MMR Blog

Sandy on Assignment: On the Road to Monterey

Posted on September 16, 2013 Comments (0)

Sandy Cotterman, Motorsports Enthusiast

Three times is a charm and that’s how I felt returning from my third year at Monterey and Pebble Beach. Never claiming to be an expert, but having hit most of the major events and attractions over the past three years, I am both thrilled and eager to share what I know. Like all of my motorsports adventures, the key is to plan ahead, especially if you want to kick Pebble off your bucket list.

Always a winner, this 1912 Packard 307 Passenger Touring still enjoyed by Phil Hill’s family, is a wonderful tribute to a great legend.

Always a winner, this 1912 Packard 307 Passenger Touring still enjoyed by Phil Hill’s family, is a wonderful tribute to a great legend.

What excites me most in sharing is the breadth of activities and experiences one really can comfortably pack into a week. That’s the key, a full week - Monday to Monday.

Some may remember how my motorsports adventures started… a query into Peter on how to approach, or should I say attack, Pebble Beach, a sort of Olympics with classic cars and the Grammy for automobiles. After four hours of discussion, clutching a year old copy of Sports Car Market’s, Insider’s Guide to Monterey, I walked away with two pieces of advice, one you already have - go Monday to Monday. The second was to discover what it is about motorsports that interests you… then build your week around those activities.

Yes, the color is original on this 1955 Lincoln Indianapolis Boano Coupe caught rolling off the transporter.

Yes, the color is original on this 1955 Lincoln Indianapolis Boano Coupe caught rolling off the transporter.

Fortunately or unfortunately, I love it all! This year, I grabbed for the gusto, taking time to mingle with people and hear their stories. I also crave the intellectual side, so seeking out the premier automotive museums on the west coast and taking in a SCM seminar satisfies my appetite. My love for sports car racing definitely shines through in my adventures, so meeting the racers and following them on the track at Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca for the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion is a must. Living the week vicariously is exhilarating… especially during the auctions! And then there are the concours cars; so spectacular each receives a personal invitation to Pebble Beach. Over the course of the week, watching them evolve from their vulnerable position early Thursday, to full maturity on the concours field Sunday morning, is magical… for me.

So, let’s get started. This year I flew into LAX and departed out of San Francisco. Call it luck, but I was able to rent a car through Enterprise with no drop off fees. What tickled me most was being asked, “What are you driving?” “The least expensive, fuel economy, compact car available”, was my response. My first year at Pebble, I rented a fancy convertible for the same cost as my lodging for the week... forget that! All you need are wheels, especially those that can squeeze into tight parking spaces.

The real Jay Leno in his garage!

The real Jay Leno in his garage!

My personal 2013 motorsports plan includes museums, so the Petersen, Nethercutt and Mullin Automotive Museums, in the Los Angles area, were a must. All three are doable, using Monday as your travel day. I cheated, flying in Sunday evening so I could visit family. Around 10am Monday morning, the phone rang and the caller said, “This is Jay Leno, is Sandy there?” Yes, I admit it… it just slipped out. “Is this the real Jay Leno?” I asked. Within 45 minutes I was one-on-one with Mr. Leno, walking through his collection and restoration shop. It’s still a blur. I was in seventh heaven and forever grateful to Keith Carlson who recently sold Jay his Bristol 403 and orchestrated my meeting.

Tuesday I enjoyed the Petersen and Nethercutt Museums. Just up from Beverly Hills, where I was staying, is the multi-story, soon to receive a face-lift, Petersen Museum with streetscapes taking you back in time. Open, at no charge to the public, the Nethercutt Museum is just north in the San Fernando Valley, showcasing more than 100 vehicles. Like the Mullins collection, there are several cars that won top awards at Pebble Beach. Wednesday, prior to Monterey week, the Mullins graciously opens its doors to guests. I was extremely grateful, as the collection was superb and one I would have missed otherwise. Where to stay in order to take in these treasures? The Crescent Hotel with only 35 rooms is quite a find, nestled a couple of blocks up from Rodeo drive.

Only two or three of these French roadsters left in the world – the1930 Gar Type B5 from the Mullins collection.

Only two or three of these French roadsters left in the world – the1930 Gar Type B5 from the Mullins collection.

I went on-line to reserve my entrance to the Mullins Collection, as reserved times are both required and limited. Located in Oxnard, less than an hour north of Los Angeles, you’re ready to jump back on 101 after your visit and head north to Monterey or Carmel, both about a 5-hour drive if you switch over to scenic Route 1 at San Luis Obispo. If you like to drive, and why wouldn’t a car person, you’re in for a treat!

What you miss, by visiting the museums, is Tuesday in Carmel for the Concours-on-the-Avenue, a casual jaunt through town, viewing over 175 multi-marque cars lining the streets. Then again, you just saw three magnificent collections! Also, be willing to cut short shopping and browsing at Automobilia Monterey, held only Tuesday and Wednesday, in the Embassy Suites Hotel in Seaside. Keep in mind a much smaller version of Automobilia takes place just inside the main pedestrian entrance to the Pebble Beach Concours called Pebble Beach RetroAuto, the rest of the week.

