|CONCORSO ITALIANO - INDEX and OVERVIEW|
Links to reports and photos of the event for each year beginning 2006 shall be added here soon.
The Concorso Italiano is a major event occurring during the week of the west coast's big annual classic car multi-event gathering which also includes the world famous Pebble Beach Concourse and the historic races at Laguna Seca. It is billed as the largest Italian car show in the world. It is also the one event each year in which the De Tomaso exhibitors are hosted by Pantera International.
The Maserati Club International, founded by Francis (Frank) and Janet Mandarano, held the club's annual concourse at the Quail Lodge in Carmel in 1981. The venue was so well liked that they returned in 1986 and began booking the venue for their annual meeting each year thereafter. The Mandaranos began inviting clubs representing other Italian car marques to join them in 1987, the resulting event was no longer a "Maserati-only event" and was thus named the "Concours Italiana"! The De Tomaso marque was invited in 1989. The roster of invitations did not grow to include "all" Italian automobile and motorcycle marques until 1991 however. The Concorso awards program for "Best of Show" began in 1992.
As the event grew in size a larger venue became a necessity. Thus it moved to the Bayonet Black Horse Golf Course in the city of Seaside in 2003. In its new setting the event grew to become the largest Italian car event in the world. Chairmanship of the event was passed to Jack and Leslie Wadsworth in 2004. The event moved to the airport belonging to the city of Marina in 2008, a setting lacking the aesthetics of the previous two venues. The decline in aesthetics combined with the worldwide economic crash that year resulted in a dramatic decrease in event attendance. Chairmanship of the event was passed to Tom McDowell the following year (2009); Tom relocated the event to the Laguna Seca Golf Ranch, and retained the event's founder, Frank Mandarano, as a consultant. The event has steadily improved ever since. In 2014 the event returned to the Bayonet Black Horse Golf Course due to that venue's superior accessibility.
The philosophy of the Concorso is "a celebration of Italian style" centered around, but not limited to, Italian automobiles and motorcycles. The purpose of the event is to assemble a wide cross-section of Italian machinery, along with those who own and/or appreciate them, in a relaxed, informal and aesthetic setting. The emphasis is on display and appreciation over competition. Many people are turned-off from showing their cars at a "white-glove" style concourse, but the Concorso is not a traditional competition like that. The Concorso is the place where cars which aren't "show cars", i.e. cars which are driven regularly and/or cars which are in various stages of "aging", will fit-in perfectly. An owner simply drives their car onto the green, dusts it off, and enjoys the show. Its quite intentionally a very informal and relaxed environment. That is quite a bit different than the spirit of the Pebble Beach concourse, and quite a bit different than the spirit of other "older" shows you may be familiar with such as the Newport Beach concourse, but it is the "founding spirit" of the Concorso.
The Concorso is more than just a car show, it is a festival. Among the events held each August in Monterey this festival has the most to offer in terms of sights and activities, there's significantly more to do than "just" walking around looking at cars or sitting next to your car in a lawn chair. The Bayonet Black Horse Golf Course is a large attractive golf course, having large rolling fairways lined with groves of large trees. The blue water of the Monterey Bay is visible in the back ground. The venue is cooled by an ocean breeze. On the day of the event the fairways are lined with "pavilions", those white tents with pointed roofs so common at festivals. The sound of Italian music echoes across the fairways and the aroma of Italian food lingers in the air. There is food to sample, wine to taste, a fashion show, live music, interviews of Italian auto industry luminaries, vendors, and much more. Significant others will not be bored or disappointed.
De Tomaso Corral
Over the years we have witnessed De Tomaso exhibitor attendance at its all-time high of 81 the year we celebrated the Pantera's 35th anniversary (2006), and as low as 25 the year the event was held at the Marina airport (2008). We generally have a few Mangustas on exhibit, but we always need better participation from Vallelunga, Longchamp and Deauville owners.
The Concorso is a major event in the motoring world. A large number of De Tomaso exhibitors make quite a statement for the marque. The sheer size of a corral containing a large number of cars impresses the spectators as they look upon it from afar, and as they stand in the middle of it too. Having a large number of exhibitors assists in keeping the Pantera and its siblings in the eye of the public (rather than slipping into obscurity) and earns us more respect from the event organizers. The event organizers consider anything less than 30 exhibitors to be in the same category as other “obscure” Italian car marques.
Please consider joining us next August, you'll have the time of your life. Here are three tips for those considering attendance:
(1) Exhibitors are allowed to bring a passenger into the event at no charge, therefore two people can enter the event for less money if they drive through the entry gate as exhibitors rather than walking through the entry gate as two spectators. (2) Hotel rates in Monterrey skyrocket during that week, but prices are a bit more reasonable if you choose lodging in one of the towns about half an hour from the event. Phone us or email us for ideas. (3) Plan your trip and book your room early because the good hotels book-up quickly.
We are trying to establish a new custom for the Club, which is to provide a modest gift for each De Tomaso exhibitor at the Concorso. The idea had its roots in 2009 when we gave each exhibitor a tee-shirt commemorating the 50th anniversary of the De Tomaso factory. In recent years we’ve provided live orchids, De Tomaso coffee mugs, and leather De Tomaso key rings.
Our corral is one of only a couple which has our own awards program, besides the awards program of the Concorso. During the day I interact with the Concorso folks and their program, while Debbie works with the De Tomaso exhibitors to manage our awards program. There are therefore two sets of awards, the Concorso awards and the Pantera International awards.
There is a major difference in the awards programs. The Concorso awards are based upon the superficial, hastily formed impressions of three "on-stage" judges, as opposed to a thorough examination of each car; but their judging is quite specifically focused on the originality and provenance of the cars presented to them. The Concorso judges exhibit a preference for cars retaining their "original patina" over those which have been restored. We must present the Concorso judges with the best original cars we have at our disposal if the De Tomaso marque is going to earn and maintain credibility with the Concorso organizers and judges. Each marque receives three awards from the Concorso, "Best of Marque", "Second Best of Marque", and "Third Best of Marque". The marques receiving these awards in 2015 included Alfa Romeo, De Tomaso, Ferrari, Fiat/Abarth, Iso/Bizarrini, Lamborghini, Lancia, and Maserati; plus awards for Italian motorcycles and "special coaches". Each car awarded "Best of Marque" also competes for the Concorso's "Best of Show" award. A De Tomaso has never won the Concorso's "Best of Show" award, but we came very close in 2014. It is our goal to see this happen.
Pantera International's awards program is not bound by the rigid criteria of the Concorso judges (i.e. originality and provenance). For our awards program the cars are judged by the exhibitors (this is called popular judging or judging by peers). Each exhibitor casts a ballot for their choices in 5 categories, based upon their personal criteria and preferences. We tally the votes and present our awards based on the results of the tally. We never know how the voting is going to turn out from year to year! Quite often custom Panteras are voted for the best of show.
In closing, we hope everyone who attends the Concorso enjoys themselves. We wish we could afford a special award or trophy for each and every exhibitor, but it’s just not financially possible. One aspect of the Concorso we always look forward to is meeting new people, and getting reacquainted with old friends. We truly wish we could spend all day just chatting and catching-up with each and every exhibitor, and the attendees from places like Canada and Hawaii who stop-by to say hello. But the day of the Concorso is our busiest day of the year, its non-stop from 4AM to about 5PM. We also appreciate the support of the local POCA chapter, the Pantera Owners Club of Northern California (PCNC).