We recap one of the biggest car events of the year

I’ll admit it – I’m pretty spoiled when it comes to car stuff. Of course, that’s the sort of thing you’d expect given my line of work. When unicorns and exotic metal become the routine, it’s easy to lose your perspective. But even with my drastically skewed sense of what four-wheeled “normalcy” is supposed to be, Monterey Car Week manages to impress. For starters, there’s the sheer scope of it. Think seven days of events and practically endless things to do, ranging from shows, to auctions, to racing, to cruises. There’s excess of every kind when it comes passion-inspiring rides to enjoy. Then there’s the backdrop. The California central coast is without a doubt one of the most spectacular places on Earth, with jaw-dropping scenery and rich history at every turn. But probably the best thing about MCW is the superiority of the cars on hand. Not only is the quantity over the top, but so is the quality, a rare combination to which I have yet to find an equal in all my auto-themed adventures. I’ve been covering this thing for several years now, but 2017 still managed to bring the goods in a big way.

If you’ve been thinking about going, but you’re still on the fence, then we hope this will convince you to get out there in 2018. If you wanna go, but haven’t had a chance, then we hope our account of the action will assuage your longing – for now, at least.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Monterey Car Week.

Day 1 – Arrival

Monterey Car Week Once Again Brings The Goods In 2017 High Resolution Exterior
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There are more than a few twisty roads to take when driving into Monterey. Some of these get clogged mighty quick, especially during tourist season, but occasionally, you get a nice, wide-open stretch of two-lane goodness all to yourself. Understandably, these curvaceous ribbons of tarmac come alive during Car Week, with local and out-of-town gearheads alike adding to the atmosphere with a little spirited driving and poorly muffled exhaust blasts. Pull off at the right spot, and you’re sure to hear a V-12 wail mixing with the shrill, eager pitch of a streetbike at 12,000 rpm.

As you draw closer to downtown Monterey and Pebble Beach, you start to notice a pretty remarkable shift in the composition of the traffic – Japanese commuter sedans recede, while a tide of European exotics pour in. Models like the Porsche 911 and Ferrari 458 are at practically every street corner, while Bentleys and Rolls-Royces can be seen wafting between coastal hotspots. Tunnels turn into rev-off playgrounds. The aroma of gas fills the air as thirsty classics drive by, mingling with the salt of the Pacific in a heady, unforgettable mixture.

Monterey Car Week Once Again Brings The Goods In 2017 High Resolution Exterior
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Monterey Car Week Once Again Brings The Goods In 2017 High Resolution Exterior
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As you draw closer to downtown Monterey and Pebble Beach, you start to notice a pretty remarkable shift in the composition of the traffic – Japanese commuter sedans recede, while a tide of European exotics pour in..

Drive towards any high-traffic area by the water, and you’re bound to find something interesting, whether it’s parked near the sidewalk, or on display promoting an event.

No tickets needed for any of this – just walk and gawk.

Mecum Auction

Once again, the Mecum Auction was high on our list of priorities this year, which was pretty much a given considering the simply ridiculous variety of lots on offer. But of course, that’s what you get when you put together a list of 600 collectible vehicles for sale.

However, before we even got inside grounds, the Mecum parking lot offered up this:

Monterey Car Week Once Again Brings The Goods In 2017 High Resolution Exterior
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A Fisker Karma, known as one of the first luxury hybrid sports cars in production, and a pretty thing to look at as well.

A Fisker Karma, known as one of the first luxury hybrid sports cars in production, and a pretty thing to look at as well. The story behind this thing is fascinating, and seeing one in the wild and not on fire is a rare thing indeed.

After snagging a few shots of the lovely looking and as-of-yet-unburned four-door, I went to scout out what was awaiting the hammer behind the gates. My eye was immediately drawn to a custom green Studebaker, followed by a street-legal Formula Ford and historic Jaguar Lister race car. Again, variety, folks. But while each was exciting in its own way, the thing that really got my juices flowing took center stage in the “Glass House” viewing area.

2010 Koenigsegg Trevita Exterior High Resolution AutoShow
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Surrounded by supercars and flanked by a pair of LaFerrari’s, the Koenigsegg Trevita stood shimmering under the lights, swarmed by fans and journalists alike.

Surrounded by supercars and flanked by a pair of LaFerrari’s, the Koenigsegg Trevita stood shimmering under the lights, swarmed by fans and journalists alike, each clambering over one another for a better angle on the custom white carbon fiber exterior. I was fortunate enough to get up close and personal with the machine, checking over every little detail. The combination of master craftsmanship, innovative engineering, and gorgeous style made quite the impact on me, and throughout the week, I’d find my mind wandering to thoughts of that exquisite sled of speed.

Russo & Steele Auction

After Mecum, I headed over to Fisherman’s Warf to check out the action going on at Russo & Steele. Like Mecum, R&S is also known for bringing an impressive diversity of cars, but the real draw here is the accessibility offered to bidders and onlookers alike thanks to the “auction-in-the-round” format. Classic collectibles like a 1953 Ferrari 250 Europa brought big money, while muscle cars like a 1969 Ford Mustang Boss 429 sparked the passion of enthusiasts. Oddities like a 1989 Toyota Crown and 1972 Fiat 500 L raised a few eyebrows.

