Time for the vroom-vroom.
Thursday, August 12, 2004
Environmentalists dread it. Many women ignore it. And most men, local or visitor, grin like schoolboys when they realize it is time for what has affectionately become known as “Car Week.”
This mid-August extravaganza of steel, exhaust and wax contains some of the top automotive exhibits in the United States. There are antique cars which gallantly struggle up Carmel Hill, perhaps in their only escape from the garage all year. There are sports cars which often top 200mph. And there is the scene which surrounds the automobiles: Fine art posters, gold-plated hood ornaments, Italian fashion shows, million-dollar auctions, roaring engines frightening the ducks out of Lake El Estero, elegant couples sipping champagne on the Pebble Beach Lodge lawn. How do these vehicles inspire such excess?
The excitement of Car Week builds slowly, like the whine of a Porsche getting ready to leap off the line. Locals will notice a growing stream of exotic cars cruising the streets and Highway 1. Semi trailers start pulling in, with such rare treasures inside they can’t be driven on mere paved streets; cars that may be worth more than the annual budget of a small nation.
One can sit by nearly any major street in Carmel or Monterey and simply watch the chrome float by. Vehicles of every size, shape, color and nationality are on display this week, gleaming, polished, with almost a smirk on their front grills. Enjoy the public parade, or indulge in one of the major car events.
Monterey Historic Automobile Races
Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway, Highway 68, Monterey. (800) 327-SECA.
A historic car race, presented by Chrysler, featuring Ferrari, taking place at a Mazda Raceway? Think of how much metal that represents. Historic racecars, pre-1975 but still in top shape, take one more turn around the Corkscrew. The 31st annual Historics will be graced by famed drivers Phil Hill, Stirling Moss and Dan Gurney. Beyond the races and the paddock area—which are fascinating—there are automobilia booths, food and drink, chances to chat with the drivers, live music and plenty of sunshine at Laguna Seca.
Black Horse Golf Course, Seaside.
Say the words “Italian sports car” and what springs to mind first? Ferrari. The Concorso Italiano is in its second year at Black Horse Golf Course and there will be about 800 Italian cars on the grass, plus more than 500 non-Italian beauties. Ferrari is the guest of honor, but the 50th anniversary of Alfa Romeo will also be celebrated. For the less car-inclined, there is fashion and opera and shopping.
Pacific Grove Concours Auto Rally
Lighthouse Avenue, Pacific Grove. 647-6355.
Eight years ago, former Pacific Grove mayor Jeanne Byrne formed the PG Auto Rally as a fundraiser for a children’s group. The vintage car parade of around 250 vehicles begins on Lighthouse Avenue, so everyone can have a peek. Cars then glide along a scenic route through Pebble Beach and the Monterey Peninsula, ending at a barbecue. This Auto Rally honors Ferrari as well.
The Quail: A Motorsports Gathering
Quail Lodge Golf Course, Carmel Valley.
The former home of the Concorso Italiano has its own rare car show, with a special presentation of cars which drove in the Mille Miglia from 1927-57. The Quail also has fine car photography by Winston Goodfellow, a display of 125 pre- and post-war cars, gourmet food and wine tasting, and the Bonhams and Butterfields Auction. Proceeds from The Quail benefit the CHP 11-99 Foundation.
Bonhams and Butterfields Auction and Automobilia
Quail Lodge Golf Course, Carmel Valley.
The Bonhams and Butterfields auction is presented as part of The Quail event. Daddy got a Ferrari, why not Junior? An exact working replica of a Testarossa, but child-sized, is up for bid here (it is one of only six such cars; auction estimate: $8,000). Take home a Daimler limousine or a Dodge Caravan painted by 1960s artist Peter Max, plus automobile art, accessories or jewelry.
Monterey Sports and Classic Car Auction
Portola Plaza Hotel, Monterey. (800) 211-4371.
Here is a car event that is only $30 to attend, plus $50 for the catalogue. Affordable? Once you enter the Monterey Sports and Classic Car Auction, the bidding on more than 200 spectacular classic cars begins in the high thousands—up to millions—of dollars. But to see such a collection of automobiles in person is a thrill. Just imagine the thrill of driving one home.
Ferrari Event 2004
Khaki’s Men Clothier, The Barnyard, Carmel.
Can’t get enough Ferraris this week? Stop by The Barnyard today, when the Ferrari Owners Club and Ferrari Club of America corral their horses in the parking lot of The Barnyard for the public to admire, outside Khaki’s men’s store, which sells Italian fabrics and fine clothes.
Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance
Pebble Beach Golf Course, Pebble Beach.
The granddaddy of rare, vintage car shows, here and anywhere in the US. Maybe call it the great-granddaddy. The Concours this year features “the greatest collection of historically significant Ferraris ever assembled,” meaning in addition to the other shows featuring Ferrari, there will be a lot of Prancing Horses around. Some of the cars entered in the Concours will take a tour on Thurs. 8/12, starting in Pebble Beach and stopping for lunch in Carmel. Here is your chance to see these beauties along Ocean Avenue before the tour takes off again through Carmel Valley, going for a “snack” at Tehama and Monterra. Ahh, what a life. Of course, there will be the elegant entertainment and crowds along Pebble Beach’s fairways to see the Rolls Royces, Bugattis and other exotics. The Concours d’Elegance has raised more than $7 million for local charities since it began 54 years ago.