To back up, a couple of weeks ago, Michele suggested we go down to the Monterey Peninsula to see a small car show – small as in only 45 cars, not small as in tiny cars; that would be The Little Car Show +, an entirely different show – The Mission Classic, in the middle of the week. Not just any week, The Monterey Car Extravaganza Week, the annual get together of cars and car people which has become the biggest car week in the automotive universe. The Week is intense and getting more so every year. There are art shows, tours, nine different car shows, nineteen different car auctions, four days of vintage car racing, and an entire week of lustful car watching much of it while sitting in a traffic jam with other car nuts. It is the only time I don’t mind being stuck in traffic because there is sure to be a couple of interesting cars stuck nearby.
Michele’s suggestion was prompted by her reading that a Pagani Huayra would be at the Mission Classic and, knowing that the Pagani Huayra has become my Holy Grail, she proposed we spend a couple of days on the Monterey Peninsula, looking for it. I have not spent a night during The Week, in years. I used to during the seventies and eighties, but now I will run down for one day, usually with Malcolm and usually at the races . Michele has gone down a couple of times for the races but she has never spent the night, so it was a shock to both of us just how immersed one gets just driving around.
The bigger shock, although not entirely unexpected, was just how much money is involved. When I asked Michele what her first impression was, she said How many rich people there are in one place. Sure, car people come in all wealth brackets – a kid driving a $8,000 1964 Corvair lives in a different world than the old man driving a $1, 500,000 Ferrari LaFerrari, but the Ferrari people – and even more so, the Lamborghini people – take up more psychic space. We drive around, seeing cars worth hundreds of thousands of dollars, just casually parked, with the people walking by on car overload, not even noticing. To increase their exposure Ferrari has even taken over a historic gas station/gift shop at Carmel Highlands, to make it a Ferrari dealership/gift shop/owner oasis. retreat. Inside Ferrari Owners could relax with great wines and food – including the best prosciutto I have ever had and an excellent cappuccino – safely gated off from the hoi polli.Outside the Owner Oasis, people – prequalified and almost all men type people – were lined up to take a test drive in one of several Ferrari models. It was hard not to think of the one percent and not in an entirely positive way. Them that’s got shall get, the great Billie Holiday sang, So the Bible said and it still is news. I get the feeling that it was not news here. Here, at the ad hoc Ferrari place, everybody gets the free lunch.
To be contin