The week leading up to the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is so loaded up with car shows and concours that it’s nearly impossible to attend them all. A great problem to have, considering that each is pretty special and, with few exceptions, could be a standalone event anywhere else.
But Monterey Car Week is the great gathering of the collector car clan, and there is enough interest and participation to maintain this high level of events, and to make them some of the best in the country. Whatever the special niche of your collector car universe, there’s likely to be something here that will scratch that old-car itch.
Ticket prices range from several hundred dollars to absolutely free.
Here, in somewhat consecutive order, is a list and description of major car shows and concours happening during the week on the Monterey Peninsula, which culminates in the granddaddy of them all, the annual Pebble Beach Concours, now in its 67th year.
Carmel Concours on the Avenue, on Tuesday, August 15, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. – This lovely and laid-back show is a fitting opening shot for the week’s events. About 175 vintage vehicles comprising the gamut of collector cars are on display on the leafy downtown streets of Carmel by the Sea, creating a walkable showcase adjacent to the quaint shops and restaurants of this upscale burg. Ferraris, Porsches, hot rods, antiques, classics, muscle cars, motorcycles, VW microbuses, you name it, it most likely will be there. The show is highlighted by a presentation stage for award winners. The price is right at free. Parking can be an issue, so try to get there early. For information, visit the website.
Carmel Mission Classic, on Wednesday, August 16, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Located on the grounds of the historic San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission in Carmel, this is something of a local car show that brings out some of the most interesting vintage vehicles from the area. In keeping with the religious surroundings, the show is highlighted by a blessing of the cars and presentation by a Knight of Columbus color guard. As an added attraction, there is wine tasting from local vineyards throughout the show. Tickets are $50 each, which includes the wine tasting and benefits the Knights of Columbus and Carmel Mission Charities. For information, visit the website.
The Little Car Show, on Wednesday, August 16, from noon to 5 p.m. – One of the most fun and unpretentious shows on the Monterey Peninsula, this display in downtown Pacific Grove brings an arcane collection of about 100 of the smallest members of the collector car community: micro cars, mini cars, little sports cars, all of them at least 40 years old and with engines smaller than 1,601 cc. Many of these dinky vehicles from around the world are surprising and delightful, and will be particularly favored by the younger members of your family. And it’s free. For information, visit the website.
Gordon McCall’s Motorworks Revival, on Wednesday, August 16, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. – The key party event during the week, with tickets that are pricey and usually sold out, the Motorworks Revival takes place at the Monterey Jet Center among a collection of modern aircraft, vintage war planes, vintage sports cars and modern exotics, as well as top luxury cars from a number of brands. Fine wines, great food, celebrity sightings, high-end mingling, all for $395 for a VIP ticket or $550 for Red Carpet admission, with proceeds benefiting the California Highway Patrol 11-99 Foundation. For information, visit the website.
Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance, on Thursday, August 17, 7 am to 3 pm – Everyone can get a look at the rarefied collection of about 200 automobiles from the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance as they go out on the road for a 70-mile tour of the Monterey Peninsula and the coastal area. Most of the concours cars take part, and there are three ways to see them for free: Between 7 and 9 am as they line up to depart on Portola Road in Pebble Beach; while the cars are under way, running under their own power as they were meant to be, at various locations along the route; or parked on Ocean Avenue in Carmel from noon to 2 pm while the ralliers take a break for lunch (the Carmel stop gets very crowded so plan to arrive early to find a parking spot). For information and a map of the route, visit the website.
Porsche Works Reunion, on Friday, August 18, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. – For all fans of the fabled sports cars of Stuttgart, more than 500 of them are expected to show up for the fourth annual mounting of this impressive show. Take note that the venue has changed, now held at the Corral de Tierra Country Club near Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, where historic racing will be under way. In past years, aside from the historic show cars on display, there has been a veritable sea of 911s and 356s stretching off into the distance. Admission is free, although in the past, there has been a charge for parking. That might have changed with the new venue. For information, visit the website.
Legends of the Autobahn, on Friday, August 18, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. – For another dose of German car mania, this eighth annual show of Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Audi vehicles, as well as some others – it’s open to all German-made cars – is a relaxed concours d’elegance of about 400 vehicles held at the Nicklaus Club-Monterey in Monterey. Past shows have presented some remarkable examples of vintage German engineering, although this year’s featured classes have not been announced. For information, visit the website.
The Quail: A Motorsports Gathering, on Friday, August 18, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. – Just 5,000 tickets priced at a lofty $650 each are offered for the exclusive showing of great cars, fabulous food and drink, so if you haven’t gotten your ticket by now, you’re most likely out of luck. Too bad, because The Quail is considered a gathering of eagles during Monterey Car Week, with a superb contingent of vintage sports cars and race cars presented in the gorgeous setting of the Quail Lodge and Golf Club in Carmel. Plus, the added attraction of a cacophonous drive-through of vintage race cars from nearby Laguna Seca. And usually some celebrities to ogle. For information, visit the website.
Pacific Grove Rotary Concours Auto Rally, on Friday, August 18, noon to 8 pm – This popular event combines a car show with a driving tour. Vintage cars of any marque assemble at noon on Lighthouse Avenue in Pacific Grove for a show that continues through 4:30 pm, followed by an evening drive that includes 17-Mile Drive. The rally cars return to Pacific Beach where their occupants are treated to a an optional barbeque dinner. Participants must register ahead of time, but spectators are permitted to walk in for free. For information, visit the website.
Concours d’LeMons, on Saturday, August 19, from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. – Just for fun, this contrarian anti-concours celebrates the dregs of the collector car world. The ugly, the mundane, the weird, the decrepit, cars that would be mocked in any other setting, here they vie for bargain-basement awards in an otherwise lovely setting at Seaside City Hall. The last shall be first, and the worst shall win best of show. Free, and worth every penny. For information, visit the website.
Concorso Italiano, on Saturday, August 19, from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. – To recover from LeMons, here is a field of sheer beauty from the land of beautiful cars: Italy. The field will glow with about 1,000 mostly sports cars and exotics, mostly red, with a massive contingent of Ferraris from all eras, Lamborghinis celebrating the 50th anniversary of vertically opening doors (think Miura), Alfa Romeos, Lancias, DeTomasos, Fiats, plus Vespa scooters and a few surprises appearing on the scenic hills of Black Horse Golf Course in Seaside. Being an Italian festival, there is fine food, wine, music and a fashion show. Tickets are $175, which includes parking and a goodie bag. For information, visit the website.
Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, on Sunday, August 20, 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. – What started out 67 years ago as an adjunct to a road race through the trees on 17-Mile Drive has become one of the world’s greatest collector car gatherings of all time, and a common entry on any gearhead’s bucket list. In the spectacular setting of the 18th fairway of the Pebble Beach Golf Links alongside Carmel Bay, about 200 vintage cars assemble in an array of sheer automotive artistry.
Among the special classes this year are Ferrari racing champions, Ferrari One-Off Specials, the cars of Isotta Fraschini, coachwork of Castagna and American Dream Cars of the 1960s. Ferrari also celebrates its 70th anniversary with a special display of significant cars.
Despite the $325 ticket price, or $750 if you want to be treated like a VIP, Pebble gets very crowded with spectators, which can make viewing some cars or taking photos challenging. True diehards climb out of bed at O dark thirty to join the Dawn Patrol to witness the vehicles being driven out onto the field, which is a spectacle like no other. For information, visit the website.