HomeThe MarketFore warned: Monterey Car Week can be expensive

Fore warned: Monterey Car Week can be expensive


Editor’s note: Follow all of the action and updates on our special Monterey Car Week page.

If I want to play golf at my local course, it will cost me about $25, give or take a few dollars for varying rates on weekends, whether I’m walking or riding a cart, and discounts for teeing off late in the day. But if I want to play 18 holes on the Pebble Beach Golf Links, it would cost me more than $500, and that doesn’t count the additional fees for a caddie or a cart.

But there’s a reason for the pricing difference. While my local golf course is nice, it’s not spectacularly located on the shores of the Pacific Ocean, nor is it of such renown that it has been selected in the last half century to host the U.S. Open championship tournament more times than any other layout. 

As they say in real estate, it’s location, location, location, and few locations are as wonderfully spectacular as the Monterey Peninsula in northern California. How spectacular? Consider that 17-Mile Drive is a private road but the scenery is so amazing that visitors eagerly pay more than $10 just to get to drive it.

With premier location comes prime pricing, and it applies not only to driving off the tee or along the roadway but to many of the collector car events taking place during the annual Monterey Car Week, a 9-day celebration of cars and those who cherish them. 

Here are ticket prices for pay-to-enter events taking place during the week:

Carmel Mission Classic

Monterey, Fore warned: Monterey Car Week can be expensive, ClassicCars.com Journal
Carmel Mission concours is set in a historic venue | Bob Golfen photo

The car show and blessing of the automobiles takes place Wednesday, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., at the Mission San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo, located in Carmel-by-the-Sea. The original mission dates to 1797 and is a National Historic Landmark.

The car show takes place within the mission’s walls and is organized by the Knights of Columbus Carmel Mission Council 4593 and annually raises around $70,000 to benefit various charities. 

Admission is $55 and includes a wine tasting and souvenir glass, and the opportunity to stroll throughout the facility and see some amazing vehicles — cars and motorcycles — set against a backdrop of stunning architecture. And there’s the chapel in case you have things to discuss with your Maker.

Among the cars to be shown this year are the 1940 Packard Darrin from the Automobile Driving Museum, a 1927 Packard 343 convertible sedan, the 1951 Hirohata Merc re-creation, a 1958 Packard Rata Hayworth tribute, an Auburn Speedster Kustom, the 1915 La Bestioni Rusty Two, and a 1967 Buick Skylark drag racing Funny Car.

For more information, visit the concours website.

McCall’s Motorworks Revival

Monterey, Fore warned: Monterey Car Week can be expensive, ClassicCars.com Journal
Cars and aircraft share the tarmac at McCall’s Motorworks Reunion

You’ve heard that there are places to see and to be seen? Well, this is one of them. For nearly 30 years, Gordon McCall has been inviting friends to a Monterey Car Week kickoff party at the Monterey Jet Center, and for more than a decade the event has become a major fund-raiser for the 11-99 Foundation that supports California Highway Patrol families through grief and financial crisis. 

The “showfield” (AKA airport tarmac and adjacent huge hangar) provides a mix of vintage aircraft, as well as classic and contemporary ground-bound vehicles, plus California cuisine, wine, desserts and coffee. This being a luxury lifestyle event, it’s not unusual for a celebrity or two to show up. 

Admission for the Revival, which runs from 5 to 10 p.m., starts at $425 and runs up to $770 for red-carpet treatment and an afterparty. 

For more information, visit the revival website.

Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion

Monterey, Fore warned: Monterey Car Week can be expensive, ClassicCars.com Journal
Vintage racers roar around the track for four days | Rolex photo

It was auto races through the Del Monte Forest and an accompanying car show that got all this Monterey Car Week stuff started back in the early 1950s. Later, when the race cars were considered vintage and there was a real race track built at Laguna Seca, the Monterey Historics were born. The vintage races now run under the banner of the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion and they provide four days of action on one of the world’s most famous racing circuits (be sure to climb up to the Corkscrew).

Also, dress in layers, because it can be chilly in the morning and broiling by mid-day at this inland location.

A four-day “Flagroom” admission costs $450, or a simply four-day general admission ticket is $170. Three nights of camping at the track run $150. General admission is $30 on Thursday, $60 on Friday, $90 on Saturday and $70 on Sunday. You also can pay extra for preferred parking.

And while the Reunion is the big show, don’t overlook the Monterey Pre-Reunion, a practice and racing session the previous Saturday and Sunday featuring 300 cars, many of the same vehicles that compete in the Reunion, and admission is only $30 each day, with on-track activities from 8 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. except for the 12:30-1:15 lunch break.

Visit the track website for more information.

The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering

Monterey, Fore warned: Monterey Car Week can be expensive, ClassicCars.com Journal
Peninsula hotel group and its inflatable bellboy sponsor annual car show at The Quail

The most expensive ticket of the Monterey Car Week isn’t what it costs to attend the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, which is the reason for the week to be taking place. It’s the $950 it costs to enter The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering. But you don’t need to concern yourself with that now because all 3,000 of those tickets were distributed by lottery back in February (though you can get on the waiting list for 2019, if you want).

