Inside The Hautest Happenings At Monterey Car Week

Whether you call it Monterey Automotive Week or Pebble Beach Car Week, there’s no doubt that the several days of festivities that led up to the 65th annual Concours d’Elegance on Aug. 16 were among the hautest in the world for car enthusiasts, who flocked from around the globe to buy and ogle autos and simply enjoy the merriment in a picturesque setting. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect these past few days as luxury car manufacturers such as Bentley, Rolls-Royce and Aston Martin used the opportunity to unveil their latest offerings in swank villas with spectacular views and give a sneak peek to what’s ahead. Haute Living was on the scene throughout the week—as was our July/August cover boy Jay Leno—and takes you inside some of the hautest happenings.

Gooding & Company and Dom Pérignon Reception

Seth Semilof, David Gooding and Richard Geoffroy
Seth Semilof, David Gooding and Richard Geoffroy

Gooding & Company and Dom Pérignon paired up for an intimate, one-off reception to toast A Journey Back Through the Decades: From 1998-1966. Hosted by Richard Geoffroy, Chef de Cave for Dom Pérignon, and David Gooding, Gooding & Co. President and Founder, on Aug. 13, this exclusive event paired four Dom Perignon P2 and P3 Vintage wines with four different classic cars from the corresponding Vintage year featured in the prestigious Gooding & Co. auction for a very intimate group of serious power player collectors. Haute Living publisher Seth Semilof joined wine enthusiast Joe Schoendorf of Accel Ventures, Matt Wilson, founder of Soutirage, and other key figures at this haute event.

P2 or 2nd plenitude, indicates a vintage champagne that has had a minimum of 12 years in the cellar. P3 or third plenitude, indicates a minimum of 30 years in Dom Pérignon’s cellars before release. This was truly a remarkable experience with some exceptionally rare and exquisite vintage wines.

The extraordinary vintage automobiles and four exceptional and rare vintage of Dom Pérignon previewed were:

Dom Pérignon P2 1998 paired with 1998 Ferrari 333 SP
Dom Pérignon P3 1988 Rose paired with 1988 Porsche 959 Komfort
Dom Pérignon P3 1970 paired with 1970 De Tomaso Mangusta
Dom Pérignon P3 1966 en magnum paired with 1966 Ferrari 206 S Dino Spider

Both Geoffroy and Gooding spoke about what makes each so beautiful.

The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering

Terry Cook completed this Auburn-Bugatti Delahaye Boattail Speedster only six months ago.
Terry Cook’s 1937 Auburn-Bugatti Delahaye Boattail Speedster

Photo Credit: Courtesy Rolex/Tom O’Neal

The crown jewel of the week is always The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, and this year was no different. This 13th edition of this “very grand private garden party,” as Rolex Watch USA President and CEO Stewart Wicht calls it, took place on Aug. 14 at the Quail Lodge in Carmel Valley and showcased more than 200 motor vehicles that were selected from private collections around the world. The lush setting on a golf course nestled against the Santa Lucia mountain range is ideal for showcasing exceptional cuisine and, of course, the finest examples of vintage sporting automobiles seen during the week from Aston Martin to Alfa Romeo, Bugatti to BMW, Chrysler to Cooper, and then Ferrari—no less than 56 examples of the legendary Italian supercar maker were on display—Jaguar to Jensen, Lamborghini to Lancia, Maserati to Morgan, Pagani to Porsche.

The Hon. Sir Michael Kadoorie, Chairman of The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Limited, joined by William E. Connor and Christian Philippsen, seminal figures in the automotive world, opened the day by detailing plans for a new international motoring accolade, The Peninsula Classics Best of the Best Award. Commencing in 2016, the new award will bring together the best of show winners from six of the top concourse events from around the globe to The Quail stage, to compete for the title of the most exceptional car in the world.

Among the highlights of this year’s The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering:

  • The 1968 Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 Stradale was awarded the ‘Best of Show’ during the Rolex Circle of Champions awards. Owned by Mouse Motors of Illinois, with only 10 of its kind known to exist, the Tipo 33 Stradale is a rare sports racing prototype regularly voted one of the best looking motorcars in history.
  • Rolls-Royce Motor Cars CEO Torsten Müller-Ötvös presented renowned collector Michael Fux with another stunning Rolls-Royce for his collection: a custom Bespoke Rolls-Royce Phantom with an intense jade pearl interior.
  • Garnering lots of  attention was Terry Cook’s 1937 Auburn-Bugatti Delahaye Boattail Speedster, a unique, aerodynamic recent construction. This artistic head-turning creation was completed only six months ago.
  • Lamborghini presented the world debut of the new Aventador LP 750-4 Superveloce Roadster and this bright blue exotic car was a crowd pleaser. Production of this 750-horsepower, V-12 powered flagship roadster will be limited to 500 units.
  • The 1/1 Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 concept car made its west coast debut.
  • David Brown Automotive debuted the Speedback GT in the American market ($753,000), one year after its European unveiling. Designed, engineered and hand-crafted in Britain, the made-to-order Speedback GT heralds a new era for GT models, showcasing a classically styled car with modern mechanicals, reliability and comforts.
  • Infiniti offered the Oculus Rift DK2 headset and simulator for an interactive experience of the Q60 Convertible Sport, in addition to the Infiniti Red Bull Racing Show Car and Q50 Sedan displayed
  • Maserati’s show-stopping special editions included the 100th Anniversary Neiman Marcus Limited-Edition Maserati Ghibli S Q4; The GranTurismo Convertible MC Centennial Edition in celebration of Maserati’s Centennial; and the 2015 Quattroporte S Q4 range

