Three years ago, they moved the date of the San Marino Motor Classic to one week after Pebble. The idea was that they could get cars straight from Pebble Beach to show up in the old-money suburban enclave of San Marino, where The Classic is held on the grass in tree-shrouded Lacy Park. It worked.
This year there were a dozen cars that had just been shown at Pebble, some of them class winners, most of them from the big-boat CCCA class that included Duesenbergs, Packards, and grand old Lincolns.
But there were many more, 465 cars in all. Including one Zimmer, in all it’s horn-honking glory.
“55 classes, that’s a lot of action, that’s a lot going on here,” said San Marino Classic Chairman Aaron Weiss. “And then we have the VIP thing (the Symphony of Cars Saturday night), and we have 50 vendor tents, it’s a circus.”
All are welcome
And a circus is always fun. One interesting thing about San Marino is they take just about anyone who wants to be in the show. There’s something like 14-and-a-half acres of park to park on, like the old car sales TV commercial, “We’ve got acres and acres of cars.”
“There’s such a wide variety of cars here,” Weiss said. “I think diversity and inclusion, not only with the cars, but across the board in all categories, is really important. And I would say that I went out of my way to accomplish that.”
Almost no one is turned away.
“I think we took 99% of the cars that applied. I mean, it wasn’t like we’re sitting there looking for reasons not to let them in. We’re trying to raise money for the charities (Pasadena Humane Society, Cancer Support Community, and many others). This is a volume business.”
But, while there was the guy with the Zimmer who comes every year, there were also cars worthy of entering any of the best shows in the world.
“We've got the Academy of Art University of San Francisco (which has a huge collection of American Classics), about a dozen cars that came down from Pebble Beach, and winners from Pebble Beach, and several other cars that came from across the country,” said Weiss.
“So, in those terms, I think we have some things that people just don’t see very often. And those are really nice cars.”
The winner is...
For instance, the winning car in San Marino could easily have been entered at Pebble going for Best of Show—a 1947 Talbot Lago 126 Record Cabriolet with a body by Figoni et Falaschi. It was owned by Bonnie and Ray Kinney, who brought it all the way from Dallas.
“I’m very fortunate to have found the car pretty much in the condition it’s in,” said Ray Kinney. “A good friend in Ft. Worth did a retouch on it and so forth. So it’s won the Arizona Concours Best in Show, and this is second time we’ve shown it since then. So we’re batting 1000. We’re so happy.”
The car belonged to director George Sidney, who bought it new in 1947 after he’d done the Frank Sinatra/Gene Kelly musical, Anchors Aweigh.
“He used to drive this car up and down Hollywood Boulevard,” Kinney said. “And then it was acquired by Tyrone Power.”
It was even in the possession of an unnamed Pebble Beach organizer at one point. Asked if he’d considered showing it at Pebble this year, especially since there was a class for Figoni et Falaschi, Kinney demurred, saying recent knee surgery prevented him getting around Pebble. It didn’t prevent him from winning San Marino, though, and it was a well-deserved win, indeed.