Speaking of shopping… buy all the Pebble Beach Concours clothing you want the first few days you arrive… or it will likely be sold out on Sunday. Shopping is definitely something to entice the non-motorsports enthusiast to attend! Between Beverly Hills, Carmel and the Concours art galleries and boutiques, everyone’s happy.

I haven’t mentioned where to stay in the greater Monterey area. Anyone already on the list probably won’t! Again, start looking now. If you get in a bind, email and I’ll put you in touch with our 17-room boutique hotel to check for an opening. The advice I received my first year was to stay in a place you enjoy… for me, it was Carmel. This year I joined friends, staying in Monterey, and it worked out beautifully. Getting to the track, auctions, and Pacific Grove was a breeze. If deciding to attend at the last minute, just knowing that 60 days out most B&Bs require confirmation and full payment may help you snatch up someone’s cancellation.

Owners are only too happy to chat with the Hagerty Youth Judges… and anyone else who’s interested, at Pacific Grove.

Owners are only too happy to chat with the Hagerty Youth Judges… and anyone else who’s interested, at Pacific Grove.

I mentioned friends. No surprise that everything in life is more fun when enjoyed with friends, and that is especially true for Monterey week. We are fortunate to have Keith Carlson, a Monterey week aficionado, in our Jag Club. Peter and I took Keith’s advice, discovering the Thursday street show put on by the Rotary Club of Pacific Grove. Don’t be surprised if you see some of the same cars Sunday on the lawn at Pebble Beach! Pacific Grove is one of those places the crowds haven’t fully discovered… yet. We met up with Denise McCluggage for dinner at Aliotti’s and Favaloro’s - two fabulous Italian restaurants on the main street, Lighthouse Avenue.

Up and ready to go.

Up and ready to go.

I hope you’ve found some of the information helpful so far… now for the good stuff! I’m an early bird and for Thursday, you should be as well! Beginning between 5:30-6:00 am, with the fog and the mist, I get to watch the heavy doors of the transporters open and the magic of Pebble Beach commence, as the cars are lowered from their beds and roll down the ramps to make their first debut of the week - the Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance. I just love this adventure. Often, it’s not until the cars are off the transports that the owners appear, some seeing their cars for the first time after restoration! It’s a time when the cars are rather naïve, polished but not primped for Sunday’s big day. The same goes for owners. Some are a bit nervous and unassuming, especially if this is their first invitation to Pebble.

Bought new by the current owner’s grandfather, the 1921 Duesenberg A Bender Coup (chassis 601) is a car of many firsts.

Bought new by the current owner’s grandfather, the 1921 Duesenberg A Bender Coup (chassis 601) is a car of many firsts.

What are the chances of watching the very first Duesenberg ever built, roll out of a small single trailer tucked at the end of the transporter row… next to the porta potties, no less? With no crowds, close to 100 cars leave their transporter guardians and prepare to line up for the Tour… a find, as far as I’m concerned. The cars line up around 7am, leaving in waves with the first section departing at 8am from the equestrian center area across from the Gooding Auction tent. Gradually the spectators fill in around the cars, but nothing like the mobs you’ll experience once the cars roll into Carmel at noon following the Tour.

Onward… leaving at 8am, the Tour ends at noon in Carmel.

Onward… leaving at 8am, the Tour ends at noon in Carmel.

Between watching the cars wake up and a late lunch in Carmel once most of the crowds subside, you have some time for auction previewing. A reservation at Casanova, Keith’s favorite and now mine, on 5th Avenue between Mission and San Carlos, is a terrific choice. You’ll still have time to swing through more auction previews afterwards before heading out Carmel Valley Road for a down home evening at the Baja Cantina Grill and Filling Station. We had a blast at the Baja Cantina during their weekly Thursday car night! An eclectic mix of cars and people was enough to keep us and several hundred others entertained for hours. We got there later than I would recommend… I think 6:30pm would be better, next time.

I love this car! Estimated to go between $125-150,00, the 1972 Porsche 911 “STR II” design by Magnus Walker went for a surprising $302,500 at Gooding.

I love this car! Estimated to go between $125-150,00, the 1972 Porsche 911 “STR II” design by Magnus Walker went for a surprising $302,500 at Gooding.

This year, I focused on the RM, Gooding, and Russo and Steele auctions. Previewing sometimes has a nominal fee while attending the auction is a bit more. I consider auctions a not to be missed attraction. RM with auctioneer Max Girardo is a must for at least Saturday night and Gooding is a nice way to wrap up the week on Sunday evening after the Concours. Besides gaining an appreciation of market values, there are historical moments. Being in the audience when the hammer went down for the highly desirable 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4*S N.A.R.T. Spider auctioned off by the Smith family, in honor of their father, was amazing. All funds from this $27,500,000 sale, and supposedly second highest car ever sold at auction, will go to charity.

I’ve attended two sought after, what I would call lifestyle, events in the past and decided to pass this year, unless someone had kindly offered me a ticket. My first year, I was advised to get into the lottery for a coveted Quail ticket. Three years ago, that ticket was $400. I saved the receipt. This year, I’m told it’s more. Another event I sought out that first year was the McCaw Motorworks Revival. At the time, the ticket was about half that of the Quail for this hanger party - now it’s up to $325. If you are going with a group of friends, where the price of admission doesn’t matter, both are rather interesting events… the people are just as famous as the cars!