There was even something for people who maybe were not so much into cars but still wanted to be a part of the day. New this year, The Quail Fairway Lounge was introduced as an indulgent venue offering Louis Roederer Champagne, decadent culinary offerings, including caviar and oysters, all in a lavish setting on the expanded field.

The Quail’s signature Fireside Chat Series celebrated luminaries of the motoring world. German Formula One Champion Jochen Mass delighted the crowd with accounts of his 114 Formula One World Championship Grand Prix races. British Sports Car Racing Champion Derek Bell and his son, Justin Bell, British racecar driver and renowned U.S.-based media personality traded stories from their combined decades-long careers on the main stage.

On the West Field, Ferraris took center stage at the Bonhams Quail Lodge Auction that offered an impressive selection of consignments for its annual motorcar auction. The highly anticipated 1959 Ferrari 250 GT Competizione Alloy Berlinetta sold for $8,525,000. Another crowd pleaser, the 1971 Ferrari 365 GTS/4 Daytona Spyder sold for $2,640,000.


Mercedes-Benz Star Lounge & President’s Dinner

Mercedes-Benz After Dark Party
Mercedes-Benz After Dark Party

Photo Credit: Courtesy Mercedes-Benz
Mercedes-Benz celebrated its long tradition of luxury and performance with an impressive showcase of vehicles at the Mercedes-Benz Star Lounge on the third fairway of the famed Pebble Beach Golf Links.

The highlights were:

  • The legendary 1955 300 SLR “722,” which celebrates the 60th anniversary of its overall victory in the 1955 Mille Miglia. Driven by Sir Stirling Moss, the record time of 1000 miles in 10 hours, 7 minutes, and 28 seconds on public roads throughout Italy has never been broken.
  • A tribute to the AMG 300 SEL 6.8 “Red Pig” aka “Rote Sau,” a predecessor of today’s S-Class. AMG was founded in 1969, but its breakthrough moment took place in 1971 with the Red Pig at the 24 Hours of Spa race in Belgium. By competing and winning against much smaller and more nimble race cars at the time, the Red Pig made an indelible mark in racing history.
  • The all-new Mercedes-Maybach Pullman made its first appearance on U.S. soil. With a length of 21.3 feet, it provides space for a generously-sized and tastefully appointed club lounge in the rear, which has a multitude of creature comforts fitted as standard equipment. European pricing has been set at around EURO 500,000, with the first global customer deliveries taking place in the first half of 2016.

In addition to checking out the dazzling array of vehicles past, present and future, we attended the Mercedes-Benz President’s Dinner on Friday, where Mike Jackson, current President and CEO of AutoNation and former President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz North America, was presented the Star Driver Award. Homage was also paid to Moss, who was in attendance, and his impressive victory in the 1955 Mille Miglia.

Afterward, we retreated to the Star Lounge for a lively After Dark party attended by Pebble Beach Concourse d’Elegance chairman Sandra Button and her husband Martin Button, Sir Stirling MossDr. Elisa Stephens and her husband Edward Conlon, real estate agent extraordinaires Joyce Rey and Olivia Hsu Decker and other luminaries who kicked up their heels to a live band and enjoyed cordials, chocolates and cigars the wee hours.

Bentley Motors party

Bentley Bentayga
Bentley Bentayga

Photo Credit: Kelly E. Carter

At the Bentley Motors’ party at Pebble Beach’s Beach Club, Bentley Chairman/CEO Wolfgang Dürheimer greeted guests, who oohed and aahed over the dazzling 1/1 Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 concept car. We’re pretty sure this haute, high-performance two-seater in British racing green with a sumptuous brown interior will be a future model for Bentley. Guests also got a very quick glimpse at the highly-anticipated Bentley Bentayga, a sports utility vehicle that will be publicly unveiled next month at the Frankfurt Motor Show and become the world’s most expensive SUV. In dramatic fashion, the luxurious SUV was driven down a pier in the dark and inside the Bentley villa next door. An image of the vehicle, with water bouncing off of it, was projected over the water for the remainder of the party for all to view. You’ll soon be able to see this haute set of wheels for yourself. We promise.

Photos: Kelly E. Carter and Olivia Hsu Decker