Once a year, just before summer turns to fall, an army of well-heeled automotive enthusiasts descends upon California’s central coast. The affluent masses besiege the city of Monterey and its surrounding communities of Pebble Beach and Carmel, flooding the streets with the finest examples of premium automobiles. They are drawn from all over the world to celebrate the ultimate in motoring supremacy — an orgy of rare metal and money. Stand at any given street corner, and you’ll see more Ferraris and Lamborghinis than Civics and Camrys. This is Monterey Car Week.

The venue incorporates stunning scenery and a long, gasoline-fueled history. While automotive heroes of the past drop through the corkscrew at Laguna Seca (read our preview of the Monterey Motorsports Reunion here), the jet set make their appearances at the annual galas, show off in their high-priced rides, and participate in battles-of-the-bank-accounts at various collector car auctions.

Clearly, this is an event best covered by a well-connected individual of superior taste and social graces. But Editor Pete is busy, so he’s sending me instead.

Updated 08/12/2015: Lexus announced it will bring two updated models in Pebble Beach during the days leading up to the 2015 Concours d’ Elegance. Official debut will be made on August 13 at 7 p.m. PDT.

Continue reading to learn more about this prestigious weeklong motoring celebration.

Gordon McCall’s Motorworks Revival

What is it?

If I had to summarize this event in a single phrase, it would be “valet jet parking.” Originally just a small BBQ between friends, the Gordon McCall’s Motorworks Revival has grown into a major world-class party, kicking off Monterey Car week with five-star food and wine, affluent VIPs, captains of the auto industry, and some of the priciest machinery on the planet.
Mingling with the VIPs are sports cars, race cars, luxury rides, vintage antiques and high-dollar collectibles. Behind the four-wheeled vehicles, you’ll find an assortment of planes and helicopters, and if this event was held a little closer to the water, I’m sure there would be yachts as well.

This year marks the 24th occurrence of the Motorworks Revival event. Complete with plenty of champagne, caviar and charitable opportunities, it’s framed as an evening of relaxed elegance for influential individuals. However, it’s also the place where high-dollar purchases begin, with numerous high-rollers making the scene, practically bursting with cash as they browse for their next seven-figure toy, ground-bound or otherwise.

What to expect

Held on the tarmac of a small, local airport on the outskirts of Laguna Seca, roughly 2,800 guests will get to enjoy an intoxicating selection of vehicles while they wine and dine.

I’ll take a few examples from past events to paint the scene for you-

The first thing to pull your eye is a gathering of all three hybrid hypercar halos. Adjacent to this is a 2011 Pagani Huayra parked next to a 2011 Bugatti Veyron Super Sport and a 2012 Aston Martin One-77. On the other side of an hors d’oeuvres table is a 1964-1966 Ferrari 275 GTB and Steve McQueen’s old Jaguar XK-SS. Hidden by a few chatting Hollywood celebrities is Henrik Fisker’s latest creation, which does well to complement spacey concepts like the 2014 Toyota FT-1 and 2013 Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision GT.

Finally, several vintage racers from the American Trans-Am era and an original 1964-1969 Ford GT40 sit in the shadow of at least 15 Gulfstreams, while an FA/18 Hornet faces down the runway menacingly. (Probably the bouncer.)


Where: Monterey Jet Center, 100 Sky Park Drive, Monterey CA 93940
When: Wednesday, August 12, 5 PM – 10 PM
How to attend: Tickets can be purchased here, with prices starting at $350 each. Tickets can also be purchased at the Will Call tent starting August 11th from 10 AM to 3 PM, and August 12th from 10 AM to 9 PM. Tickets purchased the day of the event cost $450 each. Ticket availability is limited and the event has sold out in the past.

Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance

What is it?

Prior to the glamour of the Concours on Sunday, entrants get to show their goods in the Tour d’Elegance, an annual driving event that recalls the history of the venue and provides onlookers with a chance to gawk at the rare and expensive vehicles slated for competition on the links.

Before it became home to one of the most prestigious golf courses in the world, Pebble Beach was best known for its picturesque coastal scenery and winding cypress forest roads, and the Tour reclaims that history with a run through portions of the iconic 17-Mile Drive. After departing Pebble Beach, the Tour heads through local scenic roads in Monterey, then loops around to Highway 1 for a jaunt down to the epic, wave-battered cliffs of Big Sur (you’ve probably seen more than a few car commercials set here, particularly Bixby Bridge). After a quick about-face at the Ripplewood Resort near Pfeiffer state park, the Tour stops in Carmel-by-the-Sea, a ritzy little town characterized by boutique shops and cafes, with the cars lining the main artery of Ocean Avenue for display while the drivers grab lunch. Finally, the Tour returns to Pebble Beach in the afternoon for champagne.

What to expect

If you’re in town, it’ll be hard to miss the Tour. Expect long caravans of rare and highly collectible vintage vehicles on some of the most amazing scenic roads in the world. The Tour is closely associated with the Concours (if two vehicles tie in class competition, the car that completed the Tour gets the win), so you can bet even the most pampered of show queens will see actual public road duty here. And frankly, given the backdrop, you couldn’t ask for a better drive.


