HomeEventsMonterey Car Week returns, and here’s our guide to the events

Monterey Car Week returns, and here’s our guide to the events

With so much going on, you need to pick and choose whether you’re there or enjoying from afar


(Editor’s update: The Legends of the Autobahn car show listed below is moving from Carmel Valley Village to the Monterey County Fairgrounds for its event Saturday, August 14, event organizers announced on August 9. The new location is noted below as well.)

Whether you’re actually on the Monterey Peninsula this next week or following events virtually, you need a game plan, and for that, you need a schedule from which to pick and choose. 

By the way, you’ve already missed the opening events of the “week,” the Concours at Pasadera, which was held August 6 at the club at Pasadera in Carmel Valley, and the show of vintage racing cars that evening on Alvardo Street in downtown Monterey. As you read this, they’re revving up their engines for the Monterey Pre-Reunion weekend at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, where more than 300 vintage race cars are getting some track time August  7 and 8 in preparation for the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion races scheduled for August 12-15 (see below).

Before we continue, a word of warning to those who will be on the peninsula: The Monterey Herald reports that  local law-enforcement agencies  are geared up to target those speeding during Monterey Car Week.

“Specifically, for all of the high-performance vehicles that are going to be coming from out of town,” California Highway Patrol officer Jessica Madueño told the newspaper. “We are assuming because last year’s festivities were canceled, the expectation of the attendance is going to be higher this year. So we are having all officers that are available in our area to work this detail as well as asking our adjacent (CHP) areas to come and assist us.”

“We will be taking a zero-tolerance approach,” added Monterey police Lt. Jake Pinkas.

To help traffic flow, an interactive special events calendar and map has been created  and you can get traffic alerts on your smartphone by texting CARWEEK to 888777.

 PB tour lunch
One event that won’t be held this year is the open-to-the-public lunch stop in Carmel by the Sea during the Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance | Bob Golfen photo

The first car show of car week is scheduled from 4 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday in Seaside. It’s the Porsche Monterey Classic at Porsche Monterey, 1781 Del Monte Boulevard, where one of the finalists in the 2021 Porsche Classic Restoration Challenge is scheduled to make its debut. There is no admission charge for the event.

Another free event, though you may have to wear a mask unless you can show proof of covid vaccination or a recent negative test, is the Concours on the Avenue, set for August 10in downtown Carmel by the Sea, where nearly 200 classic and collectible cars are displayed. 

The Concours on the Avenue has become a major event and draws a big crowd, so you’ll want to arrive long before the 10 a.m. starting time if you hope to find a place to park. The show runs until 5 p.m.

Also August 10, the Classic Motorsports Kick-Off car show and cruise shuts down Lighthouse Avenue from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. The show is a low-key and free event in Pacific Grove’s delightful downtown. 

The Little Car Show takes over Lighthouse Avenue in Pacific Grove from noon until 5 p.m. the following day, August 11. As its name indicates, this show features micro and mini vehicles and is scheduled to conclude with a parade of cars to the waterfront.

Also on August 10, and on the 11th, the annual Automobilia Pop-up Show takes place inside the Embassy Suites at Seaside, where for a $10 admission fee you can see the wares of more than 20 vendors in automotive literature, art, models, posters and more.

If you’re wondering why we haven’t mentioned events such as the Carmel Mission Classic, the Prancing Ponies or Exotics on the Avenue, it’s because they are not taking place next week, in part of the uncertainty over the coronavirus pandemic, in the case of the mission, because of a major renovation project. They likely will be back in 2022, and the Prancing Ponies, an event for women and their vehicles, will be in Monterey in late September for a road rally. Also skipping the peninsula this year is Worldwide Auctioneers.

While the Little Car Show is another free event. That’s not the case with McCall’s Motorworks Revival, a dressy soiree and non-inexpensive party staged on the tarmac at the Monterey Jet Center from X until closing on August 10. The event is a place to see and to be seen, and the admission price includes food and beverages, and the chance to be up close to some of the most exotic automobiles and aircraft on the peninsula, and of both vintage and contemporary varieties.

Should you be in the neighborhood of Case Palmero at Pebble Beach around 4:30 p.m. on August 11, you can watch the arrival of the vintage vehicles that have participated in the Pebble Beach Motoring Classic, a 1,500-mile multi-day tour that began August 3 in Kirkland, Washington.

