Donald Osborne is an opera singer, museum CEO, international business owner and one of the voices of the Concours on the Avenue in Carmel, California. He knows cars and people and the gift of gab.
Osborne recently returned from Europe but in plenty of time for Monterey Auto Week. The coronavirus and its variants are in different stages in Italy and England, where he attended globally renowned automotive events.
On Tuesday morning, Aug. 10, the proprietor of Audrain Auto Museum in Newport, R.I., was in his usual perch nearly the judging platform on Ocean Avenue, looking dapper in his official blazer, bowtie and Panama hat.
Osborne was among four guests co-host Bruce Aldrich and I spoke with him during the first of our three days of days attending Monterey Auto Week.
“This year we are in a different place,” said Osborne, a short while before he sang the national anthem. “It’s a testament to both the strength of this event and the enthusiasm for cars that people will do what they have to do come and share an event like with other people.”
The Concours on the Avenue, abiding by amended COVID-19 regulations, required attendees to show proof of being vaccinated or were required to wear a mask. Car owners, officials and car enthusiasts in attendance with proof of vaccination were light blue paper wristbands.
Monterey Auto Week: Classic Cars, Classic Owners
Show attendees moved through vaccine stations with short lines and with no longer than brief delays. Enthusiastic covid rule compliance was matched only by the enthusiasm for the oxymoron of common rare cars — Ferrari to Porsche — to rarities even unfamiliar to industry devotees in attendance.
Bruce and I also spoke with Kit and Rick Franke, owners of a 1960 Buick Electra 225 and David and Pam Hibbert, owners of 1974 Jaguar Type E 4.2 liter. Its Regency Red exterior was as eye-catching as the Buick and its black sheen.
Kit and Rick inherited a 1960 Buick Electra 225 and showcased what they call a “land yacht” for the first time at the Concours on the Avenue. The family has owned the vehicle since 1962.
The Buick, 20-feet long, has been upgraded with disc brakes, LED lights and seatbelts. Its exterior black paint is vivid black, a shade making the darkest of dark black enticing.
At the opposite end of Ocean Ave. from the Frankes, the Hibberts sat in short lawn chairs watching over Jaguar. Its Regency Red exterior was as eye-catching as the Buick’s black sheen. We discuss its legacy and Rick’s Jaguar is his native England.
On Wednesday, Aug. 11, Bruce and I attended the Little Car Show in Pacific Grove. Like the Concours on the Avenue, the Little Car Show is free and has the same welcoming atmosphere for those who appreciate vintage cars and trucks
We interviewed Jessica Denecour of Pacific Grove, the owner of a 1947 Crosley Convertible. She bought the car as a retirement gift to herself and now drives the car throughout the Monterey Peninsula, but never on the freeway. Like all vintage car owners, Denecour has plenty of stories to tell about her light blue Crosley.
It’s the way it is during Monterey Auto Week.
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