the paddocks with my parents. We joined them for lunch, and I ended up spending over an hour talking to him about sports car racing and about the sports racers from the era. He also happened to be wearing a BMW cap! Talk about improbable coincidence and divine providence...

I have already begun making plans for our return to a full Monterey week in 2006, for it is not just the cars that draw me to this racing hallowed ground, but the personal connection to our automotive and racing past that cannot be bought or owned.

Thank you for reading.


:cheers:
 

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Thanks for the great write-up and pictures! Glad to hear you had such a wonderful experience worthy of your long trip. I didn't make it to Monterey this year, but I get just as excited about those same cars every year that I go...
 

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Re: An M5er's Impressions And Pictorial Report, Monterey 2005(Long/Many Pics/56k Advi

Thanks so much for sharing! Wonderful pictures. I may just have to plan a visit next year...
 

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Re: An M5er's Impressions And Pictorial Report, Monterey 2005(Long/Many Pics/56k Advi

Nice pictures!
 

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Super little report and some splendid photos - thanks so much for sharing! :)
 

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Re: An M5er's Impressions And Pictorial Report, Monterey 2005(Long/Many Pics/56k Advi

A wonderfully written look into the past, I expected nothing less. Great shots and write up once again Al.

:noSMG: Pierce!
 

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Re: An M5er's Impressions And Pictorial Report, Monterey 2005(Long/Many Pics/56k Advi

FANTASTICcherrsagai
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Jim, Kevin, Vitalban, Rob, Ashok, Justin, MINENCE, Gustav, big fra, Phil:

Thank you for the compliments, gentlemen! I really appreciate all of your kind words.


:cheers:
 

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Re: An M5er's Impressions And Pictorial Report, Monterey 2005(Long/Many Pics/56k Advi

Well done! MORE PHOTOS PLEASE!:thumbsup:
 

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Al,
Looks like you were in seventh heaven!!! haha What a wonderful job you did of documenting (in in my case, educating)!!! Can't believe you met Sir Stirling Moss too!! Thanks so much for posting!
Anita
 

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Looks like you had fun, thanks for sharing, Josh
 

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Hi Al:
A great report and photos as usual. I'm glad you include your
historical footnotes. My enthusiasm for motorcycles in my
youth kept, me from learning much about the great race cars
of the 50's & 60's. Looking forward to hearing more about
your conversations with the legends of motorsport.
Stacey :M5thumbs:
 

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Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
C., ALEV8, Anita, Josh, Stacey:

Thank you!

I posted some additional pics on a new thread for ease of viewing.


:cheers:
 

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Excellent write-up and pictures! I didn´t know the Ferrari 330LM B was so similar to the 250 GTO. What a great machine :wroom:
 
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