Where: Pebble Beach, Monterey, Big Sur, Carmel-by-the-Sea. Check out a complete map of the Tour route here.
When: Thursday, August 13, 8 AM – 3 PM
How to attend: Unless you’re a Concours entrant, you won’t be able to participate in the Tour, at least not officially. But given the event is run on public roads, you can still drive along and spectate. Organizers suggest checking it out when the Tour arrives in Carmel, but given how crowded the narrow streets can be, I suggest packing a snack and cruising down to Big Sur early in the morning. If you can find a decent spot to park alongside the highway, you’ll get to enjoy impressive scenery while the Tour sails on by. Afterward, I suggest grabbing lunch at Nepenthe, located just south of the turnaround spot, but be warned – getting a table might take a while. Check out the map linked above and plan accordingly.

The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering

What is it?

Going into its 13th year for 2015, The Quail event has attracted motorsports enthusiasts and collectors from around the world to celebrate the crème-de-la-crème in automobiles and motorcycles. More than 200 vehicles are expected to make an appearance, with rare examples and classic icons set out for display on the finely manicured green of a central California coast golf course. Enjoying the garden-party atmosphere and gourmet cuisine will be celebrities and racing legends, and high-end luxury sponsors will be on hand to offer guests test-drives on local roads in the latest models. Land Rover will also be there with an Off-road Experience Driving Course.

Coinciding with the event, Bonhams will hold its 18th Annual Motorcar Auction, which means attendees will have a chance to bid on dream rides between sips of Cristal. Last year, Bonhams auctioned off $108 million worth of vehicles, including a Ferrari 250 GTO that traded hands for more than $38 million, becoming the most valuable car ever sold at auction.

What to expect

Plenty of awe-inspiring vehicles will be in attendance this year, with just a few examples including a 1959 Ferrari 410 Superamerica Series III and 1969 Porsche 908/02 Flunder Langheck coupe. Themes for 2015 include prestigious categories like Long Tail Cars of Le Mans, Coachbuilt Ferraris, Iconic Pre-1965 Porsches, Pre- and Post-War Sports and Race cars, Supercars, The Great Ferraris, and Sports and Racing Motorcycles.

As for heroes of the walking and talking variety, former Formula 1-driver Jochen Mass will be a featured guest, as will racing champions Derek and Justin Bell.

The Quail is also the venue for car debuts, with last year seeing the unveiling of the 2015 Lamborghini Huracan LP620-2 Super Trofeo. As for the auction, standout lots include a 1951 Ferrari 212 Inter Cabriolet with coachwork by Vignale, a 1987 Porsche 959 Komfort, a 1967 Lamborghini Miura P400 and a 1957 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Roadster, to name just a few.


Where: Quail Lodge & Golf Club, 8205 Valley Greens Drive, Carmel-by-the-Sea CA 93923
When: Friday, August 14, 10 AM – 4 PM
How to attend: Tickets for the event are sold out, but anyone interested in attending the auction can find more information here.

Pebble Beach Auctions Presented By Gooding & Co.

What is it?

The original Pebble Beach Auctions took place way back in 1990, and now it’s one of the most attended and highly anticipated car auctions of Monterey Car Week. More than that, the event is considered a gauge of the worldwide collector- and luxury-car market, which means the amount of money thrown around this year should be astronomically high. Thanks to the high standards set by the Gooding & Company auction house, which also holds auctions in Scottsdale and Amelia Island, the PB Auctions have set several world records over the years, easily moving over $100 million in a single weekend.

This is the premiere auction of the entire week – the Gooding & Company tent is located close to the show field of the Concours d’Elegance and acts as the start and end point of the Tour d’Elegance. If you’re gonna watch an auction, this is the one.

What to expect

Expect the highest prices and rarest examples of antiques, classics, sports and racing cars to hit the block here.

One example will be the 1982 Porsche 956 that won the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1983, the third of only 10 examples made. It’s expected to fetch between $7 and $9 million, which would make it the most valuable Porsche ever sold at auction.

Other notables include a 2004 Maserati MC12 GT1 racer, 1934 Packard Twelve 1108 Sport Sedan, and a 1961 Ferrari 250 GT SWB California Spider. Check out an online catalogue here.


Where: The corner of Stevenson Drive and Portola Drive, Del Monte Forest, CA 93953 (for more information, click here).
When: To build tension for the bidding wars on Saturday and Sunday, viewing starts Wednesday, August 12. The auctions begin Saturday, August 15, at 5 PM, and Sunday, August 16, at 6 PM.
How to attend: Admittance for one to all events is $40. You can order a print catalogue for $100 here (also includes admission for two to all events). If you’re feeling frisky and would like to bid, click here. It’ll cost you $200, but for the money you get a print catalogue and admission for two to the viewing and auction with two reserved seats (subject to availability).

Russo And Steele Auction, Monterey

What is it?

