Starting earlier than we ever have before, the Redline Review 1990 vintage Mazda Miata that’s still wearing its original paint and now just shows 122,XXX on the odometer, rolled out of Oceanside, CA on Friday evening, a full week before the culminating grand finale Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance of Monterey Car Week 2009.
My brother Kevin heads up Public Relations and Marketing for Lotus Cars U.S.A., which is about the best job a confirmed gearhead can have except for maybe being the World number 1 Formula 1 driver, or perhaps a test driver for Ferrari or Lotus. Anyway, he had planned a whole slew of events for premiering the soon-to-be available Lotus Evora. Kevin had a pre-production Evora flown in from Jolly Old England, so that he could show it around at all the swanky Monterey Car Week parties.
Before Monterey Party Week, er Car Week, the Monterey Pre-Historic races take place at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Since Lotus has crossed the finish line first in various forms of racing more than just about any other automotive manufacturer, the organizers of the Monterey Pre-Historics extended an invitation to Lotus U.S.A. to display the new Evora 2+2. That was imminently O.K. with Kev and me. We raced to the track, Kev in the prototype Evora that was supposed to be disabled to just 15 mph to prevent us from driving the few-off show only car and me in the Exige 260S that rockets down the road with the grace and finesse of a cheetah hunting its prey. The Exige corners so effortlessly. It literally squirts to wherever you point it almost before you know it. The car is where you want it to be. Or is it where the Exige knows it should be? Feeling every inch of the road through the steering wheel inspires confidence and made me feel as though I could go up against any supercar or F1 racer and come away the winner. What an astounding machine the Exige is. Even more incredible, the new Evora is supposedly the best handling Lotus ever. After rousting around all Monterey Car Week in an Exige 260S, it’s hard to imagine another Lotus its superior. RR can’t wait to confirm this for ourselves.
With the first weekend of vintage racing in our rearview mirrors, we participated in the All the Best affair at the Bernardus Lodge in Carmel Valley on Monday night. Kevin asked me to tag along and take a bunch of photos. The organizer of the party admonished me to wear a suit, which was a problem given the fact that the best clothes I brought with me were a navy blazer and khaki slacks. Kevin and I are about the same height, but he’s a bit heavier than me. I wound up buying a pair of dress shoes and borrowed one of his many suits. Partiers told me that I looked like Tom Hanks in the movie, Big. I wish I had my brother take some photos of me in his suit. I must have looked pretty goofy. Still, I got to go to a very fun party, was able to meet some very nice people and could photograph some pretty sweet cars and motorcycles.
ALL THE BEST at BERNARDUS LODGE
The new Lotus Evora was a huge hit at the elegant All the Best affair, held at the Bernardus Lodge.
Dressed in one of my brother’s nicest suits, which was about five sizes too large for me, I had to flirt with this attractive woman and ask her what she thought of my attire. She said that I looked handsome and would look even better if I bought some of the moisturizer she was selling, which benefited a good cause – namely my skin, ego and a worthwhile charity.
Gary and Susan Wasserman graciously agreed to display their 1968 BMW R/62 Cafe Racer motorcycle at the All the Best benefit. The school bus yellow racecar in the background is a 1969 Porsche 917K that is powered by a 5.4L flat 12 Porsche engine, presented by Gunnar Racing.
One look at the Carbon Fiber over Pearlescent White Lotus Exige 260S sports car I was piloting throughout Monterey Car Week, and you realize why I felt like a rock star. The only time I’ve been more gawked at was when I drove a Lotus 11 replica for a week. You could say that Lotus builds cars that go super fast and get noticed.
We told you that the Carmel By the Sea Concours had an eclectic field of entrants. Now do you believe us? Entered in the Historic Race class, Dave West presented his 1968 AA/FD “Fighting Irish” dragster, which was raced by a man named Mulligan back in the day. Mr. West resides in Paso Robles, CA.
The next morning the Smith Men had to get the two Lotuses we were piloting to the streets of Carmel for the Carmel By the Sea Concours. Should readers wish to learn more about this casual and eclectic gathering of some very sweet and exotic automotive machinery, there’s a separate article on RR titled Carmel’s Cool Concours, http://redlinereview.com/articles/events/item/14-carmel’s-cool-concours. Kevin finagled the most prominent spot in the entire Concours to display the new Lotus Evora, while I managed to put the Lotus Exige 260S right across the street from the Evora’s primo location. For the new exotic sports car fans at the Concours, the Evora was the huge hit of the event, with the limited edition Exige 260S coming in a close second.
GORDON MCCALL’S MOTORWORKS REVIVAL
At Gordon McCall’s Motorworks Revival, Bonhams & Butterfields displayed the spectacular Auto Union Grand Prix racecar, which was to be auctioned off later in the week.
Grand Prix racecar drivers from the late 1930s often had this view of the world-beating