PB tour map 2021
Map of the 2021 Tour d’Elegance. Note: There will be no public lunch stop this year in Carmel

If you haven’t already done so, Thursday, August 11, can be a good time to preview the various collector car auction venues (see below), but the big deal of the day is the Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance. The tour is just that, a driving day featuring the cars that will be competing in the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance on Sunday, August 15, except instead of being displayed on the 18th Fairway of the Pebble Beach Golf Links, they will be out and about on the Monterey Peninsula roadways

To encourage participation, a tour ribbon from Thursday can be the tiebreaker on Sunday should the judges be deadlocks in their best of decisions. 

More than 150 of the concours cars are expected to do the tour, which begins at 9 a.m. from Pebble Beach, but which this year does not include the usual open-to-the-public lunch stop in Carmel by the Sea. The route (see map) also includes Highway 1 to Big Sur and back.

The Tour is a wonderful and free way to see the concours cars, and to see them in action. Pick your spot along the route, park your car and then park yourself in a folding camp chair near the roadway. At many locations, you can even pick up a pamphlet that lists the cars so you know what’s what as they drive past.

If you like to see vintage vehicles moving a high speed, the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion opens August 12 and runs daily through Sunday the 15th at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca between Monterey and Salinas. Featured this year are cars from the historic Trans Am racing series for Detroit pony cars, such as the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Camaro, Dodge Challenger, AMC  Javelin and others.  There also will be a special showcase and exhibition laps by vintage Indy 500 cars from 1963-1978.

2021 PB site map
Map shows various venue locations at Pebble Beach this year

August 12 also marks the opening of events at the Pebble Beach Concours Village, just uphill from the Pebble Beach Lodge and just across Stevenson Drive from the Gooding & Company auction tents and near the Blackhawk Collection Expo sale and the Ford and Mercedes-Benz displays are the Pebble Beach RetroAuto retail village and the site of the Pebble Beach Classic Car Forum, a series of panel presentations and expert interviews on various subjects of interest to the collector car community.

In addition to Ford and Mercedes-Benz, Bugatti, Wagoneer, Lucid, Ferrari and Delage Automobiles will have displays at various places on the Pebble Beach grounds.

August 12 also marks the start of four days of bidding with five collector car auctions on the peninsula this year. Russo and Steele will be at Fisherman’s Wharf, RM Sotheby’s in downtown Monterey, Mecum Auctions is at the Hyatt Regency, Bonhams Auctions is at The Quail Lodge, and Gooding & Company is at Pebble Beach. Collector cars also are being offered for sale (without bidding) during the week at the Blackhawk Collection Expo at Pebble Beach.

Friday August 13 and Saturday August 14 present those on the peninsula with a predicament because you can’t be everywhere at once, but you may wish you were. 

Seeking your attention on Friday are The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering in Carmel Valley; The Porsche Werks Reunion, the Porsche Club of America showcase which this year will be held on the Bayonet Golf Course in Seaside; and the 13th Pacific Grove concours and auto rally, staged by the Rotary Club of Pacific Grove.

The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering will be staged for the 19th time at the Quail Lodge & Golf Club in Carmel Valley, near the site of the Bonhams Auction. In addition to such traditionally classes as pre-war sports and racing, the evolution of the supercar, and sports and racing motorcycles, feature themes for 2021 are the 50th anniversary of the Alfa Romeo Montreal; Automotive Couture: French Cars, featuring the 50th anniversary of the Citroen SM; and Cars of Curiosity.

Also featured will be the unveiling of several new vehicles as well as a “fireside chat” with Formula 1 racing champion Jenson Button.

The event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with awards to be presented at 3:30 p.m. Tickets sell out months in advance, and their price includes access to five luxury lifestyle culinary stations and a variety of wines and other beverages.

For the fourth time, organizers also will present the Car Park Concours de Quailegance Award, “a purely selective and fun award presented to a vehicle selected from the parking lot.” 

The Werks Reunion features Porsches, with a field for judging and hundreds more in the corral where they’ll be grouped by model. The runs all day, with awards ceremony starting at 2 p.m. Admission price including parking is $40 (cash only).

The Chevrolet Camaro is the featured marque for the third car show of the week on Lighthouse Avenue in downtown Pacific Grove. The show, free to spectators, begins at noon and ends at 5 p.m. when the rally begins with the cars off on a scenic route along the shoreline of Pacific Grove and Pebble Beach.