Monterey Car Week Once Again Brings The Goods In 2017 High Resolution Exterior
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My favorite of the bunch was a 1972 BMW 3.0 CSL racer, finished in black with red and blue stripes. Also known as the “Batmobile,” the CSL racer is all flares and wings, which work to transform the Bavarian compact into a true track terror.

Weirdly, I found the same Fisker Karma from the Mecum parking lot heading to the block at R&S…

Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion

When it comes to auto events, I tend to favor those that take place on the track. After all, going apex hunting makes a lot of sense when you start talking big horsepower, and thankfully, MCW has the Motorsports Reunion for just that purpose. Held at the legendary Laguna Seca racing circuit, this event puts all those historic competition machines back in their native environment. The lineup for 2017 spanned over eight decades, including everything from antiques to modern prototypes.

Monterey Car Week Once Again Brings The Goods In 2017 High Resolution Exterior
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Monterey Car Week Once Again Brings The Goods In 2017 High Resolution Exterior
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The sound of the engines winding out down the front straight, the sight of brightly colored liveries blasting down the corkscrew, the smell of race fuel, burnt rubber, and hot brakes…

Standouts this year included several BMW M1 Procars and a Mazda 767B. Emerson Fittipaldi’s championship-winning 1974 McLaren M23 Formula 1 car was also out and about doing a few exhibition laps courtesy of Mika Hakkinen, while Jacky Ickx’s rally-ready Porsche 959 was on display, still covered in a fine layer of dirt from its last competition outing.

But while the cars were all quite impressive, it was the atmosphere of the Reunion that really got to me. The sound of the engines winding out down the front straight, the sight of brightly colored liveries blasting down the corkscrew, the smell of race fuel, burnt rubber, and hot brakes – these are the sorts of things that stick with you.

RM Sotheby’s

After exiting the bright, sun-drenched hills of Laguna Seca, it was back to the coast for the RM Sotheby’s auction, a place where big money comes out to play. The highlight lot for this year’s event was #148, a 1956 Aston Martin DBR1 that sold for a whopping $22.5 million, followed by a 1959 Aston Martin DB4GT Prototype selling for $6.7 million, as well as a few Ferraris (1961 250 GT SWB Berlinetta by Scaglietti, $8.3 million, 1955 121 LM Spider by Scaglietti, $5.7 million, 1959 Ferrari 410 Superamerica Series III Coupe by Pininfarina, $5.3 million).

2016 Pagani Huayra Tempesta Exterior High Resolution
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Of course, alongside all the classics were tons of modern supercars and hypercars, including the LaFerrari, Pagani Huayra Tempesta, Lamborghini Concept S, and Porsche 918 Spyder.

Seeing all these unicorns crammed together side-by-side was quite a sight, and certainly helped readjust my standards when it came to automotive excellence.

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance

Speaking of big money, the Concours d’Elegance is considered the climax of MCW, a place where the best of the best congregate to draw the attention of an expert panel of judges. This is a competition where the criteria for success is all about “historical accuracy, technical merit, and style,” and to walk away a winner here means serious bragging rights in the upper echelons of collector car culture.

In addition to the pre-war and post-war classics on display, the Concours d’Elegance is also the place where vehicle concepts make their debut, with hoards of fresh metal out on display on the aptly named “concept lawn.” My favorite was the Infiniti Prototype 9, a gleaming silver single-seat racer drawing its styling inspiration from pre-war competition vehicles. Not only did it manage to combine new and old in terms of aesthetics (that large Infiniti grille looks great on this concept!), but it did so in terms of technology as well, equipping a fully electric drivetrain for motivation.

2017 Infiniti Prototype 9 Exterior High Resolution
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My favorite was the Infiniti Prototype 9, a gleaming silver single-seat racer drawing its styling inspiration from pre-war competition vehicles.

Another stand out was the Ferrari Sergio, a limited production (only six created) two-door with expanded headroom and one very sexy shape. We spotted this thing out and about on the streets of Pebble Beach, revving and generally looking amazing before parking at a special Ferrari exhibit celebrating 70 years of the Prancing Horse.

Conclusion

In all honesty, dear readers, MCW is just so jam packed with goodness, I’m barely scratching the surface with this relatively short-length overview. Make sure to stay tuned as we update with more pictures snagged on the scene at the various events, and let us know what gets your juices flowing the most by posting in the comments section below.

References

Fisker Karma

2011 Fisker Karma
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Read our full review on the Fisker Karma.

Koenigsegg Trevita

2010 Koenigsegg Trevita High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the Koenigsegg Trevita.

1972 BMW 3.0 CSL

1975 BMW 3.0 CSL Exterior
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Read our full review on the 1972 BMW 3.0 CSL.

Pagani Huayra Tempesta

2016 Pagani Huayra Tempesta Exterior High Resolution
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Read our full review on the Pagani Huayra Tempesta.

Infiniti Prototype 9

2017 Infiniti Prototype 9 Exterior High Resolution
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Read our full review on the Infiniti Prototype 9.

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