The laid-back and spectator-friendly Concours on the Avenue in Carmel, California, was a breakthrough event this year for many of the Monterey Car Week regulars, their first time out at a full-scale car show since March 2020.
The mood was decidedly upbeat. After last year’s shutdown of the entire Monterey extravaganza because of the pandemic, including the Pebble Beach Concours, the overall feeling at Carmel was pretty much back to normal and a tremendous relief.
Heavy on Porsches as always, ranging from a striking 1952 Porsche 356 coupe from the very early days to a gaggle of raucous 911 racers, the array of collector cars was broad and egalitarian, an enjoyable mix of pricey exotics along with nicely kept and restored examples of more-common sports and passenger cars.
The Best of Show winner for the Carmel concours was something quite special, a one-of-a-kind 1950 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 Supergioiello (super jewel in Italian), a splendid Ghia-bodied coupe in sparkling gold and loads of chrome accents. While Carrozzeria Ghia built four Supergioiellos, this one is the final example and has features that make it unique.
Still, there were so many wonderful and unusual cars in Carmel, filling Ocean Avenue and spilling onto adjoining streets, that the squad of judges must have had a tough time sorting them out.
Take, for instance, the 1939 Delahaye 135 roadster, unmistakable in the fabulously luscious style of Figoni et Falaschi, with those bulbously enclosed 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 the owner, Tom Kazamek, of Manhattan Beach. “So he would sketch these really swoopy-looking cars, and Joseph Figoni decided that he liked those designs and he build some cars like that.”
Although the Delahaye had all the earmarks of a trailer queen, Kazamek cheerfully noted that he had driven it all the way up the coast, finally reaching Carmel. What a sight that must have been on the highway.
“I drove it up from Manhattan Beach,” he said. “We left Saturday morning and did a little 4-day food and wine extravaganza on the way up here.’
“She was perfect the entire way. Drives like a dream. Drives like a luxury car, smooth and soft. Just a wonderful car.”
Nomita Singh paused from polishing the grille of a beautifully restored 1954 Jaguar XK 140 coupe belonging to a friend, Geoffrey Horton, to show a fairly shocking photo of what the car looked like when it was discovered in disastrous condition in Volcano, California, in 1982.
“It was a barn find,” Singh said. “It had been eaten by rats.”
The Carmel concours, generally considered to be the first major showcase event of Monterey Car Week, retains its flavor of a local car show, albeit an extremely good one. Something for everyone, as they say, and the huge turnout proved its enduring popularity.