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WOMEN AND CARS: Confessions Of A (Former) Female Car Hater

I don't care about cars -- there I said it. When people ask me what car my husband drives, I answer honestly - I don't know ... but it's orange! (Actually more like the burnt umber color of my last year's lipstick ... but try telling that to a man.)

Cars, for most women, are just a mode of utility transportation ... but for men -- that's a whole other story ... I think God looked down and saw that men weren't busy enough and gave them something to care about in case various sports didn't cut it, or in case they weren't tall enough or confident enough in ... (you know where I'm going with this...) -- thus he graced them with the compulsion to spend their money on fancy cars so they can wax and polish and repair them on Sundays...

But when my husband, Richard, wrote a screenplay about an Italian race car driver, Tazio Nuvolari, and showed me pictures of the period races in the gorgeous landscapes of Italy and France between WWI and WWII -- I had to admit it was 'cool'. Suddenly, the Pebble Beach Concourse d'Elegance, with its combination of a famed golf course and the display of vintage cars, became an item on my husband's bucket list. For me, it was the "d'Elegance" part of it ... I can do Elegance ... Alas, every August, when we realized too late that the Concourse was taking place, we promised ourselves we will do better next year... Finally this year, when I had a big birthday looming in August that I couldn't ignore, and Richard had his coming four days prior, we finally took matters in hand and booked a hotel in April (barely scoring a room) for the event taking place August 12-16. Again, for me it was more of a desire to see Carmel and Monterey after almost two decades in its best 'elegance' mode, while my husband showed a serious fan attitude and brought a carload of various semi professional looking cameras -- which made me both smirk and wish he brought that same kind of devotion to the tasks of everyday married life...

The fun started almost immediately as we set out on the road when suddenly three vintage Alpha Romeos zipped by followed by other cool cars full of good-looking men who looked like they were having the time of their lives ... Richard joined the festivities by calling them as they flew by -- name, make, year, etc, while I, with a degree in Art History, admired the shape, the lines, the styles, the colors ... I have to admit, it was entertaining...

When we arrived via the scenic 17 Miles Drive at the Inn of the Spanish Bay hotel the Wednesday before the main event), we went to hear a lecture/book signing by Peter Mullin about his collection of Lalique hood ornaments. It didn't register with me until I saw my first DuPont car on the Sunday Concourse and was able to impress (I'm sure) the owner, Thomas L. DuPont, with my awesome knowledge of its Lalique hood piece -- score one for moi!

Early on Thursday morning, we rushed to the starting line of the Tour d'Elegance route on the field next to the Lodge at Pebble Beach hotel. The sights of all those old, exquisite cars lined up at the gate while their owners and drivers intermingled with passionate car aficionados, was intoxicating. Still, we didn't have enough of it and we drove to see those cars again as they parked for a couple of hours on Carmel's Ocean avenue for everyone there to see and ogle before they made their way back to the Lodge.

For the next panel, entitled "Mercury Custom", I confess I agreed to trek with Richard only because of its proximity to the glorious Spanish Bay terrace where one can stare into the silver-blueish ocean at sunset while nursing a soothing drink. To my surprise, the room was packed to the brim, as the heroes of the American golden age of custom cars -- when it was cool to personalize your car -- were all there, including George Barris, who with his late brother Sam, cut -- or "chopped" -- the top of their first Mercury. The fanboy excitement of grown men in the room was so palatable that if you closed your eyes, you'd think you were in a rock concert!

And of course, everybody on the panel wrote and pitched their books, and the men couldn't wait to buy them to be signed! Who said men don't read? The next morning (Friday), we woke way too early, I thought, to watch vintage 50's and 60's Ferrari's retrace the old Pebble racing route. Ok...

I only went because a friend of mine, a handsome aristocrat from Modena, Italy, collects, buys and sells million-dollar Ferrari's, and I thought I would score some respect by sending him my selfie with some red Ferraris (no longer an American peasant?...). But when I saw the six red vintage racing Ferraris (trailed by a lone blue) line up, the engines roaring, the blond women in 50's chic scarfs nestled next to their 'brave' drivers in the two-seaters -- again the endorphins kicked in without me having any control over them. I found myself posting my photos and videos on my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram and checking constantly to see how many are sharing my idea of 'cool '... The men friends were the first to send their appreciations. Did someone say the way to men's hearts was via their Ferraris?

And then there was the Sunday main event on the famed, grassy 18th hole of the Lodge's golf course. One after the other, polished and gleaming, lined up against the magnificent blue bay -- those old, elegant cars presented themselves as the works of art that they are: proud of their heritage, their uniqueness and a living testament to the glory of bygone days...

Every car was more beautiful than the other and the owners were sometimes just as colorful and interesting. I was a 'goner' by then ... I took thousands of pictures and videos of every one of them -- owners, drivers and cars ... I was a convert ... I saw the divine...

Back from my trip, I keep admiring, sharing and showing my photos again and again. My husband tells me they are no longer manufacturing his orange car, and I just know that even though I still can't remember the make of it (Chevrolet?) -- it is a keeper. Twenty years from now, this is going to be a classic, and I will own one!

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