It was predicted to be a hot day in the Valley, so we were off to an early start to Concorso Italiano 2004 weekend. We left Rio Vista at 8:30 AM. with the engine tub loaded with the essentials: two sack chairs, small ice chest with drinks and snack bars, two soft sided duffle bags for clothing, tools, extra oil and spark plugs, and my crochet project bag. We encountered traffic in Antioch, but avoided part of it since we had to
detour and make a brief stop for work. Once back on Highway 4 it was smooth going all the way to Castroville. It was there that CalTrans had decided to close all but one lane down, in bound to Monterey! We made it to down town Carmel a half hour later than planned. We ended up parking at Sixth & Guadalupe. As we were getting out of the car, we were immediately approached by one of the property owners. We were expecting to be told to move, but the guy was enthralled by the car! He offered to let us park in his yard! We chatted with him for a while, then hiked down the hill to Ocean Ave. The Pebble Beach cars had already begun to arrive after their tour of the Monterey Bay area and the viewing crowds were heavy. We made our way to The Grill on Ocean Ave for lunch. We were able to get window seating, again this year. The meal was very good. This year, as last year, we met visitors interested in Italian cars sitting at the next table. With our lunch completed, we set out to view the 100+ cars that were on the Pebble Beach Road Tour. While we walked the Avenue, we ran into CP member John Worsley. We also had two celebrity sightings, Bruce Meyers and Peter Mullin. They are both frequently seen on Speed TV as some big time car collectors. Somehow we missed Phil Hill in a Rolls Royce. After viewing the autos, we hiked back up the steep hill to Sixth & Guadalupe. Again we were greeted by the property owner. He said he kept an eye on the car and again told us how much he liked it!
Free show over, we headed out to Carmel Valley and the Los Laureles Lodge. We were staying with the PCNC group. We thank them for making space available for other POCA members. We arrived just after CP members Finny & Rick Moseley. Leslie & Carl Stein had to cancel due to the death of Leslie's father the day before. We relaxed the remainder of the afternoon. Dinner that evening was at Will's Fargo in Carmel Valley. We were early enough to discover that they have an "Early Bird Special" of Prime rib on Thursday night! That was a pleasant surprise price wise, especially after filling up at $2.44 per gallon. (We did get 16 mpg on the trip over.) The evening ended up at the hospitality room, but not too late, since it would be another early morning on Friday.
A group of 13 Panteras (including one Goose) left the Lodge at 7 AM for the drive to Concorso Italiano at Black Horse Golf course. Roger Sharp lead the way. It was an impressive site! Roger did not follow the directions given in the packet, but his way was smooth sailing! Those who followed the official directions, were greeted with long lines and longer waits! DeTomaso had great parking. We were close to food, bathrooms, the stage area and the exit. There were a total of 61 deTomaso automobiles present. There were Panteras, Mangustas, and Longchamps. It was a cool day by the Monterey Bay. The sun didn't peek out until after noon! It was a great day of cars, people and shopping. (I was able to add a bracelet to my deTomaso jewelry.) There were at least three cars of CP members at Concorso: Jeff Budelli, Gregg Mowers, & Jim Seiferling. We attempted to meet Greg but never managed to catch him at his car. Jim came prepared to get an autograph from Pantera designer Tom Tjaarda. Jim was able to get his owner's manual signed as well as the door jam of the car .Jim's silver Sharpie pen was passed around to have several cars signed! Jim was also able to speak with the first owner of #1575, Steve Wilkinson. The car was red when Steve had it. In the small world section, Steve's wife is a dental hygienist. It was a good car day by the Monterey Bay.
How cool. Getting your owners manual and CAR signed by Tom Tjaarda!
The original owners of our car, Steve and Sandy Wilkinson.
Dinner on Friday was back at the Lodge. PCNC put on banquet with a Mardi Gra theme. The patio area was decorated with masks and beads in green, gold and purple. The patio area was ringed with over 20 deTomaso automobiles of many different colors. It was cool, but no wind or fog, so it was pleasant to be dining outside.
Saturday was another early day. We were off to Laguna Seca and the Vintage Races. We had done the PI race package: race tickets, lunch & corral parking. This is by far the best way to go! Great location parking, very good lunch (catered by Tarpy's Road House), and race tickets. While the weather was again cool, it was not too bad, if you had worn long pants! Those who dressed for the sunny afternoon had to tuff it out until after 1 PM for the sun to come out.
