Monterey Historic Automobile Races - 2001
By Ron Martin

Last year my brother and I went to the races at Laguna Seca for the first time. Two days weren't enough, so this year we went for the practice races too.

As we watched the races, we realized we had seen many of the same cars at Riverside Raceway when they were new. I guess we must be classics ourselves by now.
If you enjoy the sights and sounds of the classics (autos that is) I can't imagine anyplace better than Laguna Seca in August.

The same weekend, in addition to racing, other activities included a collector car auction and a Concours at nearby Pebble Beach.

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Bentley, the featured marque, was represented by a factory display and automobiles from England as well as the U.S.A. Between two races these beautiful machines paraded for a few laps around the track.

Truly a milestone vehicle, a 1901 Ford that was driven by Henry Ford in a race, setting a record of 48 MPH. This helped get recognition and financing to set up the Ford Motor Co. It was driven around the track by Edsel Ford II. When he was interviewed over the PA system, you could hear the excitement in his voice.

The races begin with the older cars and progress through street and race cars of all sizes and power. It was interesting to note the increasing speed as the cars became more sophisticated. The last race on Sunday was the Trans-Am racers with the Mustangs, Cameros etc. shaking the stands with their power. Although I can't prove it, I imagine every driver was thrilled no matter what car he drove.
Unfortunately, the lone Healey 100 only completed 2 laps. The Nash-Healey faired better, finishing its race.

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The vendor area had a good selection of books, clothing, prints, and model cars. There were displays by BMW, Shelby, and Chrysler as well as food & drink. The paddock area is a great treat. It allows you to get closer to the machines and people.
One reason I didn't drive my Healey was the parking. It is in open fields suitable for all but low-clearance vehicles. Perhaps with 2002 being the golden anniversary, the National Club(s) could reserve space in the car corral, which is smoother and closer to the track than many other parking areas.

If you think you might want to attend next year, it is never too early to make room reservations. I made room reservations last February and as close as I could get was thirty miles away.
There are many other things to do and see in the area. I recommend the Monterey Aquarium.

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