So this is how it all starts… the car guy of tomorrow, at the Legends of the Autobahn.

So this is how it all starts… the car guy of tomorrow, at the Legends of the Autobahn.

A first for me this year was the Friday Legends of the Autobahn not far off Route 1 on Carmel Valley Road at Rancho Canada. We went early, around 9:30am, thinking we would stay for about an hour. Six hours later, seriously, we headed out. This free, yes free, event was more of a car show, not a concours-styled event. You saw a little bit of everything German, several historically significant cars, race cars, and a lot of fantastic people. I’m not suggesting spending this much time, but it’s a great change of pace and a stop I would highly recommend.

Last year I waltzed among the red cars at the Concorso Italiano on Friday. If you don’t have the luxury of seeing 800-1,000 Ferraris and other Italian cars back home, this is another one of those events to catch, at least once. For 2014, Concorso will move to Saturday, so it won’t conflict with the Quail, also on Friday. The show moves to Bayonet & Black Horse Golf Courses in Seaside. I personally wouldn’t sacrifice a day at the track for a lifestyle event. Heck, racing is the best lifestyle event I know!

What I would recommend is splitting Friday between the track and the Autobahn event. Taking in the track Friday, would be a good opportunity to get a lay of the land, so to speak. Walking up and down the paddock, you meet the owners who are most likely the racers of these pretty cool vintage cars. Me being me, I asked someone looking official in a golf cart if there was a tour of the paddock area. I thought that would be a great idea. He agreed, yet said there wasn’t such a thing. No problem, he invited me to jump on board and off we went for a personal tour!

These must be the car girls of tomorrow!

These must be the car girls of tomorrow!

Yes, I was really there…perched up in the Starter’s Box!

Yes, I was really there…perched up in the Starter’s Box!

I picked up some tips to share. Start your explorations of the paddock on the periphery and work inwards. Be patient, stay on course, and go up and down the aisles. I jumped around, which meant I missed a lot. Hike up the hill to the corkscrew for a panoramic view of the track. Bring chairs in a bag, if you want to watch for awhile. It’s breathtaking! Visit the car corrals and witness the featured marque for as far as you can see. Most important, watch the races! No kidding! You would be surprised how many people are distracted by the eating and shopping.

This year I high-tailed it to the track Saturday morning, which meant I missed the SCM (Sports Car Marketing) seminar held up at the Gooding Tent. I found the seminars (by paid reservation) very informative the two years prior and was a little sad to miss it this year. Had I split up my track days, it would have been worth arriving a little late on Saturday. The only drawback to arriving after 10am at the track is parking… and that’s a big drawback.

George Wingard, collector of prewar racing cars, heading out to the awards stand on Sunday!

George Wingard, collector of prewar racing cars, heading out to the awards stand on Sunday!

Finally, it’s Sunday and the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Be prepared, you’ll be joined by a throng of spectators, also working Pebble off their bucket list. What I strongly recommend, and something I need to do myself, is come up with your own tour of the Concours cars on the field. Everyone gets a handy pocket guide listing all the cars by class location. I arrived late on the field, around 8:30am, once parked and settled. The field was already pretty crowded, to my surprise, even though the general public isn’t allowed in until 10am. The Hagerty Dawn Patrol is early, sometime before 5am, yet a great opportunity for spectators to watch the fog and the cars roll out before the crowds roll in… if you don’t mind getting up around 4:00am!

Watching the judging is a show in itself…and yes, all the lights and signals must work.

Watching the judging is a show in itself…and yes, all the lights and signals must work.

Years past, I’ve been pretty much finished looking at the cars by 10am. This year, I wanted to watch another layer of the show… the judging. It’s fascinating to watch the judges move seamlessly around the cars looking at their particular specialty to judge.

Enjoying the moment.

Enjoying the moment.

This year, I also stayed on the field until the end, walking around just soaking in the cars and their proud owners as they drove by. I’m thinking next year I may even bring a couple of chairs and a picnic to enjoy more of the atmosphere of the day. My suggestion is to enjoy the moment. Yes, it’s all about the cars at Pebble, but as you can see, it’s also about taking away great memories from the week.

And if this isn’t enough car excitement, the Blackhawk Museum graciously hosts Monday after Pebble to attendees wanting to make the short detour on the way to the San Francisco airport. Admission is waved and refreshments are served, but the real prize… another exquisite automobile collection. Just when I thought the week couldn’t get any better… it got better, at Blackhawk.


Concorzo d’Eleganza Villa d’Este

Posted on July 9, 2013 Comments (1)

Concorzo d'Eleganza Villa d'Este

As we noted in our MMR Short Story Apples and Oranges, there is an ongoing debate as to whether the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance or the relatively new Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is the best concours event in America. We pointed out it doesn’t really matter! They are sufficiently different that we should celebrate each for what they are and be thankful we have them both.

Add to the mix Concorzo d’Eleganza Villa d’Este.

Concorzo d'Eleganza Villa d'Este

Built on Lake Como in 1568 as the summer residence of an Italian Cardinal, its 152 rooms and 25 acres of landscaped gardens have become one of the world’s finest hotels. With the support of German car manufacturer BMW, Villa d’Este is the site of what is the most important concours in Europe and, dare we suggest, the world.

