A tradition going back over half a century, the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is where the world’s collector cars meet and compete for the ultimate prize, the Best of Show. This invite only event has the 200 best collector cars in the world roll onto the legendary 18th fairway of Pebble Beach Golf Links, and only a handful of those will receive official recognition for style, technical merit and historical accuracy.
But the Concours is only the final event in a packed week celebrating all things automotive. All over Monterey County, classic cars take to streets, golf courses, parks and the world-renowned Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, surrounding visitors with automobiles from yesteryear.
Exotics, supercars and rare automobiles can be found at great shows like the Concorso Italiano and McCall Motorworks Revival. The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion pits vintage racers against each other, just like they tussled in the old days, while Legends of the Autobahn and Porsche Werks Reunion help German sports car fans get their kicks. In addition, there are dozens of other shows, gatherings and showcases throughout the week.
Monterey Car Week Map
Monterey Car Week is bigger. Much bigger! The following map from the official event site highlights just how many different events are taking place in a few square miles during the week of August 10-16 this year.
Monterey Car Week Events
The Monterey car week schedule of events is endless. There are classic car shows, supercar shows, rallies and even vintage racing. If you want to go shopping there are also several classic car auctions (bring a big checkbook).
Monterey turns into the car fanatics Disneyland in late August and for many it offers the ultimate way to live out your automotive fantasy in one week. Fans get the chance to see historic and priceless vehicles up close, with peeks both inside the car and under the hood. To watch screaming classics at the motorsports reunion event will send chills down your spine.
While the list of events is too long to list here, we’ve picked our favorite Monterey Car Week events below:
The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is held on the final Sunday of Monterey Car Week. It is considered by car enthusiasts everywhere to be one of the most exciting events on the car-world calendar. The event is open to both prewar and postwar collector cars in which they are judged for authenticity, function, history, and style. Thousands of spectators converge on the 18th fairway of the Pebble Beach golf course each year to see the parade of prestigious, invitation-only competition vie for one of the most coveted awards in the car business – the Best of Show.
The Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion relives motorsport history at the iconic Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. It is basically a list of priceless cars that go racing. Rather than staying on the museum floor and spending their days lifeless and still, these cars go racing, for real. The biggest event at Monterey Classic Car Week, the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion is the only event where these priceless cars actually go racing and don’t just sit on the lawn gathering rays of sun. Approximately 550 race cars are invited and the invite list is based on the car’s authenticity, race provenance and period correctness.
Where car collectors with money gather there will be classic car auctions. Monterey Car Week is the place for some of the most exciting cars that go under the hammer. For over 25 years, RM Sotheby’s has held a flagship Monterey classic car auction that often sees previous price records fall as some of the world’s richest collectors buy up the best cars on sale. There is also the Gooding & Company auction that is among the most attended and anticipated collector car events during the week. It isn’t just those two marquee names either, with heavy hitting auction houses like Bonhams, Russo and Steele, Mecum Auctions and Rick Cole Auctions all hosting events almost every year.
The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering is an annual car show limited to 200 or so cars located at the eponymous Quail Lodge & Golf Club. This event is held Friday of Monterey Car Week and is limited to 3,000 tickets priced at $600 each. Make no mistake, this event is designed for the very rich (and for those who want to market to them). Unlike the Pebble Beach Concours, The Quail vehicles are not judged. The event is unique for its fancy food, expensive drinks and high-end new metal often launched by auto-manufacturers targeting those with big bank balances.
In addition to The Quail show, there is also the The Quail Rally. With 30 vintage cars from different car collectors, it is a drive that gives people the opportunity to discover the back roads and spectacular scenery of Monterey County and its Pacific Ocean coastline.
Main article: McCall Motorworks Revival at Monterey Jet Center
The Jet Center Party, formally called the Motorworks Revival, is an invitation-only event held at the Monterey Jet Center the Wednesday before the Pebble Beach Concours. It is considered the unofficial kick-off for the week. It is an exclusive event that takes centerstage at the Monterey Jet Center from 5pm-10pm and showcases some of the best in food, wine, automobiles and jets. It is hosted by Gordon McCall.
Legends of the Autobahn
Although the Legends Of The Autobahn is still a relatively recent arrival on the Monterey scene, it has sustained exponential growth since its 2009 debut as a stand-alone BMW concours. The Legends of the Autobahn show features German automobiles. It began as a BMW Car Club of America event and grew to include all German cars. It formerly showed Porsches also, but a separate event, the Porsche Werks Reunion, for Porsches was established in 2014. This event is free to the public. It is held at the Nicklaus Club – Monterey golf club.
Porsche Werks Reunion
The Porsche Werks Reunion event features Porsches and was established in 2014 after splitting off from the Legends of the Autobahn show. This great event invites all Porsche clubs, owners and enthusiasts to participate. Expect to view a breathtaking array of Porsches at this free-to-spectators event, from rare classics to current models and everything in between. Display your own cherished car in model-specific Porsche Corrals or enter the Porsche Concours and compete to win in more than 20 prize categories. There were 519 cars on display at the initial event. This event was started by the Porsche Club of America. It is held at the Rancho Canada Golf Club in Carmel Valley.
One of the Pebble Beach weekend’s most stunning events, Concorso Italiano is packed full of Italian metal new and old, and we mean each of those in both senses. It is held at the golf course at the Bayonet & Blackhorse Golf Club. Concorso Italiano features nearly 1,000 exotic vehicles and is a can’t miss part of the traditional Monterey Bay Car Week. The exotics cover all manner of decades, and the field is populated with cars that are new to the event as well as those that have participated in years past.
There are plenty of car shows and rallies throughout Monterey County during Car Week. Each offers car fans the chance to see historic and rare vehicles up close, with peeks both inside the car and under the hood. Other events we recommend include:
Carmel’s Concours on the Avenue which has sixteen blocks of downtown Carmel-by-the-Sea set aside to showcase over 175 domestic and foreign collector vehicles.
The iconic Carmel Mission is the backdrop for a variety of vintage automobiles during the Carmel Mission Classic.
Lighthouse Avenue in Pacific Grove lines up all sorts of tiny vehicles during Auto Week. The show, known as the Little Car Show is a fan favorite.
Lighthouse Avenue in Pacific Grove will feel like a trip back in time during the Pacific Grove Concours Auto Rally presented by the Rotary Club of Pacific Grove. Over 200 cars will participate at this event, which is free for spectators. At 5pm cars will cruise the streets of Pacific Grove; at 7pm, participants and spectators can enjoy a barbecue dinner at Chataqua Hall.
Cannery Row in Monterey becomes a haven for rare and exotic cars from around the world. Exotics on Cannery Row is free to the public and will showcase a variety of automobiles and vendors.
Craving Pintos, Pacers and Corvairs instead of Porsches, Ferraris and Rolls-Royces? For an auto show that is the reverse of everything the Concours d’Elegance holds dear, head to Concours d’LeMons at Laguna Grande Park in Seaside.
The Barynard in sprinkled with bright and sleek Ferraris. Spectators can lust over dozens of Ferraris with great local wines, plenty of delicious food, and live music among the Barnyard’s signature gardens.