The Motor Classic at San Marino was started in 2011 by co-founders Aaron Weiss, Ben Reiling and Paul Colony as the successor of the Los Angeles Concours d’Elegance. The primary purpose was to bring increased public awareness of the history of the motor vehicle through an encompassing exhibition of historical automobiles from the early to mid-20th century.
Keeping with that concept, the 2018 Motor Classic had more than 350 classic and collector cars in at least 36 classes categorically arranged on San Marino’s “best kept secret,” Lacey Park, a 30-acre span of lush manicured lawns surrounded by towering trees located in a high-end residential neighborhood in Southern California.
“We’re back for a grander show,” sad Aaron Weiss. “It’s a great opportunity to come out and get a taste of automotive history.”
Featured cars on the lawn ranged from the Brass and Nickel Era to American Muscle, hot rods, rare exotic treasures, European and Japanese Classics and a very special sports car class exhibiting early Lamborghinis and high-profile entries that have never been shown before.
More than 10,000 attendees strolled the massive field devouring the rolling automotive art at every turn while munching delights at gourmet food trucks.
I once referred to this show as the “Pebble Beach of the South” and I must say Weiss is outdoing himself with over 300 dedicated volunteers going beyond the call of duty to help generate, so far, $1.9 million for charity.
To get everyone in the mood for a big colorful, concours-level car show, the third annual Saturday night fundraising gala, “A Symphony of Cars,” presented at the park 16 significant historical automobiles motoring down an elevated runway accompanied by music of the era performed by the USC Trojan Marching Band.
Some of those cars that rumbled across the ramp included a 1930 Delage D8C owned by Bonnie and Ray Kinney from Dallas, a striking 1933 Isotta Fraschini Model B (first in Class) owned by Richard Atwell from Texas, a rare 1960 Lancia Appia Lusso (one of 477 built and winner of the Mayor’s Award) owned by Scott Bossa and Celesta Papas-Boses from Canada, a stunning 1931 Rolls-Royce Phantom I Newmarket Regent Convertible Coupe (built in the U.S.) owned by Mark Hyman from St. Louis, a 1963 Ferrari 400 Super America (Most Exotic Sports Car Award) owned by Donnie Crevier from California, and a 1962 Porsche 356 twin grill Super 90 roadster (only 25 were produced with Super 90 motor) driven by Paul and Sherrill Colony from Pasadena.
However, without a doubt, one of the significant highlights of the 2018 event was the first public showing of TV funnyman Adam Carrolla’s Paul Newman collection featuring 10 of Newman’s’ race cars spanning the actor’s entire racing career.
Supposedly, Carolla didn’t set out to collect Newman race cars.
“I just wanted something fun and fast,” he said.
Turned out, he was into Nissans, “then I found out Newman was into Nissans,” so Carolla began buying them, including helmets and racing suits worn by the actor.
Newman, best known for his leading roles in Hollywood classics like Cool Hand Luke, the Sting and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, started racing in 1972 and won his first Sports Car Club of America race in a Lotus Elan. Much later, at the age of 70, he won the 1995 24 Hours of Daytona.
The line-up in the Carolla collection included a variety of Newman’s Datsun, Nissan and Trans-Am Oldsmobile race cars as well as the 1979“Hawaiian Tropic” that Porsche 935 that Newman drove in the 1979 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Best of Show Pre-War went to a one-off 1930 Cadillac V16 Murphy-dodied Phaeton (Most Elegant Open Award) displayed by John Groendyke and a rare 1947 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500SS owned by George Alspaugh earned Best of Show Post-War.
Funds raised benefit the Pasadena Humane Society & SPCA, the Rotary Club of San Marino, and the USC Trojan Marching Band.