Concorzo d'Eleganza Villa d'Este

Good taste is universal, and timeless. On Sunday, May 26th, the same Bugatti Type 57SC Atlantic, judged Best of Show at Pebble Beach in 1990, was judged once again, this time by experts, other participants, young people (under 16), and the general public to be the best in five categories at the Concorso d’Elegance Villa d’Este. This is recognition of the balance and grace of Jean Bugatti’s design, the quality of its restoration by Paul Russell and Company, and the commitment made by its owner, Ralph Lauren, to purchase, restore, and then share this extraordinary automobile at events around the world.

Atlantic Paul Russell

Sunday, was an especially fine day for the aforementioned American restorer of classic cars, Paul Russell and Company of Essex, MA. While their Bugatti Atlantic restoration won Class A – Kings of the Road, the restoration of Paul Andrew’s 1928 Mercedes-Benz, with which they won Best of Show at Pebble Beach last summer, won Class B – Thoroughbreds. A nice day indeed.

Ronnie Krabberod

Americans also won the Class G – Speed and Style with Lionhead West Collection’s Ferrari 250 LM.

Concorzo d'Eleganza Villa d'Este

Concorzo d'Eleganza Villa d'Este


Sandy on Assignment: Heading Off to Judging School

Posted on June 11, 2013 Comments (1)

Sandy Cotterman, Motorsports Enthusiast

Finally, an official assignment! I’m about to hop a flight to Boston when the email comes through. Peter has asked me to write about the JCNA (Jaguar Clubs of North America) judges’ certification course I am off to take. Jeez, I’m thinking, why on earth would anyone want to read about that?

Under the bonnet at Boca.

Under the bonnet at Boca.

It seems like only yesterday I was happily tootling off to my very first JCNA-sanctioned concours, in scenic Sturbridge, Massachusetts. As the cliché reads, that was the first day of the rest of my life ... my motorsporting life, that is. Totally clueless as to what to expect, I had my car professionally detailed the day before so it would sparkle. I figured that would do it. Ha! When I drove into the mega parking lot adjacent to the event, a plethora of Jaguars were there, and their owners were on high alert, spritzing and polishing. The early morning trek out of Boston had kicked up a lot of dirt, leaving my $250 detail job worthless. There I was, without so much as a paper towel or a drop of Windex. Everyone else had Q-tips and tongue depressors for cleaning wheel crevices, plus a trunk full of detailer sprays, waxing compounds, and special-looking yellow towels to wipe it all off. I was sunk!

I must have looked dumbfounded … actually paralyzed. Since the car stuck out like a sore thumb, in that red I’ve already written about, I couldn’t be missed. To my amusement, men started coming up asking if I needed help. I know what you’re thinking! But seriously, they directed me to the secret car wash area behind the hotel and then generously offered coveted cleaning supplies and those lint-free yellow towels.

After much primping and polishing, the XKR makes its debut.

After much primping and polishing, the XKR makes its debut.

Suffice to say I went home with an award, third place in my class. I was happy enough. What I didn’t realize, my Type A personality, suppressed the last couple of years, was about to kick in. Over the ensuing 12 months I diligently went through my car’s score sheet, paying whatever it took to make everything wrong, right. Fast forward to the next year’s concours award ceremony—third place again! What’s up with this, I thought? Well, not only was I correcting, but so was everyone else! That’s when it struck me: a concours hits your core, taking pride in one’s car to make it as perfect as one is able… factory perfect, as they say.

I’m sure it was obvious to the members of my Jaguar Club (JANE) that this gal was genuinely becoming interested in cars. Peter Bourassa had just penned The Making of a Car Lady, my personal 365-day plan of motorsports adventures, and I was already in auto-overload implementing it. Aldo Cipriano, JANE’s Chief Judge at the time, was starting to drop subtle hints about my becoming a lady judge. The next spring I flew up to Richmond, Virginia, to attend the JCNA Annual General Meeting. While attending the session on judging E-Types I had an epiphany… I love this stuff!

Conferring at Concorso Italiano. Photo by Ralf Berthiez

Conferring at Concorso Italiano. Photo by Ralf Berthiez

Judge Sir Sterling Moss at Pebble.

Judge Sir Sterling Moss at Pebble.

Now three years into judging, I’m obsessed with learning and humbled by the cadre of fellow concours judges I am privileged to judge alongside. Concours judges bring to the field years of classic car experience, whether through a background in restoration, specific marque certification, as a collector, or as a classic car broker. Others are motorsports historians, museum curators, and even racing legends. Still a neophyte in the motorsports world, I am fortunate to be coming up the ranks with mentoring and experience in both French style and JCNA-based judging. It is safe to say, while French judging a concours, a Jaguar entrant will boast to me how relieved they are not to be judged by JCNA standards. I just smile.

Serious business. Photo by Ralf Berthiez

Serious business. Photo by Ralf Berthiez

So when Peter said write about “Miss Sandy goes to Jag School,” I started to reflect over the big picture of concours judging. I’m realizing that no matter which type of judging style, entrants have the responsibility to be advocates for their cars.

