I will say up front that while I am not really someone who seeks out special roads, I am a fan of road trips in classic cars. In fact, I have driven a classic car of one type or another to Monterey for car week for years. Most of these I have done solo, but at times I have also had a friend come along, which makes the trip that much better.
There is something quite special, even meditative, about this annjal trip to Monterey for me. Sure, it takes a little longer to get there, but this trip is an example where the journey and the destination are of equal importance.
For many of these trips I have lived on the East Coast, so they tend to involve lots of interstate driving and I tend to pick cars that can best accomplish that task. Does this make Interstate 80 my favorite road?
The first time I did this drive, I headed to Monterey in my then new-to-me Ferrari Daytona. This was in 2002, and I did not document the trip with any photos. That being said, with no traffic in sight, I could properly exercise the Daytona. Happily, I made it from Northern Virginia to Monterey without any issues — or tickets.
Another time I started from the Chicago area in an Alfa Romeo GTV6. Again, the expanse of interstate 80 was too much to resist and I had to let the Alfa stretch its legs a little. I was stopped in Wyoming, but only received a warning. The car functioned flawlessly, the only issue being a gas cap that was broken after I dropped it.
Another trip was in the 1966 Volvo 1800S I restored. I drove with my friend and automotive historian and author John Nikas from Connecticut to California. One thing I learned on the trip that was that John was afraid of buffalo, which I really wanted to stop and pet.
We did have a minor issue — a generator failure — but John and I were able to repair it in a Park City, Utah Marriott hotel parking lot.
My most recent cross country to Monterey trip was in my 1984 Porsche 944. This was a car that Peter from Lombardo Motorcars found me that was a true survivor. I had the timing belt, water pump, and engine mounts replaced and got in and drove.
The car was wonderful to drive, the epitome of a Porsche road car and covered the route with ease. I stopped in Omaha along the way and picked up my friend Trent Abbott and we made the rest of the trip together. I got to introduce Trent to a number of fast-food delicacies including Del Taco and In-N-Out Burger.
The last night of the journey we stayed at the Circus Circus Casino in Reno because we are both serious Bond fans. The next day we drove the rest of the way to Monterey, stopping at a Porsche dealer for an oil change and to get a pair of matching Porsche polo shirts to commemorate the trip.
I ended up selling the car in Monterey that week, as I had done with the Volvo. I am likely to have another 944 or, even better, a 924 Turbo in the near future and that might be the next car I take on the route.
But now we have 2020. The plan was that Trent and I would drive to Monterey Car Week in my new-to-me Titanium Silver 2005 BMW Z4 3.0i 6-speed. Covid 19 squashed that plan, and all of Monterey Car Week.
Some people who write for this website disdain driving the interstates, but if you live on the East Coast and have never taken the time to drive to the other coast, the scenery along Interstate 80 is fabulous. Doing the drive in a collector car is a great way to arrive for car week.