Mercedes Benz Car Week

An owner polishes his Mercedes-Benz during a past Car Week event. The Mercedes-Benz Club of America is one of the hosts of the Legends of Autobahn, along with Audi Club North America and the organizer, BMW Club of America.

Chased out of Carmel Valley on the very eve of Car Week, the 11th annual Legends of the Autobahn, hosted by three national German car clubs, found a new home at the Monterey County Fairgrounds in Monterey, organizer BMW Car Club of America announced. The free event is taking place at its original time and date, 10am-3pm, Saturday, Aug. 14. 

Legends was originally set to take place at the Carmel Valley Community Park, after leaving its traditional slot at the Pasadera County Club. The BMW club received approval from the Carmel Valley Parks and Recreation District in April.

The event was winding its way through the permitting process with Monterey County as well as other agencies like the California Highway Patrol, when residents, led by the Carmel Valley Association, mounted a protest in July against the 300-car event, arguing it was too large for the small community.

On August 5, the eve of Car Week, the BMW club pulled out of the process with the hope of finding a different location at the last minute. Club president Frank Patek says other community members around the Monterey Peninsula reached out offering to help when the news broke.

Patek called out the CVA specifically in a press release announcing the move to the fairgrounds. He said that the club had attained necessary approvals from various agencies like the Monterey Regional Fire District and CHP, only to have "new hurdles and barriers" placed before the club. 

"Coincidentally, difficulties with the County began at or nearly the same time as the [CVA] launched a campaign to stop Legends from 'destroying' the rural character of the valley," Patek said in the release.

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“While Legends most certainly would not have destroyed the valley it would have been an economic driver for the restaurants, cafes, shops and tasting rooms in the village," he said.

CVA President Pris Walton says she had real concerns that the event would have harmed village businesses due to traffic and possible parking issues. In a meeting of the Monterey County Special Events Task Force on July 22, Walton said the community had not had enough notice or opportunity to provide input. Other residents told the task force they worried about safety during fire season, among other issues.

In the lead up to Car Week, the CVA published information about Legends in its newsletter under the heading "Lock Your Doors!"

Patek said the club had help from the Monterey Convention and Visitors Bureau, the city of Monterey and the fairgrounds in the relocation. 

In addition to the 300 owner cars on display, BMW is planning to display the upcoming iX Sports Activity Vehicle and BMW i4 Gran Coupé. The company will also show off its newest customer racing car—the 2022 M4 GT3.

Well known BMW race drivers Bill Auberlen, John Edwards, and Connor De Phillippi will make appearances ahead of their race on Sunday at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. 

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