Judging the Maharaja Rolls Royce. Photo by Ralf Berthiez

Judging the Maharaja Rolls Royce. Photo by Ralf Berthiez

The proof is in the pudding!

The proof is in the pudding!

Restored to high standards and making its show debut, the 1936 Lancia Astura at Pebble Beach in 2012. Photo by Ruben Verdes

Restored to high standards and making its show debut, the 1936 Lancia Astura at Pebble Beach in 2012. Photo by Ruben Verdes

What does that mean exactly? I doubt anyone would head off to a job interview without a resume or looking halfway decent. The same goes for your car! At Jag School, we learn that each car has only 15 minutes to shine. Without laying a finger on the car, judges work in teams, scouring every inch, looking for a composite score or ranking based on major areas—interior, exterior, operation verification (do lights, horns, and signals work)—not to mention, does the car start, and engine compartment for certain divisions of judging. Judging goes beyond “fit and finish” to include authenticity of the model or correctness for the period. If in doubt, it’s the owner’s responsibility to show documentation as to a point in question.

In French judging we are also looking at provenance—what historically makes this car special. I was on a judging team looking at a car whose rallying history set it apart, compensating for its rather rough-around-the-edges appearance. Prototypes, limited survivors, celebrity-owned, phenomenal race history, anything significant boosts a car’s uniqueness and award potential. A car entered in a Concours d’Elegance or local car show means to me that the owner has done whatever he or she can to make their car look its best. Entering just to win an award may not do the car justice, especially if it’s still midway through cleanup or restoration.

Speaking of restoration, Tom duPont’s statement I referred to in my last assignment about vetting a car before purchasing, includes restoration work. Not all restorers are the same. It’s no fun as a judge having to lower a car’s award placement due to a poor, yet pricey restoration. Spending money doesn’t necessarily guarantee a winner. Detailing a car, or at least washing it, goes a long way on the judging field!

This year’s Jag School, presented by our Chief Judge Jim Sambold for the Jaguar Association of New England, was outstanding. Accompanying Jim’s powerpoint on the fine details of judging was a video featuring Gary Hagopian going over every inch of an XK140 for judging specifications.

About to become, the Best of Show, the 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680S Saoutchik Torpedo. Photo by Ruben Verdes

About to become, the Best of Show, the 1928 Mercedes-Benz 680S Saoutchik Torpedo. Photo by Ruben Verdes

Stunning, the SS100 accepts its award at Amelia.

Stunning, the SS100 accepts its award at Amelia.

Will the winner please drive forward.

Will the winner please drive forward.

Who would have guessed 60, or even 80, years ago that judges would be pouring over what we now call classic cars to give them awards and trophies. I’m sure early manufacturers were just happy all the parts fit together!


Sandy on Assignment: Concours for a Cause

Posted on May 15, 2013 Comments (2)

By Sandy Cotterman, Motorsports Enthusiast

I feel like I’ve come to a screeching halt! The Florida Concours season has basically ended, and the next onslaught of motorsports events hasn’t quite kicked into gear.

Before jumping into this summer’s adventures, I wanted to reflect on an event that has evolved into a top notch Concours and also raises a ton of money for charity. In only its seventh year, the Boca Raton Concours d’Elegance is a shining example of how to do it right. Many, if not all, Concours and even smaller car shows these days have a charity they support. The Boca event is the crown jewel of Concours for a Cause.

What makes this Concours stand out? Six million dollars and over 12,000 at-risk boys and girls. All-volunteer-driven, monies raised during this spectacular three-day weekend go directly to support the Boys and Girls Club of Broward County. When Rick Case, the inspiration and producer of the event, threw out the $6M figure, I had no clue if this was a lot of money in the world of motorsporting events. If a car can auction off for $13M, how do we put everything else in perspective? Look and listen next time you’re at a car event as to the amount raised for charity. Noteworthy, cumulative charitable giving by the Amelia Island Concours Foundation, entering its 18th year, was $2M, and Pebble Beach eased into its 62nd year with $15M in total giving. So $6M in seven years is astonishing, and part of the distinction for this “fastest growing and most charitable Concours in the world,” as it rightfully boasts.

The timeless 1960 Mercedes 300 SL Roadster.

The timeless 1960 Mercedes 300 SL Roadster.

Chairman’s Choice Award winner, Corrado Loprestos’ 1931 Alfa Romeo GS 6C 1750 Zagato/Aprile, was a 2012 Pebble Beach winner.

Chairman’s Choice Award winner, Corrado Loprestos’ 1931 Alfa Romeo GS 6C 1750 Zagato/Aprile, was a 2012 Pebble Beach winner.

The fun thing for us mere mortal enthusiasts is that Boca’s Concours is actually something we all can afford. The weekend-long event kicked off Friday with an inaugural first, the complimentary collector car seminar, which could net you a tremendous gain if you are in the market for a classic car! The Collector Car Market – the Past Five Years and the Five Years to Come was moderated by the Grand Marshal for the Concours, Keith Martin, with panelists Wayne Carini, Tom duPont, Dave Kinney, Bill Rothermel and Dr. Paul Sable. I felt like I was getting insider tips! Explosive was how they described the last five years. Television has brought more people into the automobile investment market, noted Wayne Carini. Barrett Jackson and Mecum have become household names!