Bayonet golf course
With a view of Monterey Bay, the Bayonet Golf Course in Seaside hosts the Porsche Werks Reunion on August 13 and Concorso Italiano on August 14 | Golf course photo

If you think Friday the 13th was busy, wait until  you get to Saturday the 14th when, in addition to vintage races and auctions, there are the Concours Italiano, the Legends of the Autobahn, the Concours d’Lemons and the Ferrari Owners Gathering and the Ferrari Parade.

The Concours Italiano is a celebration of all things Italian, but especially cars and food, and is being held for the 35th time, and is taking place back at the Bayonet Golf Course in Seaside. As many as 1,000 vehicles will be displayed between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. General admission is $195. 

Featured this year is the 50th anniversary of the DeTomaso Pantera and will include the only Pantera owned by the car’s designer, Tom Tjaarda. Another celebration taking place is the 31st anniversary of the Lamborghini Diablo (the 30th anniversary was to have been celebrated in 2020, but like other Monterey events, the Concorso was canceled last year). Yet another special event this year is the centennial of the Lancia Lambda. 

Staged by the BMW Car Club of America, the Audi Club of North America and the Mercedes-Benz Club of America, Legends of the Autobahn West is a free-to-the-public showcase of German vehicles to be staged at the Monterey County Fairgrounds (not at the Carmel Valley Village as had been announced previously). The event, officially now known as the Legends of the Autobahn West (there’s an East Coast version later this year on Hilton Head Island) is being held for the 11th time. 

The show fields are open to spectators beginning at 3 p.m. and the awards presentations end around 3 p.m. There are awards for BMWs, Audis and Mercedes, as well as an open class for vehicles from other German brands. 

And then there’s the Concours d’Lemons, a different sort of car show, one “celebrating the oddball, mundane, and truly awful of the automotive world.”

The event, from 8 a.m. until 1:30 p.m., is held in an area of Seaside bordered by the library and the DMV office, and you wonder how many of the vehicles on display ever qualified to be road legal and for a DMV from some state or another to agree to grand a license plate for what appears to be more road hazard than road worthy.

The concours is a spinoff of a 24-hour race open only to cars priced at $500 or less. Entrants compete for the Worst of Show (dis)honor.

Regarding the Ferrari Owners Gathering, there actually appear to be two such events taking place. One is the 23rd annual Ferrari Owners Club Gathering, from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m. at the Barnyard Restaurant in Carmel. 

The other is the Ferrari Parade, which begins at 2 p.m. and ends with a showcase of more than cars, Concorso Ferrari, on the 1st Fairway of the Pebble Beach Links golf course at “Casa Ferrari.” 

1954 Ferrari 375
A 1954 Ferrari 375 makes its way back to the show field after its trip across the awards platform at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance | Bob Golfen photo

But wait, there’s more… Much more, because on Sunday, August 15, they’ll finally get to stage the 70th “annual” Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance on the 18th Fairway of the Pebble Beach Golf Links adjacent to Stillwater Cove.

Tickets are $500 (and include shuttle bus transport to the Lodge from various parking lots), but the 2021 event could be the best yet considering the special if delayed anniversary celebration that will include a special showcase for former Best of Show-winning cars, plus another for the cars that won the Pebble Beach road races in the early 1950s. 

Those two groupings are over and above the “usual” array of special classes, which this year include Pininfarina, the Porsche 917, the 50th anniversary of the Lamborghini Countach, Miller racing cars, Iso Rivolta, cars that raced in La Carrera Panamericana in the early 1950s, and early electric vehicles. 

You can arrive at 5:30 a.m. for Dawn Patrol and watch the cars roll onto the 18th Fairway. General admission begins at 10:30 a.m. and the awards presentation runs from 1:30 p.m. until 5 p.m. If you cannot be there in person, you can see what’s happening via the Torque Show livestream from noon until 5 p.m. (Pacific) on pebble.hagerty.com.

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.


    • It appears there were objections from residents near the Carmel Valley Village to hosting a major car show in the community and that the Legends of the Autobahn has been moved to the fairgrounds location. We’re just trying to get official confirmation before we revise the article above. Thanks to Steve for alerting us to the change.

      • Thanks to Jeniffer Kocher for sharing the official news release from the Legends of the Autobahn regarding the move to the Monterey County Fairgrounds.


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