MONTEREY, CA — In a world where many marriages implode in less than a decade, John Maclay has spent 33 happy years with his 1964 Alfa Romeo Spider.
“It’s Italian panache — industry, engineering and artistry all at once,” Maclay, of Walnut Creek, CA, said during the show. “I’ve owned the car since 1979, I’m the third owner, and it’s a lifetime car.”
Maclay was just one of hundreds of Italian car owners who showed off their treasures to a crowd of more than 8,000 sun-drenched spectators during the Concorso Italiano at Rancho Canada Golf Ranch in Monterey, CA on August 17.
Now in its 27th year, Concorso is one of the high points of the yearly Monterey Car Week, a whirlwind of car shows and high-end collector car auctions that ends with the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance on Sunday, August 19.
For many at Concorso, the relaxed day with fellow Italian car addicts — and hundreds of Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Alfa Romeos, Lancias and other sleek cars — is the best part of Monterey. Many see their Italian cars as lifetime sources of pure pleasure.
Many of the cars are worth six — or even seven figures — but many of those showing off their cars aren’t interested in cashing in.
Jeff Meier, of Woodland Hills, CA, savored the mellow rumble of his 1970 Lamborghini Miura S as he waited to drive onto the award stand.
Meier’s Miura was part of a display of immaculate centerpiece cars invited to show off the best designs of Bertone, a famous Italian design house which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.
Other famous Bertone cars on display included the 1967 Jaguar Pirana car and the sleek, wedge-shaped 2012 Bertone Nuccio concept car, which reminded many of the famous Bertone Lancia Stratos Zero of the 1970s.
Meier’s orange Miura, an iconic sports car that can sell for close to $1million in today’s red-hot market for blue-chip collectible cars, is almost completely original, and it looks almost exactly as it did when in left the Lamborghini factory 42 years ago.
“This is a completely unrestored car,” Meier said. “I bought it seven years ago from a 97-year-old man who bought it new to celebrate his retirement in 1970.
“In my will, it states that if the car is sold after my death, an urn with my ashes will go with the car, so this is beyond a lifetime car.”
The Italian cars are beautiful and addicting to drive, but they’re also a way to meet new, like-minded people who often become — you guessed it — lifetime friends, Maclay said.
“The crowd is nice, and it’s great to just talk to about all their beautiful cars in this beautiful place,” Maclay said as he gestured to the green fairways, the shining cars and hillsides draped with oak trees. “I’ve been coming to Concorso pretty much from the beginning.”