So, why are classic car prices running up? The general consensus was that the wealthy have cash parked and are now unleashing it and truly enjoying the cars they buy. Getting into the classic car hobby? A word of advice from Tom duPont, “You should well vet your purchases.” Auctions are emotional, so do your homework ahead of time and hire consultants to help you evaluate a car before buying. Along with vetting your purchases, well-thought-out financial and estate planning will net you and your heirs higher returns in the long run.

Rupert Banner, Bonhams auctioneer, joins the panel to share trends in the collector car market.

Rupert Banner, Bonhams auctioneer, joins the panel to share trends in the collector car market.

Quirky and unique, Saharas are exceedingly rare with only about two dozen surviving.

Quirky and unique, Saharas are exceedingly rare with only about two dozen surviving.

A show stopper, the fully restored 1962 Jaguar XKE, Series 1 3.8 Liter fixed head coupe in opalescent bronze sold for $165,000.

A show stopper, the fully restored 1962 Jaguar XKE, Series 1 3.8 Liter fixed head coupe in opalescent bronze sold for $165,000.

Also making its debut at Boca, Bonhams inaugural auction on Saturday was a chance for spectators to roam freely among the auction cars lining the entrance to the luxurious Boca Raton Resort and Club. Entry into the auction was a bargain—and great entertainment! Do I know how to pick them, or what? I must, because the photo snapped, the day before, was next to the 1962 Citroen 2CV Sahara 4X, which unleashed an uproar in bidding, between the audience and phone bidders.    

This Concours weekend also boasted high-end lifestyle events, including the duPont Registry Live! Hanger Party. And, yes, a pricey Gala drew in many East Coast high rollers. At the end of the day, what mattered most was that everyone attending had a blast and made a difference in a child’s life. By keeping the children in the forefront, even before the cars, guests were engaged in the Cause throughout the entire weekend. Gracious and constant appreciation for everyone’s support abounded.

I winked back at the stunning 1969 Lamborghini Miura S!

I winked back at the stunning 1969 Lamborghini Miura S!

Thanks to Dr. Paul Sable and his team of judges!

Thanks to Dr. Paul Sable and his team of judges!

20s Flappers pose with the 1929 Willys Knight 66B.

‘20s Flappers pose with the 1929 Willys Knight 66B.

So on to the Concours! This isn’t “just” a car show. I recognized cars from the Cavallino Sports Sunday at Mar-A-Lago which, by the way, has a $250 gate entry fee verses the Boca $50 general admission. Several cars were even on the fairway at Amelia two weeks later, so Boca is evolving as a great layover for top Florida Concours cars. There were upward of 200 cars and motorcycles representing over 24 classes ranging from 1924 Brass, Antique, and Vintage cars through every era of American and European classic and production cars, as well as foreign sports cars and special marque features: Bentley, Rolls Royce, and Lamborghini. Motorcycles had ten classes of their own.

The field was clearly laid out by a team of volunteers headed by the Director of Show Operations, Russell Glace, in the wee hours of the morning. You may not have given it much thought, but two strong factors in the success of a Concours are the judges and the Master of Ceremonies, both of whom are top notch at Boca. Dr. Paul Sable serves as Chief Judge, with a compliment of 21 lead judges, supported by an additional 24 show car judges. Bill Rothermel, another gem in the world of Concours Master of Ceremonies, joined Tom duPont in keeping the show moving, while offering an entertaining history lesson on each awardee. Besides seeing beautiful cars, you actually got to learn something!

Emerson Fittipaldi, F1 1972 Champion and Indianapolis 500 two time winner.

Emerson Fittipaldi, 1972 and 1974 F1 Champion and two time Indianapolis 500 winner.

My ears perked up when the Concours’ 2013 Automotive Lifetime Achievement Awardee and motorsports racing legend Emerson Fittipaldi stepped onto the awards stage on Sunday. His praise for the fundraising efforts of the Concours was quite touching.

Hagerty Youth Judges hover over the 1946 MG TC S-Type.

Hagerty Youth Judges hover over the 1946 MG TC S-Type.

Another aspect of this Concours, which I think was pretty special, was the cadre of Hagerty Youth Judges. Now in its seventh year, Operation Ignite, the Hagerty Insurance Youth Judging Program, brought its program to the Boca Concours for a second year. While nurturing future generations of classic car enthusiasts, the judging program actually gives these boys and girls a chance to learn how to judge a car based on design, interior, electrical, paint, and engine. Owners were only too happy to share the history and uniqueness of their cars. The Hagerty Youth Judges’ winning choice was a 1985 Lamborghini Countach 5000S, a classic for their generation!

Entertainment added to the festive Concours!

Entertainment added to the festive Concours!

Sandy’s favorite, the 1958 Porsche 356A Speedster.

Sandy’s favorite, the 1958 Porsche 356A Speedster.

If it’s February in Florida, Concours for a Cause, the Boca Raton Concours d’Elegance, is a great choice for your next year’s winter vacation.


Sandy on Assignment: Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance

Posted on March 27, 2013 Comments (1)

Where the people are Best in Show

By Sandy Cotterman, Motorsports Enthusiast

Heading off for my third year at Amelia, I was hoping to finally click with this event, since it is one of the top Concours in the whole wide world. Never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined what the weekend would bring.

