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Concorso Italiano

Concorso: The Grand Opening to the Monterey Automotive Weekend
By Andrew Gardner / All Photos L.Marvin
Sep 19, 2003, 03:39 PST
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A 21-door salute to Italian Automotive Passion


            A celebration of Italian passion and culture, centered on the Italian automobile but complete with a fashion show, and Italian music and dancing, has become an integral part of the automotive celebration which occurs each August on the Monterey Peninsula.

This event, the Concorso Italiano, started as a rather modest gathering eighteen years ago. In that time frame it blossomed into a key component of this particular world-renowned weekend in Monterey. In fact, it has even become un-titled official opening event for this weekend in Monterey, the first collection of cars to welcome with open arms or doors the massive stream of automotive enthusiasts.



The Concorso Italiano has been held at the Quail Lodge for some time, where it enjoyed respectably large numbers of participants and spectators. This year, in the interest of expanding the event, co-chairs Frank and Janet Mandarano moved the Concorso to the Black Horse Golf Course on the old Fort Ord grounds. And here, the event exploded.



The main section of automobiles was contained on a section of grass much larger than the entire area allotted the Concorso Italiano at the Quail Lodge, and that didn’t include the Bugattis, the Lamborghini’s, motorcycles, the awards stage and a collection of beautiful boats by Riva (a 160 year old Italian boat manufacturing company).


The Quattro, by Italian boat-crafter Riva


There were scores of people and almost as many cars, all lined with booths advertising anything from Girard-Perregaux watches to luxury car insurance to a BMW-Williams Formula1 seat and steering wheel. You could find just about anything you wanted, or just simply lose yourself and bathe in a sea of red and yellow Ferraris.



Within the massiveness of this event, there were great sub-stories to be found. The 40th anniversary of Automobili Lamborghini was celebrated at the Concorso Italiano. The raging bull presented its newest calf, the Gallardo. This was the official U.S. debut of the newest Lamborghini, and several examples of this bold, angular car were to be found. The San Francisco Lamborghini dealer was even on hand to allow some delighted spectators, and potential customers, a chance to sit in the new Lambo. The cockpit fit my 6’2” frame nicely, if a little too snugly. I am perhaps a touch too tall to go on a long tour in this car, but I am sure that a short blast in the Gallardo will prove the stick, wheel and pedal spacing to be ideal and professional. The interior just feels right.

Also of note was the presentation of the new Brock Coupe, designed by Peter Brock and built by Superformance. For those who are not familiar with the full Shelby Cobra story, Peter Brock was the designer who gave the 289 Cobra a more aerodynamic body – and an extra thirty to forty miles per hour in top speed! In 1965, Shelby’s 289 Cobras, with Brock’s aerodynamic body, took on Ferrari on his home turf and became the first American manufactured car to win the F.I.A. World G.T. Championship. Mr. Brock was on hand all day to talk about his new car – look for the full story on the new Brock Coupe in the coming weeks!


And then there are various smaller collections of cars. Hidden behind the sellers’ tents was a small group of tight-knit Apollo owners. These 1960s-built, Buick-powered, Italian-bodied cars offer a beautiful blend of brute American power with a sexy, sophisticated style that could only be called Italian. The father of the Apollo, Milt Brown, is MSC’s own Design and Technical Editor. You may have read his article on the new Volkswagen Toureg or on the Bentley Continental GT. The Apollo story, and the Milt Brown story, will be featured on MSC later this year – watch for it!


The Concorso Italiano is a great way to start a weekend of lusting over automobiles. It is a big event which displays a large variety of things automotive and Italian. It exhumes super- and subliminal passion, from the main celebrations of Automobili Lamborghini’s fortieth anniversary to the more hidden but very exciting debut of the Brock Coupe. There is an overwhelming number of Ferraris but also a small collection of Bugattis, Apollos and other less mainstream automobiles. Whatever your fancy, there is plenty to see and enjoy; eye candy abounds. And so we shall leave you with just that – eye candy. Salud, enjoy.





The awards stage...





A yellow 275 cools off in the shade



The Alfa Romeo putting green



A classic Ducati 250


Old Moto-Guzzis


Race-ready Maserati Spyder




The end

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