Friday, August 21, 2009


Friday is the big day for the Pebble Beach Concours' great rival, the Quail Lodge Motorsports Gathering, an extravaganza of excess arguably even more exclusive than the event which spawned it. Tickets are limited to 3000 admittees on the day, and had sold out months prior - but could be purchased on Craigslist, for $1200 on the day! Ouch. Once inside, the Quail provides everything you might need, and it's all-inclusive with the $300 fee - champagne, caviar, oysters, catered food from the excellent Quail Lodge restaurants.

Not such a bad deal if you're a big drinker of bubbles and eater of fine food, and the atmosphere is exceptional, the venue being situated in the center of Carmel Valley, where the weather is just that bit better than on the coastline proper. Needless to say, I didn't have a ticket, but that didn't stop several of my (nameless, but blog-featured) pals from attending! If you can get past the heavy security, it's a party crasher's paradise.

Bonham's also holds its big auction of cars and memorabilia on Friday at the Quail, and I watched a metallic 'rose' Gullwing Mercedes sell for just over $500,000 - clearly some people are spending money like it's 2007. Plenty of other fine vehicles changed hands, although the featured 1939 Auto Union D-type V-12 racer (in an earlier v-16 chassis) didn't meet it's reserve, nor did the big-bucks Bugatti Type 57S which had heavy press hype. All in, a 57% sale rate; a sign of the times? Or, as was rumored, did the Russian provenance of the Auto Union, and it's association with six replicas built at Crosswaite & Gardner in England, dampen the mood... an interesting question, and I overheard quite a few conversations about 'claims of authenticity', and while no one seemed to take these seriously, the general feeling was that Someone had cast aspersions on the Auto Union, which would prove very difficult to unstick from the car's reputation. I find it fascinating - hot on the heels of a rise to Olympian values of certain cars and motorcycles, was born legal wrangling, court decisions, and lawyering-up of all parties in this high-stakes game of vehicle poker. I know more about libel, copyright, intellectual property, and defamation law than I really ought, simply via discussion around old vehicles.

Speaking of megabucks, I also managed a good look inside the Gooding's auction tent, which sat 200 yards away from MidAmerica's site at Pebble Beach. Goodings is perhaps the most successful auction venue during Motor Week ($50m in sales, 79% sale rate), and seems to sell the most high-dollar cars, and certainly has the swankiest display.

Their showroom tent is enormous, decorated with black chandeliers and cars on plinths, with soft music playing (Sufjan Stevens no less, and other tasteful contemporary fare - no elevator or new age stuff), and very discreet staff in attendance. Entry to view the cars was free, with the purchase of an auction catalog, for $150! That's one way to keep the riffraff at bay - luckily I had a press pass, so this raff managed a riff through the tent. Gorgeous.

On Saturday the Monterey Historic races circulate noisily at Laguna Seca Raceway, much to the chagrin of the neighbors who are constantly trying to shut them down. As I was contracted to sell motorcycles, I remained Pebble-bound, but there was plenty of action at the MidAmerica tent. Jay Leno returned to film a 'road test' segment for his website (which is online now, see it here!), on the new Brough Superior 'Pendine'... which meant, yes, as long as the bike was gassed, oiled, and warmed up, that I got my Own test ride on the new machine. Stay tuned!

I also managed to snag an extended road test of something Completely Different, a Confederate Hellcat, riding with Francois-Xavier Theirry (a major investor and Board member of Confederate) along 17-Mile Drive. More on that shortly, as well.

Our evening entertainment was dinner at Club XIX (I believe that's '19'...) with the Brough Superior and Confederate gang... Jared Zaugg of the Legend of the Motorcycle rode in on 'my' Hellcat, but with a chic velvet blazer and tie for dinner. A woman nearby shouted 'James Bond!' when he arrived, which says a lot for Jared, the Hellcat, and the evening.


Anonymous said...

from what i understand from j boys other shows he aint too swift , from what i have seen of him in tv motor show,s he can quote the listed facts , but he dont seem to have a true love , in fact did,nt, he buy one of those unride able bikes with the helicopter engines, what a prick oops hollywood prick , to pay that much when you could have had a ex works gilera mv augusta and a norton for the price he payed for one unridable bike in my book he aint to swift , of course its star power lol dave

vintagent said...

Actually, Jay's pretty damn smart; I've known him for 18 years. And, he can ride well. He's not really a 'Works Gilera' guy, but he does like Broughs, and rides them. He rides the jet bike too - and tells a really funny story about a Toyota which pulled up a little too close behind at a stoplight while he was jetting....Jay pulled away very quickly after watching the plastic bumper start to melt...

Anonymous said...

i just looked at the "hellcat"what a fooking cart horse its a joke right? i think the
' should be shot , and the owners banned for bad taste , what a slapper

jesus said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


Anonymous said...

Tisk, tisk...not a Hellcat but a Wraith - much different. Confederate has 3 models, all illustrated on their website. Incredible machines. Love them or hate them, they are incredible and, as all are hand made, quite unique.


Anonymous said...

more like whimsical to quote a more recent artical it just dont look right big slabs of stuff for no reason , silk purse ect ect dave

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