The beauty of Amelia is also it’s downside—everything in close proximity and easily accessible. It can become a blur. I mapped out my adventures beforehand embracing what makes Amelia so unique… the people.

My Best in Show, Concours de Sport… A World Class Car Guy

My Best in Show, Concours de Sport… A World Class Car Guy

Yes, it is about the cars, but this year the people were my Best in Show. Behind every car is a story – about a racecar driver, collector, designer, or manufacturer. Someone who had chosen to design it, save it, or restore it. Someone who had used his or her gifts and talent to make that particular car special.

Hagertys’ Junior Judge admires the 1913  Peugeot Boat-tailed ‘skiff.’

Hagertys’ Junior Judge admires the 1913  Peugeot Boat-tailed ‘skiff.’

First off, if you think this Concours is beyond your reach for whatever reason, it’s not. All it takes is pre-planning, which means now, for 2014. Get a group of friends together, go online and find a condo to rent, preferably near the beach, and you’re set. Major hotel chains may already be booked.

When ticket sales open, jump without hesitation. Buy a ticket to every seminar. For $25–30 each, you get to see and hear legends share their fantastic and funny stories. Consider purchasing a coveted Porsche Driving Experience Road Tour ticket for two, which equates to $100 per person, for a full day’s activities, lunch and thrill of a lifetime. Plan to attend the free, duPont Registry Cars and Coffee, Saturday at 9AM, on the same 18th fairway as Sunday’s Concours.

My Best in Show, Concours d’Elegance…The Savvy Car Girl, RM’s youngest bidder

My Best in Show, Concours d’Elegance…The Savvy Car Girl, RM’s youngest bidder

NO SALE  $1.3M bid wasn’t enough to buy the 1970 Porsche 908/3.

NO SALE  $1.3M bid wasn’t enough to buy the 1970 Porsche 908/3.

Rare 1938 H.R.G Airline Coupe Prototype sold for $253,000

Rare 1938 H.R.G Airline Coupe Prototype sold for $253,000

Go to the Ritz and have lunch by the pool and drinks on the veranda. It costs less than you think. Purchase one $75-80 general admission for two, including catalogues to RM and Gooding auctions, but do not raise your hand unless you want to part with your money. Watch the people, especially Max Girardo, RM’s auctioneer—he’s worth the price of admission. I was taken with an adorable little girl and her parents. Minutes later, little Lockland raised her hand to become the days youngest RM bidder and buyer, taking home the 1941 BMW 327 Sport Cabriolet for a mere $247,500. Now that’s a car girl!  

Now for my adventures…

Keep in mind; my mission was to make this weekend click, so I was game to try some new experiences. I had purchased a rather pricey Rolls- Royce Wine Maker’s dinner ticket, month’s prior. Ironically, the RR dinner turned into a dinner honoring the Guardians of Porsche. To know me is to know my dream car is a Porsche. So there I was, about to sit at a table with total strangers, yet beaming because I was in a room filled with Porsche People, all celebrating the 50th birthday of the 911.

I introduced myself and found everyone to be genuinely friendly at our table. On my right, two couples had just completed the four-day tour around Florida as Amelia Island Concours entrants. On my left was an empty seat to this sold out dinner, then an extremely gracious and engaging couple. I was my usual chatty self, asking about their tie into the motorsports world. James, the husband, said he had a race team that raced a hybrid. Something about the fastest Ferrari and Pininfarina and the Nurburgring, a bit much to digest instantly and I couldn’t quite wrap my arms around a hybrid racing. I chatted with all the guests for a few minutes, then like a lightning bolt, it hit me. A race team, that’s very special. I was still hung up on the hybrid concept, since all I could picture was a Toyota Prius. James offered to write down the name of the car so I could look it up later. During dinner his wife Meg and I shared great conversations. Every course seemed to come with dessert—a picture of one of James cars passed to me on his iPhone.

I spied Vic Elford and his lovely wife Anita and went over to say “Hi.” During the PowerPoint presentation, pictures of Porsche legends, all in attendance that evening, were flashed on the screen. Also on the screen was a striking individual I had never heard of before, Magnus Walker from L.A. After dinner, and the four wine-pairings, I mustered up the nerve to walk over and introduce myself to Patrick Long. There was no doubt, Amelia was going to click this year, and it was only Thursday!

1967 GT 40 MkIV, The Automotive Heritage Award Winner

1967 GT 40 MkIV, The Automotive Heritage Award Winner

When I got back to the MMR condo that evening, Peter and I shared what we had done for dinner. I dug up the paper with the name of the owner and car I needed to research. Peter stared at me in disbelief and calmly said, “You had dinner with whom? Do you know who he is?” Thank goodness for Google. One site noted James Glickenhaus as the most interesting car guy in the world! Also, courtesy of Google, I know exactly what the P 4/5 Competizione is and the history behind the 1967 GT40 Mk IV entered in Sunday’s Concours and its tie to Bruce McLaren. And it was still only Thursday, at Amelia!

