Since 1950 when the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance began as a small Sunday afternoon aside to the Pebble Beach Road Races, the event has expanded into a nine-day week dedicated to the celebration of the motor car in all its varieties.
The Sunday judging in which a single car is voted Best of Show (and therefore one of the most valuable classics on the planet) remains the raison d’etre of what is these days called Monterey Car Week – but the build-up to that big moment takes many varied shapes.
It all starts on Friday, August 12 when the team behind Raceway Laguna Seca puts on a display of race cars along Alvarado Street in Monterey.
An entire weekend of Pre-Reunion racing follows (see our race and rally guides) before Porsche fans turn out in force on Monday to make the most of the local dealership’s free-to-see display of classic Zuffenhausen creations brought by enthusiastic owners.
The event coincides with the start of that three-day hoarder’s delight, Automobilia Monterey – allegedly the largest automobilia show in the US – at which dozens of the country’s top dealers offer everything from motoring art to vintage racewear, ephemera and rare spares.
By Wednesday, Monterey’s octane rating is starting to benefit from a serious boost thanks to The Little Car Show in which the streets are taken over by more than 100 ‘micro, mini and arcane’ vehicles with engine capacities no greater than 1601cc.
The whimsically named Prancing Ponies fund-raising party and fashion show for female auto enthusiasts takes place at the same time – after which, just as dusk falls, the event that many regard as marking the ‘true’ start of Monterey Car Week gets underway.
Back in 1991 enthusiasts and long-standing concours lynchpins Gordon and Molly McCall decided to hold an intimate barbecue for a few car-crazy friends.
It grew into a giant event at the Monterey Jet Center and became known as the McCall Motorworks Revival, at which up to 3000 enthusiasts enjoy an evening of revelry among private jets and classic cars.
Last year, however, it was re-named Motorlux after being taken over by classic car insurance giant Hagerty (which had been a partner of the Motorworks Revival for more than 20 years).
The premise, however, remains the same: to showcase the products of some of the world’s leading car, motorcycle and aircraft manufacturers before a willing audience of well-heeled party-goers. Why ‘wellheeled’? Entry tickets cost from £365 per head…
The following day (Thursday) the BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz Car Clubs of America will stage the annual Legends of the Autobahn on the Pacific Grove Golf Links, where more than 300 German classics will be proudly displayed before the public – and a team of Teutonically pedantic concours judges.
Over at the Pebble Beach Golf Club, meanwhile, the first of a series of classic car forums set to run over three days gets underway. Taking place in the Concours Village, these forums involve talks, panel discussions and presentations being given by top names in the industry, with the chance to ask questions at the end.
On Friday, many Car Week visitors will be preoccupied with auction viewing (see page 144) and at Quail Lodge and Golf Club off Carmel’s Valley Greens Drive the traditional garden party atmosphere will prevail at The Quail – A Motorsports Gathering where hundreds of collectible cars and motorcycles will be displayed on the greens and fairways. This year’s themes will be Cars of Curiosity and the 50th anniversaries of the Alfa Romeo Montreal and the Citroën SM.
The day is also marked by the largest gathering of Porsche cars at the Bayonet & Black Hole golf course (McClure Way, Seaside) for the annual Werks Reunion organised by the Porsche Club of America. Spectators may wander around free of charge from the start (at an enthusiastic 7am – although parking costs £32.
“A nine-day week celebrating the car in all its varieties”
Car addiction still not satisfied? In that case you’ll still have Saturday in which to visit Exotics on Broadway – a remarkable display of modern supercars, hypercars and general motoring items of interest that last year attracted a crowd of around 35,000 – as well as dropping in on the annual Ferrari Owners Club gathering at The Barnyard in Carmel and the Concorso Italiano, which celebrates not just Italian cars, but the whole world of Italian style.
And, in order to stay slightly in touch with reality before the main Pebble Beach Concours itself the following day, it’s always worth making a trip to the Concours de Lemons (also known as the 24 Hours of Lemons), that entertaining display of weird, wonderful, out-of-the-ordinary cars where absolutely anything goes (and sometimes doesn’t).
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
12 – Monterey Kick-off Cruise Alvarado Street, Monterey
13 – Monterey Pre-Reunion races Raceway Laguna Seca (until Sunday)
15 – Porsche Monterey Classic 1718 Del Monte Boulevard
Automobilia Monterey 1441 Canyon Del Rey Boulevard (until Thursday)
17 – The Little Car Show Lighthouse Avenue, Pacific Grove
Hagerty Motorlux Monterey Jet Center (evening)
Prancing Ponies Car Show Carmel by the Sea
18 – Legends of the Autobahn PG Links, Asilomar Boulevard
Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion Raceway Laguna Seca (until Friday)
Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance 17 Mile Drive, Pebble Beach Golf Club
Pebble Beach Classic Car Forum Concours Village, Pebble Beach Golf Club (until Saturday)
19 – The Quail – A Motorsports Gathering Quail Lodge & Golf Club, Valley Greens Drive
Werks Reunion Monterey Pines Golf Club, Greens Drive, Garden Road
Rotary Club Classic Rally Pacific Grove
20 – Exotics on Broadway General Jim Moore Boulevard
Concourse de Lemons Seaside City Hall, Harcourt Avenue
Concorso Italiano Bayonet & Blackhorse Golf Club, McCLure Way
Barnyard Ferrari Gathering The Barnyard Shopping Village, The Barnyard
Pebble Beach Retro Auto(retail event) Concours Village, Pebble Beach Golf Club (until Sunday)
21 – Pebble BeachConcours d’Elegance Pebble Beach Golf Club