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Back In The Driver’s Seat

By Brian Douglas

From Laguna Seca’s Pre-reunion to McCall’s, Quail and the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Monterey’s Classic Car Week is on.

Baker EV (Pebble Beach) A Pebble Beach featured marque this year is America’s first electric vehicles, produced at the dawn of the automotive era. Fun fact: Henry Ford’s wife, Clara, drove a Detroit Electric car in 1914 because it didn’t require cranking or the smell of foul fuel.
Mid-August on the Monterey Peninsula is not just a big deal for car enthusiasts, tourism and charity — it’s a huge deal. That was the pointed message delivered to Monterey County’s Board of Supervisors from their constituents this year, especially those from the area’s long-suffering tourism industry. The supervisors got the message and pledged to do whatever they could do, while assuring public safety, to allow the 30 shows, parades and auctions to resume after last year’s hiatus. Beginning on Friday afternoon, August 6, with vintage race cars parading through downtown Monterey for the annual Cruise In to the confetti celebration for the Best of Show at Pebble Beach on Sunday, August 15, it’s all happening for 2021.

We’ve collectively witnessed so many starts and stops during the pandemic that readers are forgiven if they remain skeptical about the certainty of the Monterey Classic Car Week events taking place next month. And it’s fair to wonder how the prestigious gatherings will look compared with those of previous years. In anticipation, we interviewed the key players for candid feedback and a sneak preview of what to expect.

Classic 540K Mercedes (Pebble Beach) Stunning classic era cars from the 1930s, like this 1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K from the Keller Collection, grace the greens at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.
Classic 540K Mercedes (Pebble Beach) Stunning classic era cars from the 1930s, like this 1936 Mercedes-Benz 540K from the Keller Collection, grace the greens at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance.

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, August 15

What was a small gathering of cars at Del Monte Lodge 70 years ago has become the world’s preeminent concours and an anchor of the Classic Car Week’s automotive celebrations. Chair Sandra Button is delighted with the support that the venerable concours has received from the classic car community, even though some participants from abroad are especially challenged to bring their cars because of travel restrictions.

For automotive enthusiasts of every stripe, there’s a wealth to discover at Pebble Beach this year. The manicured field has been expanded to include the 17th and 18th fairways to provide more elbow room. The extra length along the water will be filled with 40 Best of Show winners along with winning sports cars from the original Pebble Beach Road Races through Del Monte forest. The honored marques this year include the Porsche 917 racer, the 50th anniversary of Lamborghini’s Countach (the car that adorned this teen boy’s bedroom wall), Miller Race Cars, Iso Rivolta, Pininfarina Coachwork, and the first electric vehicles from the early 20th century. A new Concours Village has been constructed, and both RetroAuto collectables and the Classic Car Forum have been relocated to The Lodge from the Inn at Spanish Bay. And your next new dream vehicle may just be found at the Concept Lawn or one of many displays around the luxury resort.

Alfa Romeo Montreal (Quail) Alfa Romeo’s stunning Montreal with Bertone coachwork is one of The Quail’s honored marques this year.
Alfa Romeo Montreal (Quail) Alfa Romeo’s stunning Montreal with Bertone coachwork is one of The Quail’s honored marques this year.

The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, August 13

Quail will celebrate two 50th anniversaries this year: Alfa Romeo’s classic Montreal grand touring sports car and Citroën’s SM, the eclectic marriage of French and Italian engineering. To punctuate different decades of automotive design, a group of “Cars of Curiosity” from the past will grace the green field.

This stylish gathering of fine automobiles, fashion and dining at the Quail Lodge is perennially sold out well before the summer months, making it the week’s premier ticket at a lofty $950 per person. This year is no exception, although at press time The Quail Helicopter Ticket was still available to whisk a party of four to and from their jet at the Monterey Airport, plus VIP hospitality. A princely sum of $12,500 is required, but the arrival ceremony is priceless.

Ed Archer (Rolex Monterey) Vintage racer Ed Archer brings an authentic period look to the track, along with his 1915 “Old No. 4” Ford racecar.
Ed Archer (Rolex Monterey) Vintage racer Ed Archer brings an authentic period look to the track, along with his 1915 “Old No. 4” Ford racecar.

Rolex Monterey Motorsports Pre-reunion, August 7–8, and Reunion, August 12–15

Barry Toepke is the director of heritage events at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, and the veteran motorsports marketing executive was bursting with enthusiasm about renewing the track’s world-renowned vintage racing event. The fabled racing facility has hosted sports car competitions since its founding in 1957, and vintage racing is its largest production.

Toepke confirmed that Laguna Seca’s celebrated event will take place this year with up to 10,000 guests allowed in the 542-acre facility (they have that assurance in writing). Since the daily attendance is less than allowed, there should be plenty of space for participants and spectators. This year, the 55th anniversary of Ford’s Trans Am cars and a 1920s racing garage are part of the historical displays.

Quail 9 (Quail) This gracefully modified 1953 Jaguar XK120 is part of a Custom Coachwork display at The Quail.
Quail 9 (Quail) This gracefully modified 1953 Jaguar XK120 is part of a Custom Coachwork display at The Quail.

McCall’s Motorworks Revival, August 11

This is the 30th year that McCall Events has produced an elegant and fun kickoff party for enthusiasts who love rare cars, airplanes, gourmet food and wine. Gordon and Molly McCall bring fun and style to the Monterey Jet Center, where 3,000 guests mingle among new aircraft and handcrafted vehicles. Gordon, along with other key Classic Car Week stakeholders, engaged the Monterey County supervisors in weekly Zoom calls to ensure that all of the week’s events could proceed safely.

Gordon shares that his field is well ahead of pace, with nearly double the number of aircraft and amazing vehicles scheduled, many of which have emerged from restoration and fabrication shops. Although no one can predict whether the week’s attendance will equal that of past years, especially with foreign travel still impacted, Gordon notes that less traffic would be a plus.

McCall Long Shot (McCall’s) Monterey Jet Center provides McCall’s Motorworks Revival with an eclectic mix of cars and airplanes and food and wine.
McCall Long Shot (McCall’s) Monterey Jet Center provides McCall’s Motorworks Revival with an eclectic mix of cars and airplanes and food and wine.

2021 Monterey Car Week Events

August

6 – Monterey Car Week Kick-Off
7-8 – Monterey Pre-reunion
9 – The Porsche Monterey Classic
9-12 – Worldwide Auctioneers
10 – Classic Motorsports Magazine
10 – Monterey Kickoff Cruise-In
10 – Concours on the Avenue
11 – McCall’s Motorworks Revival
11 – Little Car Show
11 – Pebble Beach Motoring Classic
11 – Prancing Ponies Car Show
12 – Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance Presented by Rolex
12-14 – Mecum Auto Auctions: Muscle Cars & More
12-14 – Pebble Beach Classic Car Forum
12-14 – Russo and Steele
12-15 – Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion
12-15 – Pebble Beach RetroAuto
13 – The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering
13 – Bonhams Quail Lodge Auction
13 – Legends of the Autobahn
13 – Pacific Grove Rotary Concours Auto Rally
13 – Werks Reunion
13-14 – Gooding & Company’s Pebble Beach Auctions
13-14 – RM Sotheby’s Monterey
14 – Concorso Italiano
14 – Concours d’LeMons
14 – Annual Ferrari Owners Club Gathering
15 – Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance

For the latest updates as Monterey Car Week approaches, visit whatsupmonterey.com/article/ activities/monterey-car-week-overview.

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