Doug Freedman, the founder of one of the most popular events of Monterey Car Week, the Concours on the Avenue in Carmel, died Sunday after suffering a heart attack while in Rhode Island to attend the Audrain Concours.
Freedman, 72, was well-known for the creation and continuation of the relaxed classic car event in downtown Carmel, and remembered for his contributions to the community.
He was not, however, a resident of the storybook seaside town, living in Atlanta for most of his life; he became acquainted with Carmel because of the Monterey car events, and saw the possibilities for hosting a car show on Ocean Avenue, the picturesque main street through town.
The Concours on the Avenue, launched in 2007, became a key event of the annual Monterey Car Week of collector car shows, auctions, parties, driving events and the famed Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
Because the Carmel Concours is held on Tuesday, it serves as the kickoff of the massive multi-day celebration of classic vehicles that takes over the Monterey Peninsula once a year. Freeman, his wife Genie and about 300 volunteers coordinated the annual concours.
“Doug Freedman was the quintessential car guy, but he was so much more than that,” Carmel Mayor Dave Potter was quoted in a Monterey Herald story about Freedman’s death. “Through his outreach and support of Carmel and the surrounding area, he was very highly regarded member of the community despite not being a full-time resident.
“It’s a shocking tragedy to lose Doug so suddenly, which reminds us of the fragility of life and how important it is to live every day to the fullest. Doug embodied this, and it’s how he will be gratefully remembered.”
The Carmel Concours was held in August after having been canceled for 2020 along with all other Monterey car events because of COVID-19.
“Doug said this most recent concours, with the amount of work that went into it to keep it COVID compliant and provide all the pandemic precautions, was the year of which he was most proud,” Holly Zoller, president and chief executive of the Carmel Foundation, was quoted by the Monterey Herald. The foundation was the recipient of $480,829 in charitable funds raised by the event.
While Freedman was known for his passion for Ferrari sports cars, he designed the Concours on the Avenue to be an egalitarian event welcome to all, emphasizing vehicles that typically would be overlooked by other, more-exclusive Monterey shows and auctions.
In the Monterey Herald item, Freedman is remembered for his community involvement, kindness and masterful organizing abilities, which he most certainly used in the creation and continued coordination of an event that has become a mainstay of Monterey Car Week.