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It’s only 24 days until the start of the whole Pebble Beach motorgeddon, complete with five auctions, four concours d’elegances and not so elegances (the concours d’Lemons), two art shows, one film festival, one retro Ferrari race and a motorsports reunion with 550 invited classic racers. In the meantime, there is some other really good car stuff happening.

But before we move to France and the Chateau Chantilly, where head waiter Frank Vatel knocked himself off when he feared the fish for Louis XIV would be served late, let’s talk a little about old Ferraris retracing some of the Pebble Beach Road Race course.

Between 1950 and 1956, the Pebble Beach Concours was only a sideshow for the road races. Pebble Beach was a private enclave for the rich and famous and the races were perfect for persons with money.

Because they were held on the private estate of developer Sam Morse, no fun police were involved and only one person died, although that crash in 1956 by hot rodder Ernie McAfee in his Ferrari did mark the end of the 3.5km tarmac and gravel competition.

The events were the beginning of sports car racing in the US. Phil Hill dominated the seven years of racing through the cypress trees, first in a Jaguar XK120 and then in Ferraris. Carroll Shelby won the last of the series in a Ferrari 750 Monza.

But the cars that dominated, at least in numerical terms, were MGs. Unfortunately, while it was only $15 to enter a car in the Pebble Beach races in the 1950s, these days a good ticket to visit the official events will cost nearly a grand. So it’s unlikely that too many wealthy persons will fork out that sort of money to see a collection of British midgets.

Hence many of the Ferraris and none of the MGs that raced in the forest will return to the start line on August 16 to run around part of the old course.

Star of the show will be Jim Kimberly’s 1949 Ferrari 166 Mille Miglia, the first Ferrari to race in California and the first to race at Pebble Beach.

Gentlemen Jim’s money came from Kleenex Tissues and he redistributed his wealth well. His race team wore tailor-made red race suits, his waiters — who served cool drinks — wore red jackets and the race trucks were painted in the same red.

Jim raced eight Ferraris throughout the 50s: the 166, then a 195S Berlinetta, two 340 Americas, a 375MM Spider, a 121LM, and a 625 LM Spider. In 2013 RM sold Jim’s 375MM for about $12 million.

He didn’t have a great deal of luck in his first race through the forest. On lap three he flipped the Italian over a hay bale, landing upside down. He was walking away from the crash when his weekend date, Ginger Rogers, ran up and kissed him. He and Ginger spent the night at the Pebble Beach dance.

Moving to Chantilly, no doubt named after the Big Bopper’s song Chantilly Lace(“Oh baby you know what I like”), the black-tie evening sale on September 5 (four days before my birthday, in case you are interested) will have only 30 special cars on offer, with nothing under $750,000.

We can safely assume Vatel won’t be the maitre d’hotel for the night.

The car to look out for is 1972 Maserati Boomerang pictured above. This car last sold in 2002 for nearly $900,000, so look for a few million this time.


Read the rest at the Australian



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