It was another day of cars, people watching and shopping. Today it was Jim's turn for shopping (he got three shirts). We saw several celebrities at the track; Bob Bondarant, Derek Bell and Barry Maguire. The high light of the day was Formula 1. There were several recent cars in the pit area and on the track. Ferrari had Michael Schumacher's 2003 year car there with a factory test driver to try and set a track record. We saw, heard and FELT the practice laps that he did. There was only the single car on the track, so we can only imagine the entire track being filled with these cars! We need someone to put together an affordable travel package for the US Grand Prix! We started our trek out of Laguna Seca after the vintage F1 race, which was run next to last. The entire exit went pretty smooth. We were almost the last Pantera to leave the corral. The best part was the trip over Los Laureles Grade. We had open road in front of us for 90% of the trip!
Back at the hospitality room, Jim spoke with Lloyd Butfloy about our ZF. It has had an intermittent shifting problem for a while. Lloyd suggested he check it out. So out we go to the car, and off comes the ZF linkage selector cover. Tools came out of nowhere, as did the crowd. ZF-Dr. Lloyd was able to diagnose the problem. The patient is sick, but is curable. So Jim's next job is to pull the ZF and get it to Lloyd's ZF Hospital. Thank you Lloyd for your advise and help. The day ended with dinner at Plaza Linda in Carmel Valley. Another evening of food and friends. The group included Finny & Rick, Mike Drew, Laurie Bastille, Lloyd and his friend Chris.
Sunday we got to sleep in until 8 AM. We had one stop to make on our way home. Junior Wilson had invited the Pantera group to visit his newly expanded garage in Salinas. The three story building blends perfectly with his home. It is a real sleeper! One would never guess as you drive up to the place what is inside!. The following is a description by Mike Drew that he posted on the deTomaso forum. Mike's description is much more detailed than I could remember. Thanks Mike.
Local Pantera owner and confirmed lunatic
Junior Wilson had invited everyone over to his house to check out his new
garage, which is a masterpiece of engineering. He lives a scant few miles from
the track, and when I got to his house, built on the side of a steep hill, Dave
and Linda Adlerís De Tomaso Longchamp was parked in the driveway. Junior
entertained us for awhile before the Adlers hit the road, and then took me on a
tour of his shop.
It started out as a reasonable-sounding structure but quickly spun out of
control, much like everything Junior lays his hands on. The large single-story
workshop boasted a ceiling support structure made of 12-inch I-beams; soon
thick metal plates were bolted to the top, forming a second story! He then
designed and built a car elevator and an electro-hydraulic staircase, enabling cars
to be lifted to the second floor.
Among the cars present were a shoebox Chevy street rod, a big-block Camaro
restoration project, and the very first Ď65 Shelby GT-350 offered with a factory
Paxton Supercharger, 5S202. And taking shape in the center of the second
floor was a very Junior-esque creation--a Ď62 Ferrari 250 GTE, powered by a
stroker Ford Windsor! Apparently Junior had picked up the car for a mere $5000,
less engine and gearbox, initially with the intent of parting it out for the
suspension and brakes for another project heís working on. But the rest of the
car was so nice, and complete, that he decided to make it a runner. As a
rebuildable core Ferrari 250 block will run you $40,000, he decided to bust out his
welder and power the car with a Ford instead! The motor was in place, a
Tremec 5-speed was awaiting installation, and heíd just finished making custom
headers for it. That should be quite a shocker once itís running!
At the back of the garage were two massive sets of glass and stainless steel
doors that Junior had just made, leading to a two-story apartment/clubhouse,
complete with a hand-made stainless steel spiral staircase! Simply amazing....
The rest of our trip home went well. We stopped for lunch in Fremont at Denny's. This is of little note except for the fact that it was Jimís first chance for a Senior Deal meal since his birthday last month. What a deal those seniors have been getting! The last thing to happen on the trip was to have Steve & Mary Dalcino, PCNC members, catch up to us after we were back on the road after lunch. We had a mini convoy on 680 until they turned off in Pleasanton.
It was a busy weekend and I ended it with a long nap while Jim watched the Hungarian Grand Prix tape.
So like the Alan Alda movie, ďSame Time Next Year".