My top 10 leftfield motors of Monterey week

| 24 Aug 2012

We all know about Monterey's big winners, obvious beauties and auction record-breakers by now, but many fascinating cars seem to have slipped under the radar.

Time to correct that then – here are 10 more spots (some of them lesser-spotted) that I think everyone should know about

Alfa Romeo 6C Zagato (main image)

Owned by Alfa nut Corrado Lopresto, this car started life in 1931 as an ordinary (hardly the appropriate term, but hey-ho) 6C Zagato, but after a serious accident in the late-1930s, it was reshelled by tiny outfit Aprile, Lopresto's research crediting the styling to Count Revelli de Beaumont. It looked great on the Tour d'Elegance

Ferrari 275GTB

The reason why barnfinds at upmarket auctions achieve such silly prices must be because they stand out so against the gleaming, highly polished machinery. Perversely, there is definitely something more appealing about a dusty car and I am as guilty as anyone else of falling for it. Though perhaps not as guilty as whoever bid this one-owner-for-43-years 1965 275 GTB up to $946,000.


Putting in an appearance at Concorso Italiano – and, along with Pirana Jaguar, being criminally overlooked – was the 1953 Fiat-based Stanguellini. Built by Bertone, it is powered by an 1100cc Fiat engine I reckon this was the same car that was at Pebble Beach in 2010 and is in the Petersen Museum at the moment. Happy to be corrected if I am wrong.

Tommy Ivo Barnstormer

A wonderful selection of rails and rods lit up Laguna Seca with a deafening cacklefest on Saturday. My fave was this TV Tommy Ivo top-fueller Barnstormer. Presuming it is the Ron Johnson rep, but the noise was 100% genuine. If I were a few years older, I might even have seen the original Barnstormer in the UK because it ran at Blackbushe in 1964 winning three out of five races. 

Hertz Cobra

Amid a sea of historically important Cobras, the battered Hertz-gold number stole my heart. Apparently not long ago it was a respectable-looking blue example, but minor works uncovered the distinctive (unique?) hue and a full stripdown followed. Now the owner has a dilemma: to restore or to leave well alone.

King Leopold Ferrari

Another favourite I had never previously seen, principally because its owner just doesn't show it too often. The 1955 375 Plus Pinin Farina cabrio owned by the Golomb family of Illinois is the second Ferrari built for King Leopold of Belgium. Gorgeous, the dream car of former colleague Mike McCarthy and Mick Walsh was going weak at the knees over it, too.

Moretti Gran Sport

Texan Mark Brinker showed this 1955 barnfind at the Quail Motorsports Gathering before taking to the Pebble Beach showfield on Sunday with his Glasspar G2. A man of eclectic taste then!  

Huffaker Jensen-Healey

This 1973 IMSA-winning car was returning to Laguna Seca for the first time since the mid-1970s and was driven by Joe Huffaker Jnr himself. It looked stunning, and quick, on the track and Huffaker was full of praise for it. The rules compel it to run on the tiny wheels, but what they lacked in height they made up for in width, running what looked like the front tyres from an F1 car!

Dubonnet Xenia

I have wanted to see this car since I was a kid. It even conspired to dodge me when it came to Goodwood while I was on holiday, so it was amazing to finally see it in the metal. I am sure everyone is familiar with it, but just in case, it is the 1938 Hispano Suiza Dubonnet Xenia Coupé and was show in a fabulous group at Pebble Beach dedicated to flamboyant Saoutchik coachwork. Designed by Jean Andreau for drinks heir Andre Dubonnet, it currently resides in the Mullin Automotive Museum in California.

Hoffman X8

This 1935 one-off was guaranteed to get this sucker for weirdies going even if its owner wasn't old pal Myron Vernis whose Paxton Phoenix featured in C&SC a few years back. You sometimes wonder whether engineers just guessed when they played around with configurations in a a suck it and see kind of way. I can't think of any other reason why someone would dream up an X8, but it was certainly compact even if not that powerful.