Monterey Car Week brings out cars from every era and to fuel every possible shift in automotive interests from the mundane to galactic. You never know what to expect though you will likely to stumble upon some rarely seen unusual automotive creations. Car spotting with a camera is as natural as breathing during car week, here are the crazy fun cars we found and a bit of the automotive design stories behind them.
Okay, are you thinking what I’m thinking? How could you not, the darn thing has torpedo tits! Actually they are proximity sensing units. In 1959 General Motors unveiled the Cadillac Cyclone XP-74 Concept with space age styling equipped with radar and other electronic gadgetry, which more than fifty years later, is common place. Little did they realize what they imagined would be the engineering and technological groundwork of designs we have today. Panoramic roofs seem as close as we’ve gotten to achieving the bubble top, minus the 360° viewing capability, but now we have cameras to achieve this. This marked the end of the designer Harvey Earle’s era, the last of the dream cars.
Once of three examples built this 1964 Alpine M64 Lemans Class winner. This isn’t just another race car either. After winning 12 Hours Of Reims, driver Henry Morrogh recounted how Juan Manuel Fangio, not attending as a driver, took a “lap of honor” with Morrogh after the race around the circuit. These aviation inspired fins were not part of the original build but added after its 1965 retirement from racing when the factory used it a prototype for the A210.
Hard to imagine this 1919 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost Alpine Eagle has the nickname the “Sluggard.” Another rarity, this is the last race car Rolls-Royce built. One can’t help but take a second look, as the story is equally compelling. Apparently in 1911 the executives decided they wanted to achieve a speed record. They designed a streamlined body for a Silver Ghost Alpine Eagle chassis. It worked. They reached 101.4 mph on the quarter mile at Brooklands. Rolls-Royce destroyed the original body. When the current owner purchased the car it had a 1930’s body on it and upon researching the true lineage, had the racing body rebuilt from photos.
This is what 86 sheets of aluminum look like in the hands of a master customizer. Dean Jefferies created the 1963 Mantaray Custom to win the Oakland Roadster Show’s 1964 Tournament of Fame and he did. Bet he never thought he’d have this car at Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance! He blew air into a tube into molten plastic to create this bubble top. Hard to even imagine, isn’t it? The Mantaray is an amalgamation of parts from a Maserati Grand Prix race car, steel tubing and a small block Ford V-8 with Cobra valve covers. Technically a Manta Ray is two words but Jefferies taking artistic license decided it should be spelled as one word on a car.
How is this for automotive ingenuity, long before we had CAD (Computer Aided Design) programs or cameras on our cars? Dream big and be creative, you never know where it will lead.