I am a fan of huge shows —the kind that leave you sure that you haven’t seen everything no matter how much time you spend. I have been to many of them—the War and Peace Show and the Farnborough Air Show in England, the Tri State Gas Engine and Tractor show in Portland, Indiana, COMDEX, the AACA annual antique car show in Hershey, Pennsylvania, the Iowa State Fair, the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, and so on.
But strangely enough, for years I have been neglecting one in my own back yard – the annual historic car races/show in Monterey California. Many people I know are regular attendees and participants, but they tend to possess rare and valuable show cars, and lots of money, so I figure it would be a playground for extreme show car snobs.
But I was wrong. It does have a few of them, but the very large attendance is mostly people like me (car fans, but drivers of several year old usually dirty Toyotas and such things). I do like cars. I grew up and lived in Southern California and during the 1950’s and 60’s I was a fan of all sorts of automotive competitions, from oval track racing, to road racing, to destruction derbies, to drag racing. I have also put my time into “sports” cars. I have owned 1956 Austin Healey, a 1960 Triumph TR3, a 1959 Porsche 356a, a 1975 Alfa Romeo Spider, and a 1970 E-type Jaguar. I bought them all used and needing a bit of work, and they were all fun. I still own the Alfa and the E-type (definitely not ready for Monterey), and put in my allotted time nursing them. In fact both of them need work right now, so I will probably renew my intimate acquaintance with them in a week or two. I must admit that I like to work on ailing cars, and cars like these give one the opportunity.
If you like cars, and people who like cars, and can visit this event, it is well worth it, although you should be prepared to bite your lip when you pay the admission price (you need the "pit" pass). I was motivated to attend the show by a friend/ex office partner/ex student, named Matt Ohline, who is a serious car buff, and always drives responsive machinery. He has a wife, two kids, and a good job as an engineer, but no fortune that would enable him to own the cars he drools over. He contacted me and invited me to be his guest at the show and was clearly the best of all guides, since he attends each year. I drooled with him. Suffice it to say I will be there next year, because, guess what, when we left at the end of the day I felt that I had not seen everything.
The photos in this post are of swell cars that were at the show. The first one is Matt's choice for the most beautiful car in the world. The final one is a huge racing machine outfitted with a Hall Scott engine (also huge). I was particularly interested, since I own one of the engines, which saw its original service in a fire truck. I could build a ………………….. No Jim, don’t go there—just go to car shows with Matt.