For one very special week, the streets of Monterey and Carmel are clogged with classic cars, and the Monterey Peninsula plays host to the greatest car show in America. Here's everything you need to know about the scene, and the details no self-respecting enthusiast can miss.
This may be better than the Concours d'Elegance, because the cars are in motion. Get to Portola Road to send off this crew of mostly prewar dreamboats, coach-built convertibles, grand tourers and multi-million-dollar works of art, driven as they deserve to be. Also, Jay Leno usually greets the crowd while decked out in the finest denim money can buy.
Hands down, Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca is one of the most gorgeous, dramatic, and iconic racetracks in the country. Which makes it a perfect place to see all manners of cars attacking hills: prewar Bugattis, Trans-Am Camaros, and Le Mans prototypes have all turned a wheel around the Andretti Hairpin. Hike up the hill and you'll get the perfect view o the Corkscrew, where the race cars brake as hard as they can, bravely attempt a pass, then roar away with the sound ringing in your ears.
You like Porsches? Of course you do—everyone in Monterey loves Porsches, and loves to drive tastefully. Porsches galore will be descending upon the Rancho Cañada Golf Club this year, especially the revolutionary, groundbreaking, water-cooled ones—you know, the real Porsches. It's the 40th anniversary of the Porsche that saved Porsche, so 924s, 944s and 928s will taking the honors. Honoring the front-engined cars and risking annoying the so-called purists? That's some risky business.
You may need a ticket and a stiff drink and a permission slip from your hedge fund manager to step into the Portola Hotel and Spa, where one of the most prestigious car auctions occurs every year. But fans love to fill up the rotunda outside the Hotel to witness the action, broadcast live from inside. There's nothing like a throng of car nerds collectively gasping across the evening crowd, when they await with bated breath just how much a billionaire is willing to pay for a Ferrari GTO.
What's the best Italian car in all the land? Is it a rarefied Ferrari in Rosso Competizione? Is it a Lamborghini with sky-high doors? Is it a cutesy Fiat or Autobianchi, an obscure Intermeccanica or Bizzarini, or is it a Chrysler's TC by Maserati? Stick around at the Black Horse Golf Course for the premiere gathering of Italian cars, imbibing in the finest food and drink this side of , and you might even learn a thing or two about the wide, wonderful world of Italian-esque cars. Hell, even the Cadillac Allanté club turns up in full force.
For those burnt out on multi-million-dollar Ferraris from the Eisenhower administration, why not head over to Salinas and check out some Chevy Vega Cosworths instead? The fine folks who put on the 24 Hours of Lemons series with $500 race cars have done a punk-rock concours of their own, with novelty prizes and unbridled enthusiasm.
There are few reasons for a sane human being to wake up at 3 in the morning. A Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost making its way to the hallowed ground of Pebble Beach at the earliest rays of the sun certainly counts—as well as every single concours entrant, gleaming and polished and awaiting the rays of judgement. If you can bother rising with your alarm clock, the sight and the sound, may just work better than espresso—and it shows just how far the pilgrims who make the trek to Mecca will go to show their dedication.
Everyone needs a break from time to time. Just ten minutes south, at the gateway to Big Sur, lies Point Lobos, "the greatest meeting of land and water in the world," according to painter , a man qualified to comment on such natural beauty. It is a breathtaking, dramatic pause on life itself—where the ocean meets the soaring clfifs, where the trees have been blown into windswept shapes, where the air is fresh and beautiful and refreshingly free of 93-octane.
The quaint enclave of wine bars and art galleries known as Carmel-On-The-Sea plays host to a very unique phenomenon: traffic jams of Ferraris and Aston Martins, all either street-parked, in the process of parking, or looking for parking on Carmel's Ocean Avenue—where the best car spotting, unlike the bottles of Italian wine, is free.
Think Nantucket prep with a mix of California casual: navy blazers, straw hats, and salmon pants aren't just in, they never died out. Same goes for white, mint, and butterscotch-colored pantaloons. Especially at events like The Quail, where looking good is elevated to high art. It's what happens when Monterey is sixty degrees and sunny all year round: there may be no finer weather on Earth.