Oh, there are still options for 2018; a $2,500 Patron Ticket is available, as is the $4,000 The Quail Helicopter ticket, and half of each of those prices goes directly to Rancho Cielo, the designated charity for this, the second of Gordon McCall’s Monterey week festivities.

Held on the grounds of The Quail Lodge in Carmel Valley on Thursday from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., the Motorsports Gathering is staged on behalf of The Peninsula hotel group and features perhaps the most amazing cars on the planet this side of the Pebble Beach Concours. 

Featured this year are 70 years of the Porsche 356, The Great Lancias, The Great Ferraris, the 50th anniversary of Lamborghini’s Espada and Islero, and The Alois Ruf Reunion, as well as a variety of other classes full of their own spectacular vehicles of two and four wheels.

But this car festival is also a food fest with access to a variety of amazing themed dining experiences included in the admission. 

For more information, and to get in on the 2019 ticket lottery, visit the reunion website.

Concorso Italiano

Monterey, Fore warned: Monterey Car Week can be expensive, ClassicCars.com Journal
Concorso Italiano celebrates — what else? — Italian cars and lifestyle | Bob Golfen photo

On Saturday of Monterey Car Week, the Black Horse Golf Course at Seaside ignores birdies and eagles and aces in favor of Prancing Horses and cars with fighting bulls and serpents and such in a celebration of Italy, its automobiles (more than 800 will be on display) and its food and fashion, the annual Concorso Italiano.

Running from 9:30 a.m. until 5 p.m., general admission is $180, though there’s a CI Club ticket for $495 that includes breakfast, lunch, cocktail, cigar and more, including VIP parking.

Featured classes for 2018 and the 33rd Concorso Italiano are the Alfa Romeo Giulia Super, Lancia Fulvia, Iso Rivolta and the 50th anniversaries of the Ferrari Daytona and Lamborghini Espada and Islero.

In addition to featured vehicles, the event will present the Doug Magnon Award in memory of the founder of the Riverside International Automotive Museum and his amazing collection of Italian cars. 

“Doug Magnon drove his cars, they didn’t sit,” organizers note. “The Preservation Award will be for the owner who was never tempted to upgrade or enhance the cars, but is always tempted to take them on long winding roads.”

For more information, visit the concorso website.

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance

Last, but far from least, the reason for the week — the 68th Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, a car show held in the spectacular setting of the 18th fairway of one of the world’s most famous golf courses with the Pacific Ocean as a backdrop. 

Tickets are $325 — if you bought one early. On August 1, they jumped to $375. Your ticket includes admission to the show beginning at 10:30 a.m., plus shuttle service to and from parking lots, and an event program. 

In addition to the usual array of the world’s finest motorized vehicles, special classes this year include Motor Cars of the Raj, Rollston Coachwork, OSCA, Tucker, Postwar Custom Citroen and Vintage-Era Sporting Cars.

In addition to the concours vehicles, you can wander around the resort grounds to see concept vehicles from automakers and design specialists and to visit various displays set up by luxury and sports car makers from around the world. 

For more information, visit the concours website.

But wait, there’s more…

Monterey, Fore warned: Monterey Car Week can be expensive, ClassicCars.com Journal
Worldwide Auctioneers offers cars up for bidding in Pacific Grove

Some of the most stunning — and stunningly expensive — cars you’ll see all week are those being offered up for bidding at the various auctions taking place on the Monterey Peninsula.

While Rick Cole, who staged the first collector car auction at Monterey, is taking a year off, there still will be plenty of auction action, beginning Thursday at 10 a.m. on the Del Monte Golf Course at the Hyatt Regency Monterey where Mecum Auctions will offer the largest docket on the peninsula, with several hundred vehicles being sold through Saturday. Tickets are $23 per day when purchased in advance through a website.

Also Thursday, beginning at 3 p.m. on Fisherman’s Wharf in downtown Monterey, Russo and Steele stages its sale that runs daily through Saturday. Tickets are $30 per day.

At 5 p.m. Thursday, Worldwide Auctioneers sale at Pacific Grove Golf Links, which are on the tip of the Monterey Peninsula as it juts out into the water. Preview viewing is $35 and auction-day admission is $100, which covers two people and includes an auction catalog.

Friday at 10 a.m., Bonhams starts its annual one-day collector car auction held at The Quail Lodge. Admission is $150 and includes two people and a catalog.

Friday at 5 p.m., Gooding & Company opens its Pebble Beach auction, held on Polo Fields on the grounds of the resort. A second day of sales begins at 11 a.m. Saturday. Admission is $40 per person, although for $100 you get a catalog and admission for two people both days. For $200, you also get two reserved seats and a bidder’s number.

Friday at 5:30 p.m. at the new Monterey Conference Center downtown Monterey, RM Sotheby’s begins its annual auction, with a second day of bidding at the same time on Saturday. Admission to the preview days is $40. Admission during bidding is open to those consigning cars and to those bidding on them. Bidder registration is $300 and includes an auction catalog and admission for two people.

Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Recent Posts