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“It was spectacular,” said Cappo de Concorso Tom McDowell. “It was really good.”

McDowell lists this as the 31stConcorso Italiano, the eighth since he took it over, and we can’t believe this thing has been going on for that long. What started as a gathering of Maserati enthusiasts in the parking lot of the hotel they all stayed at before Pebble is now huge. HUGE! Hundreds of Italian cars line two long fairways at the Bayonet Blackhorse Golf Course in sometimes-sunny Seaside, California.

Concorso is now slowly growing in prestige as well as size, a real force to be reckoned with, as evidenced by two spectacular concept cars: the Disco Volante by Touring and a concept by Ken Okuyama, both of which crossed the stage to oohs and aahs.

Another significant car was this year’s Best of Show, a car that would easily have been at home on the 18th green at Pebble – a 1958 Ferrari 250 GT Tour de France. Not only did it look impeccable, it drives well, too, according to Brendan Gallaher, who owns the car with Michel Stern.

“It’s great,” said Gallaher. “It’s really balanced, the steering is light, it brakes well, it sounds nice.”

Indeed, the crowd at the award ceremony got to hear it revving on the ramp for several minutes.

“Oh, it doesn’t overheat,” said restoration specialist and the TdF’s driver Rex Nguyen, who noted the car was painted only two days before.

1911 National Speedway Roadster

There was more: There are always anniversaries on which to hang significance to any car event and this year there were six 50th anniversaries, including, most significantly, the Golden Jubilee of the Lamborghini Miura.

“Arguably the first supercar, the Lamborghini Miura was a game-changer,” wrote McDowell in his welcome letter to Concorso faithful. “It was the first mid-engine car designed and produced for street driving. It shocked the automotive world when it was introduced, quickly establishing Automobili Lamborghini as a force in Italy and beyond.”

And, unlike us, it still looks just as sexy now as it did in 1966. There was an entire row of Miuras on the upper fairway. It seemed like about half of them were that electric green that could probably be seen from across the bay in Santa Cruz. So cool.

This was also the 50th anniversary of the Fiat 850 and 124 Spiders (ask Cory Farley about those cars, he owned one, possibly two). The DeTomaso Mangusta came along in 1966, as did the Alfa Romeo Spider/Duetto and Ferrari even contributed the 330 GTC and GTS.

If you want to complain, you could say that all those fun and funky little Etceterinis we always loved seem to be all but gone at Concorso, pushed out by the usual tidal wave of 348s, 355s and Gallardos. How hard would it be to reach out to those owners and get them to push, tow or trailer some more of those magnificent little post-war engineering triumphs? Maybe cut them a deal on registration fees or something? (There we go spending McDowell’s money again). There were also far fewer of those little low-budget home-made picnics sprouting up amidst all the parked cars on all that grass. We counted exactly one. There used to be a lot more. Quaintness, that’s what we want!

But you can’t please everyone.

McDowell promises even greater things for next year — not more cars, he said, but better cars, building on the two concepts and the higher quality of the best entries this year. He has also sworn off that Palm Springs Concours from last winter (remember that debacle?).

“No more Palm Springs,” he said. “It’s strictly Concorso.”

And that’s a good thing.