The Carmel competition is back, with great old cars and an impressive turnout
The relaxed and friendly contest on the avenue in Carmel, Calif., Was a groundbreaking event this year for many regulars at Monterey Car Week, their first appearance at a large-scale auto show since March 2020.
The mood was decidedly optimistic. After all of Monterey’s extravagance due to the pandemic ended last year, including the Pebble Beach Concours, general sentiment in Carmel was pretty much back to normal and a huge relief.
Heavy on Porsches as always, ranging from a striking 1952 Porsche 356 coupe from the very early days to a bunch of noisy 911 racers, the range of vintage cars was wide and egalitarian, a nice mix of expensive exotics with examples. well maintained and restored most common sports and touring cars.
The Best of Show winner for the Carmel competition was something quite special, a one-of-a-kind 1950 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Supergioiello (great jewel in Italian), a splendid Ghia coupe in sparkling gold and plenty of accents chrome. While Carrozzeria Ghia has built four Supergioiellos, this one is the latest example and has features that make it unique.
Still, there were so many wonderful and unusual cars in Carmel, filling Ocean Avenue and spilling into the adjacent streets, that the team of judges must have struggled to sort them out.
Take, for example, the 1939 Delahaye 135 roadster, unmistakably in the fabulously luscious style of Figoni and Falaschi, with its bulging front fenders and emphatic streamlining.
“It was bodied in the style of Georges Hamel, who was an artist who did posters for things like the Monaco Grand Prix, ”said owner Tom Kazamek of Manhattan Beach. “So he would sketch these really swoopy looking cars, and Joseph Figoni decided he liked those designs and he built cars like that.”
Although the Delahaye has all the hallmarks of a trailer queen, Kazamek happily noted that he had driven her all the way up the coast, eventually reaching Carmel. What a sight it must have been on the highway.
“I drove it from Manhattan Beach,” he said. “We left on Saturday morning and did a little 4-day food and wine extravaganza on our way up here.”
“She was perfect all the way. Driven like a dream. Drives like a luxury car, smooth and smooth. Just a wonderful car.
Nomita Singh stopped polishing the grille of a beautifully restored 1954 Jaguar XK 140 coupe owned by friend Geoffrey Horton to show off a rather shocking photo of what the car looked like when it was discovered in a disastrous state in Volcano, California, in 1982.
“It was a barn find,” Singh said. “He had been eaten by rats.
The Carmel Contest, widely regarded as Monterey Car Week’s first major showcase event, retains its flavor of a local auto show, albeit extremely good. Something for everyone, as they say, and the huge turnout has proven its enduring popularity.