Friday morning at 7am, in the dark, I was at the Fernandina Beach Airport with 99 other cars ready for the all day Porsche Driving Experience and Road Tour to begin. Due to a snag in logistics, I was without a navigator. Not a good thing to happen for a road tour. An announcement was made and another navigator-less participant surfaced, Chris Nast, whose cute business card read, “Auto Sommeliers.” For the next 7 hours, we had a blast.

First stop, the St. John River Ferry to transport us over the river. On land again, we headed off to the Mayport Naval Station where the Porsche Sports Driving School instructors and new Porsche 911s and Boxsters would test our autocross skills. I was first in line. It all went too quickly. I got back in line for seconds. I hopped in again, buckled up and looked over to the instructor in the passenger’s seat. It was Geoffrey Lowdermilk, my instructor from the Porsche School in Leeds, Alabama. “Show me what I taught you,” was all he had to say and we were off!

Magnus Walker and Karen Caid rode with both drivers for hot laps!

Magnus Walker and Karen Caid rode with both drivers for hot laps!

Chris and Sandy ready for their hot laps!

Chris and Sandy ready for their hot laps!

Back in our car, Chris and I headed to another section of the naval base for hot laps with a racecar driver. We had our pick of two, Hurley Haywood or Patrick Long! Can you feel my excitement? I’ve done hot laps before. The biggest challenge is climbing into the car. We put on helmets and waited in line. We had a plan; Chris would pick Hurley and I, Patrick. Who should be in front of us, Magnus Walker. He was so gracious letting me take his picture and even handing me his business card. Another thank you to Goggle… urbanoutlaw.tv tells his amazing story.

A spin with Patrick Long!

A spin with Patrick Long!

When we reached our respective cars a little voice inside my head said, “Get into the car gracefully,” and I did. Patrick remembered me, I think, or at least I wanted to believe, and we were off. I asked if he handled these corners like he would at LeMans. “Not as fast”, he replied. My response, “See you at LeMans.”

A conversation starter, the XK140

Another conversation starter, the XK140

Saturday morning was a huge success for the first annual duPont Registry Cars and Coffee sponsored by Hancock Insurance at Amelia. Again, the camaraderie was unbelievable. Standing in front of an XK120 I overhead two men talking about Buddy Polumbo. I couldn’t help but chime in.

Another tip about enjoying Amelia is to reach out and meet new people. Fascinating enthusiasts are everywhere and eager to chat. Peter graciously brought me along to share the company of Denise McCluggage, known to all as the First Lady of sports car racing. Not only are her stories amazing, her sense of humor shines through. Her take on growing old gracefully was priceless. “I’m going for preservation class, not a full restoration”, she joked.

The Chairman’s Choice Award and Most Historically Significant Race Car Driven by Sam Posey, the 1971 Ferrari 512 M

The Chairman’s Choice Award and Most Historically Significant Race Car Driven by Sam Posey,
the 1971 Ferrari 512 M

Everyone who attends a Concours picks his or her own favorites. For me, it’s often the marque or a special owner. Others seek out the unique or nostalgic favorites. My marque is Jaguar so my antennae are always searching for Jags. On Sunday, I spied a beautiful SS100 being awarded the Most Historically Significant Jaguar. A stunning XK120 OTS received the Most Outstanding Jaguar. At the Jaguar pavilion I spotted racecar legend Davey Jones talking up the latest Jaguar models and sharing stories from his racing days.

Prinz Heinrich Benz Racing Touring Cars, the 1908, No.46 and 1911, No. 38

Prinz Heinrich Benz Racing Touring Cars, the 1908, No.46 and 1911, No. 38

You may remember my adventures at Retromobile, where I was taken with one of the Prinz Heinrich racecars, the green number 38. Here it was on display at Amelia, next to its mate, the number 46 white Benz, both newly restored and together for the very first time in public in the United States. Also seen in Paris at the Artcurial auction, was a Messerschmitt. Another and supposedly only one in the United States popped up at Amelia. My comment, “Oh no, not another Messerschmitt!”

American Classic (Pre 1930) awardee, the 1929 Rolls-Royce Springfield Phantom I Roadster by Murphy

American Classic (Pre 1930) awardee, the 1929 Rolls-Royce Springfield Phantom I Roadster
by Murphy

Hugh Ruthven II was showing his Formula Junior car, a 1959 Bandini, and quite the crowd pleaser. Also on the field was Bob Matteucci, again with an award winning Rolls-Royce, his beautiful yellow 1929 Springfield Phantom I Roadster by Murphy. The Duesenbergs came in a variety of colors. The silver 1936 SJN took top honors, yet Steve Wolf’s red, 1932 Duesenberg really must have been the Duesy of its day.

The covers didn’t even have to come off the cars on the field, for me to get excited over the GT40s! During the Ford GT40 seminar on Saturday morning, I learned how the victory champagne tradition came to be. Started by Dan Gurney spontaneously, after his 1967 win at Le Mans, Sam Posey and Bill Warner kept that tradition alive for Amelia, toasting this year’s Concours winners.

Amelia more than clicked for me this year. I was touched, moved, and inspired. I want to learn more about the cars. I want to keep following my dreams, like the racecar drivers. But most of all, I want to continue to embrace this wonderful world of motorsports because it’s all about the people, and they are precious.