17 August 2012

Monterey 2012: Two days at Pebble Beach yield countless stories

Two days into Classic Car Week at Monterey (Calif.) and I could have easily written 20 stories by now. But three people and their beautiful automobiles stand out so far.

 

Paul Carrubba, 1964 Aston Martin DB5

Literally two minutes after walking into a sea of 175 cars at Tuesday’s Carmel-by-the-Sea Concours on the Avenue, a gorgeous red 1964 Aston Martin DB5 stopped me in my tracks. As it turns out, owner Paul Carrubba fell in love with the car almost as quickly as I did – back when he was a teenager and was hired to clean it. Years later, after Carrubba bought the car and painstakingly restored it using all original parts, he feels like a proud father on graduation day every time he drives it. “I love this,” said Carrubba, of Aptos, Calif. “This is what keeps me sane.”

David Greene, 1953 Desoto Firedome Convertible

At the opposite end of the Concours on the Avenue, which was spread over 18 blocks in Carmel-By-The-Sea, was David Greene’s French Blue 1953 Desoto Convertible. If you love chrome, I challenge you to walk past this car without pausing. The grille is menacing, the bumper broad and the Desoto emblem and name are prevalent without feeling overblown. Add the stunning, factory-correct French Blue paint job, nearly every option available at the time and the fact that the car – complete with V-8 hemi engine – is one of fewer than 10 such Firedomes left in existence, and it’s easy to see why Greene’s machine draws attention wherever it goes. “It’s not perfect,” Greene said, “but people love it and so do I. It’s a very special car.”

Peter Brock, 2005 Brock Daytona

Yes, we were fortunate to spend a couple of hours with the Peter Brock, of Shelby Racing fame, and what a treat it was. Brock designed and built the original Shelby Daytona Coupe that beat Ferrari in 1965 and won the first FIA World GT championship for an American car. Forty years later, he redesigned the Daytona the way he dreamed it should be, and the result is the eye-catching, heart-pounding beauty he drove along Pebble Beach’s legendary 17-Mile Drive on Wednesday afternoon. Considering Brock’s astonishing accomplishments as a car designer and builder, he has every right to be full of himself. Instead, he is humble, accommodating and genuinely grateful for every ounce of success that he’s had. Impressive only begins to describe the man and his machines.

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