Monterey Reflections – 2010

Some changes have taken place with the “Monterey Historics” since General Racing turned the reins over to SCRAMP (Sports Car Racing Ass’n of the Monterey Peninsula). They include:

  • The official name is now the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion.
  • Official practice sessions started on Thursday – making this more of a four-day event.
  • The field of entrants has increased by half. More than 700 cars were entered in 19 separate classes – compared with 450 in previous years.
  • Some classes have been re-configured – the two classes of pre-WWII cars have been combined into one.
  • Attendance at the Monterey “Pre-Historic Races” that take place the previous weekend are now open to the public (for a price), and have been re-named the Pre-Reunion.

Allards remain in Class 3B – 1947-1955 Sport Racing and GT Cars over 2500cc, with two Allards entered in the 2010 RMMR. However one of the entrants had to change plans due to family health issues.

This left Al Reynolds and his 1947 L-Type Special as this year’s sole Allard standard bearer. Al’s car started life as an L-Type, but received a new body after suffering severe damage from a 1955 accident in the UK. Al has owned it since the early 1960’s. (See  PDF Archives, issues 28 and 32 which detail the history of this car). Despite the fact that the car ran well and Al was obviously having a great time during Friday’s practice session, they discovered a lug nut problem on Sunday morning. Too late for Al to get suitable replacement parts, so he prudently decided to remain in the pits.

Laguna Seca is famous for turns 8 and 8A – “The Corkscrew” – a sharp left turn at the crest of the hill, followed immediately by a hard, downhill right. Many race drivers – especially novices – experience an “Oh-my-God!” instant as they get into Turn 8 when the track, including Turn 8A, suddenly drops out of view. They are instructed to focus on a particular oak tree to recover their composure and get lined up for 8A.

Al and Ursula Reynolds, accompanied by Cordell Bahn and Chuck Warnes made a trek up the hill on Sunday morning to leave a memorial at the base of that very oak tree, and share a toast (beer – what else?) in memory of our good friend, ‘Cottonwood’ Bob Lytle.

Speaking of Bob – his black Buick-powered J2X was the only Allard that went across the block at the Monterey auctions that weekend. Bob’s Allard (lot #230) brought $270K at RM Auctions.

Six of Bob’s cars were consigned to RM. The other five were fruits of Bob’s fruitful and whimsical imagination, and are all vividly illustrated on the website. They include the ’35 Ford that he imported from New Zealand, and ‘hot rodded’ with a modified Ford V-8 ‘60’ engine (lot 101), a ’63 Morris Minor ‘woodie’ (lot 202), an MGB-powered ’51 Triumph Mayflower (lot 203), a ’72 Honda 600 taxicab (lot 201), and a ’70 Subaru 360 police car (lot 384). The Subaru even sports a front-end bullet hole, ostensibly from some low-speed chase – or maybe from Bob’s quirky sense of humor. This car was that last one sold at this year’s RM Auction in Monterey. To celebrate, three RM employees jammed themselves inside the tiny sedan as they drove it on to the stand, with lights flashing and siren blaring.

Throughout the weekend we welcomed the chance to visit with Allard owners who were running other equipment. They included Bernard Dervieux with his two-cylinder ’55 Deutsch Bonnet, Cordell Bahn and his ’27 Bugatti Type 35C, and Alan Patterson who was racing his ‘34 Lagonda Rapier and his ‘62 Lotus 22. Alan shared more of his memorable experiences with running his J2X in the 7th Grand Prix de Monaco Historique this past May. (See our September 12, 2010 post on for some great on-car video of Alan racing around the streets of Monte Carlo).

We again enjoyed the chance to visit with Alan Tiley at Thursday’s Tour d’Elegance gathering in Carmel. Matt Grebe and his family had an intriguing V8-‘powered’ BBQ grill set up adjacent to Al’s pits, and Matt was giving us an enthusiastic update on his J2 project which he hopes to be racing by this time in 2011. We, together with Bob Lytle’s daughter and son-in-law, were at the RM Auctions on Friday evening – which also gave us a chance to meet up with Dave Cammarano (previous owner/racer of Tom Carsten’s second J2, #15), and Alan Beall, who gave us an update on his J2X restoration project, and with Jerry Lettieri, owner of the ex-Duntov J2.

Our family has been attending the ‘Monterey Historics’ (sorry, but old habits die hard) since the late ‘70s, and this is the first time in our memory that race fans have not been treated to the thrill of watching a pack of Allards on the track. We truly hope that 2011 will see a resurgence of the racing Allards.

By Chuck Warnes