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A Guide to Enjoying Vintage Car Week on the Monterey Peninsula

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In a little less than a month, the Monterey Peninsula with be teeming with action as enthusiasts and their automobiles from around the globe will gather for the smorgasbord of vintage car events held there yearly. The map above courtesy of Monterey Car Week shows the location of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and the satellite events that have sprung up around it over the years. We have put together this report with our readers in mind so that you will know where to go and what to see for a pleasurable experience.

All serious old car enthusiasts need to attend the happening least once in their lifetime to experience what it is all about, and it’s not to late too think about going this year. We have put together a guide to the events that are sure to please. Plan on getting there by Monday and settle in, which will give you plenty of time on Tuesday to see the sights and find your way around the area.

Plan on spending everyday Wednesday through Sunday to see the most important events. And bring some warm clothes – light layers and a jacket, as if it is foggy it can be quite cool. Check with Monterey Car Week for a calendar.

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On Wednesday plan on taking in Automobilia Monterey in the ballroom of The Embassy Suites. It is billed as the largest automobilia show in America with forty-five top dealers from around the world. There you will find an amazing assortment of the best vintage posters, photographs, signs, original art, scale models, literature and books to be found anywhere.

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For Thursday plan on taking in The Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance. The area is known for its scenic beauty and roads that wind for miles through pine and cypress forests. The tour takes in parts of 17-Mile Drive, explores inland sights and the spectacular coastline. This year the Tour will once again take a lap around Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The tour usually wraps up for lunch in the center of Carmel-by-the-Sea where all of the cars are displayed in the middle of the town.

The cars that will be on display in the Concours d’Elegance on Sunday are not required to complete the tour, but if two vehicles tie in class at the competition, the vehicle that has completed the Tour gets the nod.

Plan on getting there very early and visit the start (seen above) between Collins Field where all the transporters park and the Gooding and Company Auction tents. Find out exactly where the tour is going (the Concours office is very helpful) and after the start, find scenic a place where you can watch the entrants pass by. 17-Mile Drive or Route one if the tour goes down the coast are spectacular vantage points.

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On Friday you should plan on attending, The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering. In time it has become a must see experience for motorsports enthusiasts and collectors. At the Quail, you will be treated to a wide assortment of sporting and racing  automobiles and motorcycles on the greens of the Quail Lodge & Golf Club. After you leave the event plan on taking a drive over the scenic Laureles Grade, which ends very near the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

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On both Friday and Saturday one of the cornerstone events to take in is the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. Over five-hundred racing cars attend from all over the world at this premier vintage racing event. A car is accepted to participate only after its authenticity, race provenance and period correctness has been determined. This year Maserati is the featured marque which should bring out many rare examples.

Practice and qualifying races are held on Thursday and Friday. The main race days are on both Saturday and Sunday with seven races run-off before the lunch break, and eight in the afternoon, each is about 20-minutes long. Get a pit pass which will allow you to full access to inspect the cars. You can find the full Rolex Monterey schedule here.

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Of course, the most important event for most is the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance held on Sunday. Plan on getting there before day-break to partake in what is called – The Dawn Patrol, were if a spot can be found you can watch as the entrants drive on to the field. General admission to the field opens at 10:30 and the awards presentation starts at 1:30 and continues until the Best of Show winner is announced later in the afternoon. You can find the schedule here.

Full details of all of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance events are here. Other facets of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance are: The Pebble Beach Auction by Gooding and Company, the Automotive Fine Arts Society (AFAS) Exhibition and the Pebble Beach RetroAuto.

4 responses to “A Guide to Enjoying Vintage Car Week on the Monterey Peninsula

  1. I agree 100% that every car enthusiast should experience the Monterey/Pebble Beach events at least once. When I did it, I found that, by Sunday, I was totally, happily sated & overloaded. Cars that would normally stop me in my tracks, like an immaculate Ferrari 250 Berlinetta Lusso, would barely get a second look.

    First time visitors should be aware that event tickets are not exactly cheap & hotel prices are very high. Also, I believe tickets to The Quail usually sell out months before the event.

    • Tony, Thanks for your impressions of the extravaganza. I tried to lay it out so that readers could see the best of what is offered.

      There are many more things you can do there but it is easy to go on overload quickly. And be sure to plan in advance.

  2. 1966 was my last visit when it was held behind the Del Monte Lodge. Perhaps a 48 year lapse is a rather negative record! I am going again to record the early steamers for The Steam Automobile Bulletin which I am fortunate to edit. It will be great to meet the Howells at last.

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