Those looking to break from the raised-pinky atmosphere of Pebble Beach and Carmel are encouraged to head over to Monterey, where the scene is every bit as interesting and a whole lot hotter. Contributing to this is the Russo and Steele Auction, which will celebrate its 15th year in Monterey in 2015.

This three-day event sees over 250 vehicles hit the auction block, with a variety of European sports cars, American muscle cars, hot rods and custom automobiles trading hands. The format is a ground-level auction with no separation between the cars and the buyers, which means greater accessibility and a lot of fun, no matter if you’re looking to buy or simply browsing.

After watching an insurance salesman blow little Susie’s college fund on a drop-top sports car (perhaps not the worst investment, just so long as the collector-car market bubble doesn’t burst), head down to Alvarado Street for a taste of the nightlife. Between drinks, feel free to stare at the veritable traveling car show making its way through the streets.

What to expect

Excitement, competition, and a very fast pace. Expect lots of screaming and yelling, with bids flying left and right for the most desirable models. It’s easy to get swept up in the enthusiasm, with dreams bought and sold every few minutes.

Last year, the Monterey Russo and Steele Auction generated over $12 million in sales, with the top bid being a 1956 Mercedes-Benz 300SL Gullwing Coupe that traded hands for $1.32 million. That number was almost matched by a 1957 Mercedes 300SL that went for $1.21 million, while a 1972 Ferrari 365 GTB/4 Daytona Coupe ranked third at $731,500.

Featured lots for this year include a 1963 Ferrari 250GTL “Lusso” coupe, a 2005 Porsche Carrera GT, a 1958 Dual-Ghia Convertible, a 1966 Shelby GT350 Fastback Mustang, and a 1990 Lamborghini LM002 “American.”


Where: Downtown Monterey, near Fisherman’s Wharf, 290 Figueroa Street, Monterey CA 93940
When: The auction preview is Wednesday, August 12, 10 AM – 3 PM. The auctions begin Thursday, August 13, and run through Saturday, August 15. Auction days include complementary public viewing between 10 AM and 3 PM, with the auction starting at 5 PM. Bidders can register on-site starting Monday, August 10.
How to attend: Admission costs $20 per person, or $55 for all three auction days. Purchase tickets here.

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance

What is it?

While the number of events taking place during Monterey Car Week is quite high, the pinnacle has to be the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. It’s a car show like the international space station is a science project. Every year, roughly 200 collector cars and motorcylces find a parking spot on the 18th hole of the Pebble Beach Golf Links to get judged on historical accuracy, technical merit and style, with the absolute best-of-the-best gaining worldwide recognition. Winning here is serious business – not only are bragging rights on the line, but a Concours accolade also makes for a far higher price should the winning vehicle trade hands in the future.

Last year’s Best In Show winner was a 1954 Ferrari 375 MM Scaglietti Coupe, while other nominees included a 1934 Hispano-Suiza J12 Fernandez et Darrin Coupe de Ville, a 1934 Packard Twelve Dietrich Convertible Victoria, and a 1937 Rolls-Royce Phantom II Vanvooren Sports Cabriolet. This year will feature several marques and special classes, including Ferrari, DuPont, Pope, Designs by Carrozzeria Touring, Postwar Cunninghams, Mercury Customs, British Pre-war Sports Cars, Lincoln Continental 75th Anniversary and Shelby GT350 Mustang 50th Anniversary.

What to expect

If high-end collector cars were a religion, this would be holy ground. A win here is the ultimate prize for this particular slice of automotive culture, so you can bet the competition will be fierce.

Those in attendance to witness the spectacle will include big-name celebrity gearheads like Jay Leno, Jerry Seinfeld and Steven Tyler, not to mention highly visible auto industry personalities.

In addition to the elegance competition, many automakers use the occasion for concept and production car debuts, with 2014 bringing in cars like the 2014 Bentley Continental GT3-R, 2014 BMW Vision Future Luxury, 2014 Maserati Alfieri and the 2015 Renovo Coupe Production Prototype.


Where: Getting to the 18th green of the Pebble Beach Links on the day of the Concours requires those attendees without off-shore bank accounts to take a shuttle. Luckily, ticket holders get transportation services and parking for free within Pebble Beach. There is also a pickup point in Carmel, but round-trip shuttle service from there costs $20. Get more details here.
When: The field opens to entrants at dawn on Sunday, August 16. Judging begins at 8:30 AM, with the field opening to spectators at 10:30 AM. Awards are handed out between 1:30 PM and 5 PM.
How to attend: Tickets can be purchased online here. General admission is $300 per person in advance, up to $350 on the day of the event. You can also get “Club d’Elegance” tickets for $750 a pop, which includes VIP parking and shuttle service, early access to the show field, breakfast and lunch, a swag bag, a guided tour of the show field and complimentary drinks.

If I don’t see you there, catch my review (if I come back at all) right here at TopSpeed.

This is how Day 1 went along, and this is what I managed to check out during Day 2.

Jonathan Lopez
Jonathan Lopez
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