Seven Favorite Cars from the 2016 Concours on the Avenue
Sure, the Concours on the Avenue isn’t just another Saturday morning Cars and Coffee at a nearby parking lot. In fact, it’s an actual judged concours, with awards given to the best cars in each class and an overall favorite (this year that car was a yellow ‘60s Ferrari 275 GTB/4), along with a plethora of themed awards. However, what makes this concours different than those occurring later during Monterey Car Week is the location. Hundreds of cars are arranged along the quaint, tree-lined streets of Carmel-by-the-Sea, a sleepy village nestled between Carmel Valley and the Pacific Ocean. Despite the upscale locale, the show avoids the stuffy nature that can go hand-in-hand with the lush green fairways most shows are held on. Want to take a break from cars? There are boutique shops, cafes, and art galleries galore, all just steps away from the classics on display.
Because of the casual setting, the Concours on the Avenue feels much like your local Cars and Coffee, except that many of the cars on display are far more rare than your average Cars and Coffee participant. That’s not to say there weren’t more modest cars on display – classes this year were set up to allow Porsche 928s and some fairly “garden variety” 911s, which were displayed on the same block as multi-million-dollar Ferraris, Shelby Cobras, and even a genuine Porsche 550 Spyder. Acura was the major sponsor this year and showed off its entire model range as well as the new NSX GT3 while offering complimentary coffee and biscotti to spectators of this entirely free–to-attend event. The Concours on the Avenue is one of the great bargains of the week and not to be missed if you’re in the Monterey area early. Below, a few of our favorite cars from this year’s show:
1957 Lancia Aurelia B20 GT “Outlaw”
Inspired by the modified Lancia that won its class at the 1951 24 Hours of Le Mans, this custom Aurelia’s roof was chopped and its fenders widened – an Italian hot rod, if you will. The original engine was replaced with a 2.8-liter V-6 from a later Lancia Flaminia, giving this black coupe about 170 hp. An eye-catcher among eye-catchers.
1964 Shelby Cobra 289
Great cars are made even better with great stories, and this Shelby Cobra has one. Raced from new by a Texan in SCCA events, the car was eventually painted blue and sold to its second owner in Pennsylvania. When that owner was unable to resell the car, he painted it white with copper accents and tossed the Ford 289 for a Chevy 427 L88 engine. Later, in the 1990s, the car was given a complete restoration, returning a proper Ford 289 to the engine bay and returning the car to its original red color.
1970 Nissan Fairlady Z 432
There are Z cars and there are Z cars. This is one of 420 factory hot-rod Zs built with the twin-cam, three-carb, 2.0-liter straight-six from the first generation Nissan Skyline GT-R. With 160 horsepower on tap, it’s safe to say that this is a little quicker than your standard Datsun 240 Z. If you want one for yourself, you’ll have to get used to shifting with your left hand – all Z 432s were built in right-hand drive.
1975 Renault-Alpine A110
With its low-slung bodywork and rear-mounted engine, the Alpine A110 was essentially France’s version of the Porsche 911, though it looks like a four-fifths scale car placed side-by-side with the Porsche. A110s enjoyed tremendous success in rally racing, becoming the first car to win the newly-commissioned WRC championship. This is an ex-works rally car that was rebuilt by Spanish Alpine expert Enrique Depaz who then sold it to famous Spanish rally driver Juan Carlos Pradera. It then placed third in the 1975 Rally of Poland and won the 1979 Rally de Loyola.
1972 Porsche 914-6 GT
Historically, Porsche 914s have gotten little respect. Standard versions carried a Volkswagen flat-four amidships and were actually badged as a VW-Porsche in the European market. The rare 914-6 models were more expensive but ditched the VW mills for air-cooled flat-six engines from the base 911T. The 914-6 GT is rarer still, a factory GT racecar with its huge factory fender flares and history from the legendary (and recently sold) Brumos Porsche of Jacksonville, FL.
1975 Citroen DS21
Citroen DS models were unconventional looking but highly sophisticated for their time. This late third-series DS21 was front-wheel drive, had hydropnuematic suspension, a semi-automatic transmission with a gear lever but no clutch pedal, and headlights that turned around corners – a feature that was also on the Tucker 48 before being picked up again by automakers in recent times.
1981 BMW M1
When the chief of BMW Motorsport wants to build a road car for homologation purposes, this is what happens. Originally, Lamborghini was help with development and production of the M1, but tough financial times in Sant’Agata Bolognese meant BMW had to go it alone. With a mid-mounted 3.5-liter straight-six good for roughly 270 horsepower, the M1 is no slouch. It’s also quite comfortable and livable for a mid-engine supercar born in the ‘70s.
We’ll be updating our coverage of the 2016 Pebble Beach Concours and 2016 Monterey Motorsports Reunion as it happens, so come back all week and be sure to catch the Pebble Beach Concours Livestream on Sunday, August 21 at 2:00 PM Pacific!