I was recently invited to Veloce Media’s ‘Open House’ event in Monterey, California. Being a newer venture I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect, but being familiar with organizer Steven Kittrell I knew it would be up my alley. So, I tossed a couple lenses in my bag, tossed my bag in the trunk of Project 345 and hit the road.
When most think of Monterey, they think Car Week and the accompanying high-dollar exotics and concours-type events. On my way down I was anticipating a dash of that energy here, but with more of a true enthusiast base. Simply put, I was hoping to see a bunch of cars that would be fun to drive. I wasn’t disappointed.
Arriving in Monterey my suspicions were confirmed and I was greeted with a pleasant sight: a wood-framed hanager building with a few cars inside, and a small lot packed with more cars out front.
The space itself was quite nice, with thoughtful decorations, a little arcade area, and a glass-walled loft that overlooked it all. Plus, a Mercedes full of flowers and a very colorful wall.
Additionally, there were local lagers from Other Brother Beer available, coffee and pastries from another local outfit Captain + Stoker, and a virtually endless amount of finger food. Can’t say no to any of that.
I’m really enjoying the emergence of these smaller but more curated cars-and-coffee-type events, especially when they aren’t painfully early on a weekend morning. The Veloce Media headquarters hopes to serve as a hub for more and more of these sorts of gatherings as time goes on, and being positioned around all of the Monterey Car Week traffic I think they’re set up quite nicely for this. (Around the corner is sister company Veloce Evaluations’ hangar of cars, too, but that’s a story for a different time.)
The Veloce Media open house was not only a good excuse to get out for a drive, but was a great place to meet other like-minded individuals. I noticed that many more than usual bringing a camera here as well. So rather than taking pictures of cars, I just followed my new friend Coby around taking photos of him taking photos.
Meanwhile in the background here is Mike Grambush, who is the owner of that sweet early E36 M3 with the crazy camera rig shown above. He’s the creative director for Veloce Media and Wolfhead Industries, and is a photographer and filmmaker for both as well.
Actually, I did photograph cars so let’s take a look at a few…Fun Cars Only
The most eye-catching had to be the Lancia Aurelia B20GT, a creation by Thornley Kelham that takes roughly 5,000 hours to complete. The result is an outlaw-style restomod with insane proportions and an equally insane build quality. It retains all of its vintage charm but it has to be a total riot behind the wheel. Apparently just nine will be built, and I’m sure it’s cheap, too.
More important than how much your car is worth, or how many were built, or how many miles it has, is something else: is it fun to drive? Really, quite literally everything that showed up to the Veloce Media open house checked that box. And, each car in its own way.
Probably one of the more attainable cars that came out was this E30, and it’s likely one of the most fun, too. Or how about that V6-powered hot rod with a shifter located outside the cabin? Or a Safari 911? Yes to all that.
I cruised by this sweet Lapisblau E23 over the twists and turns of Highway 17 on my way in, and I parked my own E36 right outside as the lot was full by the time I arrived.
A keen eye might notice that the car is sitting a bit lower than in previous project updates, but more on that a different time. I can personally say, though, that it also qualifies as a fun car.
Or, take that BB 512i that Coby was getting up close and personal with earlier. This isn’t normally a car that I would really think to put in the ‘fun’ category, but a Ferrari flat-12 wide open right behind your head does sound pretty fun, doesn’t it? And look all that sidewall, that wheel-arch gap, that gated shifter, and the stunning Pininfarina styling that brings it all together. It’s truly a car that offers a one-of-a-kind experience.
This example was brought out by a local dealer, Mohr Imports, which is situated just down the road. The car is slated to be one of many special offerings during their annual Monterey Car Week Collection Sale on Bring a Trailer Auctions later this year. That white Porsche with the spicy suspension bits is another.
There was another poster-worthy Ferrari on display indoors, but since the Challenge Stradale didn’t get a manual gearbox I’m not going to talk about it.
All-in-all, it was a morning and afternoon well spent. Meeting up with my dad on Father’s Day weekend for him to take the wheel and rip around on some back roads in the M3 on the way home was just the icing on the cake.
It really doesn’t matter what you drive, so long as you have fun doing it.