By David Santiago
In just under a week’s time, gearheads and car lovers from all over the world will make the automotive pilgrimage to a small peninsula in California for Monterey Car Week. Renowned as one of the largest gatherings of automotive enthusiasts in the world, the streets surrounding the area will be swarmed with sports cars and automobiles of all types, years, shapes, and sizes. With a wide variety of events—from the humble Concours d’Lemons to the Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Laguna Seca—as usual, this year should not disappoint!
Revs will be represented at both Pebble Beach and Laguna Seca this year with six cars now headed west to California. Let’s take a closer look at the cars in question:
The 1939 Mercedes-Benz W-154 will be on display in the Mercedes-Benz Pavilion at Pebble Beach as the brand continues its celebration of 125 years of motorsport. This 3.0-liter V-12, two-stage supercharged racer was entered by Mercedes-Benz for only a single race during the 1939 Grand Prix season—a season that was disrupted by the breakout of World War II in Europe. In fact, this very car was racing in the Belgrade Grand Prix on September 3rd, 1939—the day Great Britain and France declared war on Germany. Despite leading most of the race, Manfred von Brauchitsch finished second with this car after a costly spin late in the race. Tazio Nuvolari subsequently took first in one of the rival Auto Unions.
Heading to the 18th fairway of Pebble Beach for the Concours is the 1926 Bentley 3.0 liter “100 mph” Super Sport: one of 18 cars originally built and just 10 that remain today. It’s only fitting that the car W.O. Bentley guaranteed would do 100 mph would be on show at Pebble Beach for the marque’s centennial. The unique body, which features a sleek boat-tail design, was built by request from the owner of an obscure London-based coachbuilder, Surbico.
Continuing with the Bentley theme, the 1930 6 ½ liter Speed Six, one of only four “short” 11ft wheelbase cars built (the other three were team race cars), will also be attending the Concours. The Speed Six more closely fits the Bentley stereotype of the period with a larger engine, heavy chassis, and performance characteristics that favor long wide-open straights. The larger, heavier models prompted Ettore Bugatti to famously claim that Bentley built the “fastest truck in the world.” In fact, W.O. Bentley only entered races that he knew favored his cars—races like the 24 Hours of Le Mans. As a result, the Speed Six was responsible for two of four consecutive Le Mans victories for Bentley in 1929 and 1930.
The recently restored 1919 Ballot L5/8 is also celebrating its centennial this year. This car set the Indianapolis Pole, with a lap record in 1919 at an average speed of 104.70 mph with René Thomas at the wheel. Its unique, straight-8, double overhead camshaft, 4 valves per cylinder engine, designed by Ernest Henry of Peugeot GP fame, was at the height of development for this period. Despite the promising speed of the Ballots, the team suffered from lack of preparation and bad luck, landing them 4th, 10th, and two DNFs. Not a terrible result for the team’s maiden Indy 500 effort, but certainly not the result they’d hoped for.
After winning its class at the Chantilly Arts & Elegance in France, followed by several days of hill-climb runs at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in England, the well-travelled Ballot will now be on display at the Pebble Beach Concours.
For those looking for more action, noise, and the sweet smell of high octane, the Monterey Motorsports Reunion is the place to be. The 1964 Alfa Romeo GTZ (Giulia Tubolare Zagato) will be mixing it up on the Laguna Seca track this year with driver Gunnar Jeannette behind the wheel. As the name implies, the GTZ utilized an innovative tube frame design that weighed just over one hundred pounds. The featherweight frame was complimented by a lightweight, aerodynamic, alloy body formed by the famed Italian coachbuilder, Zagato. The result was a nimble sports car that tipped the scales at just 1,650 pounds. This advantage is what allowed the Alfa to punch above its weight class and run with the more powerful cars at high speed tracks.
This particular GTZ finished first-in-class at the 1964 12 Hours of Sebring with Chuck Stoddard and Jim Kaser driving. The success of the new car kickstarted Alfa’s reinvestment into motorsport, which manifested itself as the factory backed, semi-independent organization known as Autodelta.
Another Italian model taking part in the racing action at Laguna Seca is the 1965 Ferrari 250 LM. The 250 LM was Enzo’s second attempt to trick the FIA inspectors into believing that 100 cars had been built to qualify for homologation in the GT category. Unlike the successful first attempt with the famous 250 GTO, the inspectors were not impressed, and didn’t allow the LM to race in the GT category because only 32 were in fact built. As a result, the 250 LM raced in the prototype category, putting it at a significant disadvantage. Still, the North American Racing Team (NART) won the 1965 24 Hours of Le Mans with an LM, a major success and the last overall win for the marque at Le Mans.
This 250 LM was originally delivered to Edoardo Lualdi-Babardi in Italy. Edoardo successfully campaigned the car in hill climb events, winning nine of the 12 events he entered in 1965.
Monterey Car Week is a great opportunity for Revs to share historic cars and allow attendees to experience them in a more natural setting outside the galleries of the museum. Each car embodies the work of the craftsman and ideas of the engineers that created them and provides an educational experience like no other. If you plan on attending the Pebble Beach Concours or Monterey Motorsports Reunion, keep an eye out for the Revs cars that are participating. See you in California!
Revs online storefront has been revamped and is full of new items! If you’re looking for the perfect automotive-themed gift or want to browse our selection of used books, then click here. Be sure to check back often as more items, including used parts from cars in the collection, are added in the future!