A BIG congratulations to the Performance and Classics Enthusiasts of Cebu (PACE) for holding two really great automotive events. They had a Concours D’ Elegance car show at the Montebello Villa Hotel last Oct. 2 and a 1000-kilometer Time, Speed Distance (TSD) Rally last Oct. 3 to 5 dubbed as the Tour de Cebu.
The Concours D’ Elegance was the first proper car show that I have seen since probably the early 90s. In this show, the cars were truly the stars. It was a car show without any skimpy dressed models and loud music. It was just full of nice cars. My favorite car in the show was the Lancia Delta Integrale Evo 2, an iconic car in the WRC right after the Group B era. This was one of the cars I idolized growing up. The Lancia in the hands of Juha Kankkunen having fierce battles with the Toyota Celica GT4 of Carlos Sainz was so epic that these two cars were featured in the Sega Rally video game.
Another car that caught my eye was this really mint and well-preserved 1976 Lotus Esprit. This was the same car used by James Bond 007 in the movie The Spy Who Loved Me.
The show winners were a 1955 Jaguar XK 40, which bagged the People’s Choice Award, Best in Class-Post Historic (1973-present) was a tie between the 1976 Lotus Esprit and 1987 Ferrari 328, and the Best of Show was a 1964 Porsche 356C Coupe.
Other car show organizers should follow the example set by PACE where the car is the star and awards are only for the best of the best. All of the other cars hows today seem to accept any car that wants to be displayed and the organizers hand out awards to almost every single car on display that there are absurd categories such as “Best Race Inspired.”
This year’s Tour De Cebu was much bigger than last year’s. It appears to me that this event will just get bigger and bigger that it will be on the bucket list of every car guy in the country. This 1000-kilometer TSD Rally goes through the best driving roads in Cebu, Negros Oriental and Negros Occidental. The cars that are eligible to join this Rally are historic cars (1972 or older), which makes a 1000-kilometer trip more challenging.
There were very nice cars in the Rally, my favorite being the Mk1 Ford Escort of George Apacible, a Manila entrant. His Escort was just beautiful, with curves in all the right places coming from its rally flares. The engine had twin webers giving it that nice engine note. The car was restored to car show quality but the best part was that he used it in this rally instead of making it a garage queen.
There were 28 participants from Manila and Cebu. During the send-off, the cars were nice, clean and shiny. The drivers had to battle changeable weather where a big part of their Negros stage was in the rain and quite a number of cars had no roofs, soaking the driver. As expected in any 1000-km rally, whether it be new or classic cars, not all will make to the finish. In the Tour de Cebu, seven out of the 28 did not finish due to mechanical issues. There were also a few mishaps, like a car hitting a dog that suddenly darted across the street. I ran into some of the participants who had some problems during the rally at the Port of San Carlos and you could see that despite their troubles, they were still the happiest people on Earth. Getting a scratch here and there or a mechanical breakdown on a classic car in such an event is always better than keeping the car in the garage. Anyways, almost everything is repairable. In the end of it all, the Grand Champion of the Tour De Cebu was Christopher Yu and Dean Bernal (Navigator) in an MGB Roadster. As early as now, there are enthusiasts starting to prepare a classic car for next year’s event.
The Tour de Cebu has brought iconic cars out of the garages and into the roads where they belong. This is one of the best things that has happened in Cebu motoring.