After a brief hiatus, the Monterey Car Week was back with a renewed fervour this year! Here's a look at some of the most special events from the week...
Monterey Car Week is an annual celebration of all things automotive, during which some of the rarest and most beautiful cars from the past, present, and future converge in Northern California. After a Covid induced hiatus in 2020, Car Week was back with a bang this year. Of all the events that take place during the week, there are three that are truly special – the Rolex Monterey Motorsports reunion, the Quail a motorsport gathering, and the Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance.
Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion
Held at the legendary Laguna Seca Race Track, the event included cars spanning over 100 years of automotive history. Historic race cars from the early 20th century, made up of wood and steel, turbocharged Indy Cars of the 60s and 70s, and 1980s’ Formula 1 machines, with ground effect aerodynamics and carbon fibre body parts, all raced on the 3.6km circuit. It really was a treat to see these thoroughbred race cars driven with passionate intensity. This year, the Rolex Monterey Motorsport reunion celebrated Ford in the Trans-Am class and the 55th anniversary of what came to be known as the Pony Car Wars. From 1966 to 1972, the Trans-Am series featured Americana classics like Mustangs, Camaros, and Cougars, with similar-size engines – the idea was to equalise their performance.
One of the highlights of the weekend was witnessing the CEO of Ford Motor Company, Jim Farley, race a Shelby Ford. Zac Brown, the CEO of McLaren, was another notable name who was on the track in his Lancia LC2. There is something great about seeing real automobile enthusiasts at the helm of automobile companies.
Another highlight of the event was the presence of over 30 Ferrari Monza SP1s and SP2s on the Laguna Seca track.
The Quail a Motorsports Gathering
If one could only attend a single event during Car Week, I’d say it should be the Quail. Held at the Quail Lodge and Golf Club, this event exudes the feel of a garden party organised to celebrate the finest classic and modern vehicles that ever graced the surface of the earth. This year, the highlight of the Quail was the launch of the new Lamborghini Countach. The launch was perfectly timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the original Countach. Back in the day, I had a poster of the original Countach on my wall, and it seems that the new car will also inspire posters or profile pictures that will embellish the walls of automobile enthusiasts. The new Countach takes a number of styling cues from the original and looks even better in person than it does in pictures. It's no surprise, then, that Horacio Pagani, the founder of Pagani Automobiles, was pictured giving the Countach a big thumbs up. Pagani himself had brought a stunning Huayra BC Roadster, which is a work of art in every sense of the terms and is destined to grace the Pebble Beach Concours in the years to come.
Lotus displayed its upcoming Electric Hypercar, the Evija, in a striking yellow paint scheme. However, the real star at the stand was the stunning Elmira, which will replace the current Evora. Its styling is inspired by the more expensive Evija – the car looks sensational and has been priced to compete against the likes of the Porsche Boxster. Another highlight of the event was Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button who showcased his new coachbuilt vehicle, the Radford, which is inspired by the Lotus 62.
One of the themes of this year's event was the evolution of the sports car. A gorgeous 1937 Bugatti 57SC was on display alongside the latest Bugatti Chiron Supersport and the upcoming track-only Bolide, which will be sold to only 40 lucky customers for over $4 million apiece.
Pebble Beach Concours D’Elegance
This year marked the 70th anniversary of the Pebble Beach Concours, and to commemorate the occasion, 38 previous Best in Show cars were present to welcome the new winner to their ranks. This year's Best in Show was a 1938 Mercedes Benz 540K Autobahn Kurier, which belongs to the Keller Collection from California. This year marked the Keller’s third Best in Show victory – they had earlier won in 1986 and 2001, with other Mercedes from their exquisite collection.
‘It’s my triple crown,’ said Arturo Keller. ‘This is the only remaining car of its kind, and I am the second owner from new. It’s a very special car, and we are very happy.’ This was also Mercedes’ ninth victory, which helped it tie with Bugatti for the highest number of Best in Show victories at the Pebble Beach.
This year's Concours also featured a stunning display of LeMans-winning Porsche 917 race cars. It was truly a sight to behold these cars drive up to the podium to receive their awards. Another notable highlight of the event was the Ferrari competition class, which was won, not surprisingly, by a very valuable 1964 Ferrari 250 GTO.
The enthusiasm displayed by the organisers, owners, and attendees throughout Monterey Car Week was truly inspiring and exciting. It is this passion and enthusiasm that gives us hope that cars will continue to be celebrated as historically important works of art and will not be relegated to a mere AI-powered mode of transportation.