Monterey Car Week

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The Madness that is Monterey

by Dan Davis of Victory Lane Magazine

Exotic Ferraris, Jaguars, Aston Martins, Corvettes, Mustangs, a Lotus, Porsches, Maseratis passing us on Highway 101, just a reminder as we drove south from the San Francisco area through the hills and valleys of Steinbeck country toward the Monterey Peninsula that the Monterey Car Week was beginning.   With over two dozen major events it is a busy week.  

On the first Friday there is the Concours at Pasadera, a beautiful club near Laguna Seca where 100 cars are arranged in a tree studded meadow for an impressive display.  Late on Friday there are race cars glistening in the late afternoon sun lining downtown Monterey’s Alvarado Street, having journeyed out from WeatherTech Monterey Laguna Seca promoting two weekends of vintage and historic racing.

Photos Tom O’Neal courtesy Rolex

The Saturday and Sunday Pre-Reunion races give teams from far and near a time to enjoy but also a time for a last minute check that equipment is ready for next weekend’s Reunion.  

Automobilia Monterey begins on Monday morning for three days held in Seaside at the Embassy Suites Hotel ballroom.  Exhibitors display event posters, race photos, race themed paintings, sculptures, books, original literature, race programs, race results sheets from pro and amateur races long ago.  The Porsche Monterey Classic is also on Monday in the small town of Seaside on the south side of Monterey Bay.  Porsches of every age and time are there for the enthusiast.  

Wednesday, August 17 at the Monterey Jet Center located in the centre of the 10 X 20-mile Monterey peninsula, was the debut of the Hagerty Motorlux show of race cars, collector cars and jets along with food and wine at a premium price with limited entry numbers. Also held on Wednesday is the annual Little Car Show in the town of Pacific Grove at the north side of the peninsula.  Lining the main street every year in mid-week, are hundreds of micro and mini cars.  One of the wonders of the week.

On Wednesday the sounds of racing cars at speed return to WeatherTech Raceway to begin the famed four-day Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, the event that started all this back in 1972.  This year in a new format race cars are on-track once a day in the 14 race groups Wednesday through Saturday. 

On Thursday the annual Legends of the Autobahn Concours is at PG Links Golf Course in Pacific Grove.  It attracts every sort of German car.  On Thursday in the town of Carmel-by-the-Sea is also the Prancing Ponies Car Show for all cars owned by women.  The location overlooking Carmel Bay is spectacular as are the cars.

On Friday in Carmel Valley is The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, with upscale racing cars, upscale food and drink in an upscale spectacular setting at The Quail Lodge Golf Club.  Limited entry. Price is upscale.

The Werks Reunion for Porsche on Friday has long been the special Porsche Club of America show.  All Porsche club members, Porsche owners and Porsche enthusiasts are invited.  

Saturday sees the whimsical Concours d’Lemons.  It is for oddball, weird and truly awful cars, running or not.  These are cars that speak to their owners in some way.  In the spirit of the event judges David Hobbs, Wayne Carini and Pete Brock accepted bribes!  Top award is Worst of Show.  Concorso Italiano is one of the longest running judged concours in Car Week.  It was held at Bryonet Gold Course, Seaside.  It is for only the best of Italian sports cars, race cars and collectable cars.

Saturday this year capped the racing, with organisers declaring Sunday as a community day with admission only $35, children free.  There are special displays and activities, including the reverse direction hillclimb with 60 cars entered.

On Sunday is the traditional Pebble Beach Concours d’Élégance at Pebble Beach Lodge filling the lawns of the lodge overlooking the sea with spectacular cars.  Winner of the Best of Show Award this year was the 1932 Duesenberg J Figoni Sports Torpedo shown by Lee R. Anderson Sr. 

These stories are all from the pages of Historic Motor Racing News.  Some have been abbreviated for this web site.  If you'd like to receive the full version, please visit our subscription page where you will find postal subscriptions available.  A full subscription also entitles you to access the current issue online (available soon), so you can take it with you and read it anywhere, and we are working on providing full access to our archives of back issues exclusively for our subscribers.