Article by Brian Hannon. Photography by Joel Chan (PhotosWithJoel).
Bucket lists. Everyone seems to have one. Things you want to do before you die: sky diving, bungee jumping, climbing Everest, running a marathon, some experience you want to have before you kick the bucket. For automotive lifestyle fanatics, we have something you need to add to your list: the Monterey Classic Car Week.
While the name may imply that it only features classic cars, plenty of modern hardware is on hand to satiate any appetite. Taking place in the gorgeous Monterey Peninsula (about an hour south of San Francisco), the week features a plethora of on-road tours, car shows, auctions and the flogging of irreplaceable pieces of history around the famed Laguna Seca raceway.
Naturally, there are a few events not to be missed during the week. But be warned, tickets are pricey, even for the shows, which would be better categorized as experiences. Proper attire is generally a must. The first event would be The Quail Motorsport gathering held at the Quail Lodge. It features everything from pre-War brutes to the latest from exotic manufacturers. Want to see a Huyara? This is the place. Want to see, for the first time in the world, the race-ready 2015 Lamborghini Huracán LP 620-2 Super Trofeo? Yeah, it’s here too. And don’t forget the Bonhams auction at night, where this year the hammer dropped at 34 million dollars for a 1962 Ferrari GTO.
Next up is the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Laguna Seca. This is where you can see that same 34 million dollar Ferrari GTO driven around the track in anger. You will see cars you’ve never seen before and, well, would be amazed that they were actually the height of technological innovation at the time. One of the highlights of the on-track action is the Can-Am class featuring 8-liter big blocks thundering out of the turns. Not far behind top fuel dragsters, this is one of the best V8 experiences you can find in motorsports. Be sure to walk around the paddock as well, plenty of treasures are hiding in there, like a McLaren F1, Porsche Carrera GT and a McLaren P1.
The crown jewel of the week is the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance at the, you guessed it, legendary Pebble Beach golf course. Only the cream of the crop of collector cars and motorcycles turn out for the Concours. Countless hours of blood, sweat, tears have gone into preparing the cars for the MOST meticulous of judges who know more about their respective specialties than any sane person should. With such high standards you can understand why "best in show” here is one of the most coveted prizes in almost the entirety of car culture. Beg, borrow and steal to get your ticket to this event, it is not to be missed.
If all of that is too much for you, hanging out downtown along Cannery Row will provide a parade of exotics and rarities to hold you over. Plus you can mill around a few of the pre-auction areas to check out the cars that will go across the block later in the day. Bring your checkbook and be careful raising your hand at the wrong time!
Now you understand why the Monterey Classic Car Week needs to be on your automotive bucket list. Best news? You’ll have an opportunity in 2015 to experience it for yourself. Start planning your trip now! But for now, enjoy the gallery our photographer Joel Chan put together for our introduction to the Monterey Classic Car Week: Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance--only thing better is being there.