EVENTS: Monterey Historics, Part 01

So after we dropped off the hakosuka GT-R at Nissan’s garage, we set out to see what the rest of the Monterey Historics had to offer. It is the most mind-detonatingly expensive automotive festival in this hemisphere, a world we plebes normally never get to experience. We’d heard there was J-tin in them thar hills, and we were off in search of it.

The automotive landscape here changes as the world’s billionaires descend on the Monterey Peninsula. Ferrari 458 Italias become as common as Civics. Some owners even ship million dollar cars here for a week just so they have some wheels to tool around in.

We needed wheels too, but something that could haul around three people and their gear in comfort, something that would command at least a modicum of respect from the one percenters, and something Japanese. Thankfully, Lexus hooked us up with a 2015 LS 460 F Sport so we could hold our heads up high.

Once the hako was safely parked, we hopped in the neo-Celsior in our goal to seek out all the J-tin in Monterey. The first stop was the Mazda paddock, where the crew was tuning the IMSA championship RX-7 GTO.

With the its composite nose removed, you can see how it’s mostly air. The 4-rotor motor sits so far back that it’s practically under the dash. Some activity was also surrounding the RX-792P and 787 sister car to the 1991 Le Mans winner. Mazda is not shy about running their historic race cars on the track, and will likely do so during the Rolex Motorsports Reunion.

Of course, it helps if you own the racetrack. Luckily the boys from Hiroshima have their name on Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. As such, there’s a fleet of Mazda RX-8, CX-5 and MX-5 safety cars around. The 2014 Mazda 6 looks particularly gorgeous lowered to track spec.

After that, it was time to drive about 17 miles to The Quail Lodge. That’s the nature of the Historics. There are more events and cars than it is humanly possible to completely see and they’re spread out over at least a dozen venues, but cramming as much in as you can is part of the fun. That’s why it helps to have a silk-smooth V8 capable of 5.4-second bursts to 60mph whisking you from place to place.

Our next stop was the Bonhams auction. Even though our friend Tom Knudsen has traded many of the Ferrari in his collection for Japanese steel, he insisted that we take a look at this 1962 Ferrari 250 GTO Berlinetta, one of 39 built. It was the star car of the week, one that would set a new record as it crossed the block Thursday night. To give you an idea of how ridonkulously expensive it is here, its selling price of $38 million was considered by many to be a disappointment.

Worth a bit less but with values still climbing was the sole Japanese vehicle at this particular house, a long-wheelbase 1972 Land Cruiser FJ43. Look at the words the Bonhams catalog uses to describe it.

The original sales invoice for this Land Cruiser, a long-wheelbase FJ43 model, indicates that it was sold new through Distribuidora Toyota in Bogota, Colombia, in 1973, to a Mrs. Corzo. It traveled to Colombia early in 1972 direct from Nagoya, Japan, where it was loaded on the vessel Oversea Fruit bound for Bogota…

Being an early example of the breed, the Land Cruiser is fitted with the three-speed manual transmission, while featuring many of the details found only on the earlier Land Cruisers such as the early style steering wheel and mirrors…

Corzo apparently kept her FJ43 for several decades, using it as a transport vehicle for her dairy business. A file of maintenance papers as well as registration tax documents kept by the first and second owners show how meticulous both seemed to be. It is understood that the FJ43 was not acquired by its second owner until 2002; this owner would keep the car near the dry climate of Bogota for many more years before it was acquired by the vendor…

These long-wheelbase Land Cruiser FJs, not well-known in the US, were prized elsewhere around the world… Presented stunningly in its original color and with a fresh, factory-correct restoration to original specifications, this FJ43 is a striking vintage Toyota…

Damn, I wish I could write like that. Kind of makes you want to run right out an buy it, does it not? You can read in full bloom the flowery description at the Bonhams lot listing.

Then we received an invite from a contact at Toyota to see the Toyota FT-1 Concept. Wait, wasn’t that already unveiled at the Detroit Motor Show? We piled back into the LS and headed to an event known as McCall’s Motorworks Revival gala.

Gordon McCall hosts a Monterey kick-off party every year that has become a whole event unto itself. It takes place at the Monterey Jet Center, an airport containing massive hangars for owners of private jets. It used to be by invite-only, but nowadays it has massive corporate sponsors, like Toyota.

As it turns out, Toyota has built a second FT-1 Concept, this time in Graphite Gray. Toyota says that the new color, matched with a saddle-brown leather interior, gives the rumored Supra-to-be a more upscale look. We wholeheartedly agree.

It looks absolutely tremendous in its new hue. Graphite Gray was a color popularized by the original Lexus IS 300, and as such is perfect for any sporting Toyotas.

Outside the hangars, a Lexus LFA supercar greeted guests while bartenders filled hundreds of flutes with free champagne. Sushi and cheesecake was served as well. As Adam Sandler pointed out in Funny People, the more money you have, the more stuff you get for free.

It was joined by a second LFA, this one one of 50 Nürburgring Package cars. Will its rare numbers mean that fifty years from now, this car will fetch the 2064 equivalent of $38 million? It may not have racing pedigree but the notoriously anti-Lexus Jeremy Clarkson called it the best car he’s ever driven.

Beside the FT-1 there was Yamaha race bike. It wasn’t part of the official Toyota display but its placement, as part of a motorcycle restoration shop, was quite fortuitous as Yamaha is part of the Toyota family. I don’t know enough about motorcycles to identify this machine, but it looks incredibly cool.

Speaking of which, Toyota’s Yamaha-built twin-cam supercar sat on display outside, its gorgeous arcs illuminated in artful fashion. Parked among private jets and vintage propeller aircraft, it looked like a scene straight out of 1960s cinema in which the leading man emerges from his plane to find both his 2000GT and his woman waiting on the tarmac.

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9 Responses to EVENTS: Monterey Historics, Part 01

  1. dankan says:

    My only question is this: “WHAT IS UNDER THAT MAZDA BLANKET? IS THAT THE NEW MX-5?”

  2. cesariojpn says:

    “Parked among private jets and vintage propeller aircraft, it looked like a scene straight out of 1960s cinema in which the leading man emerges from his plane to find both his 2000GT and his woman waiting on the tarmac.”

    And it appears his Mistress is exiting stage right…..

  3. Marcelo Vercelli says:

    Check out Jim Froula’s 72 Skyline running in group 8 at the Historics.

  4. mister k says:

    already 4 posts and no smack talk yet from the CALIFORNIA haters?!?!

  5. slade s says:

    The whole red carpet treatment in a way is unfortunate for those of us that are true enthusiasts……….the prices will continue to climb,the cars will be driven less and less and disappear into private collections maybe to rarely have they’re engines started or to be heard by the level of people who will truly appreciate them and driven them as opposed to discussed as an art piece among a bunker or warehouse filled with beautiful machines much like these row upon row as status symbols or merely a show of someone’s financial worth.

    I’m not hating.I mean,people do it and have always done it but the beauty of these cars was that you would actually see them,hear them,smell them.

    Seeing a car as a static museum piece behind a velvet rope or even just started and free revved or rolled off of a trailer to be entered in some concourse show next to a golf course or some other like venue just takes away from being in the back of your parents utilitarian appliance adorned with dvd players and scrotum warming seats and hearing sets of double or triple sidedrafts scream past you with a huge smile attatched to them.

    sorry to vent JNC.

    • Ben Hsu says:

      No need to apologize. This is a place for anyone to express their opinions about cars! We agree with many parts of your comment, and think it’s both good and bad for the hobby.

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