Photography by ©2015 Toni Avery & Ron Avery
While every year seems to be better than the last, Monterey Car Week 2015 was by far the best for my website. Attending my favorite events as well as a few for the first time, I took in the best of the week and not only shared via social media while there, but also in brief previews before the full stories arrived in the days following.
In preparation for 2016, I’ve put together a recap of last year’s activities. Below you’ll find an image from each event I attended as well as a short summary. Clink on the title (link) of each event to see the full story from last year. I hope to see you this year!
Usually the first event of my week, Concours on the Avenue is one of the best shows of the week, not only because its free to spectators but it also showcases a wonderful variety of cars. It’s also lined with some of the most exclusive high-end shops in Carmel.
Last year, I spoke with a few owners of some rare cars, one of a 1967 Toyota 2000GT (the only year the car was brought to the US) and the other a 1965 Shelby G.T. 350 (car number ten and was used as a development car for the next production year). I also grabbed a few minutes of time from Dana Mecum of Mecum Auctions for a quick Periscope video.
Known as the official kickoff party of Monterey Car Week, Gordon McCall’s is quite possibly the swankiest of them all. Located at the Monterey Jet Center, Car Week attendees, auto manufacturers and celebrities partake in the over-the-top set-up guests come to expect every year.
2015 brought even more in attendance than the year before (or so it seemed) and some especially rare cars. I had my first in-person glimpse of the all-new Ford GT and ran into some friends including Chad McQueen and Justin Bell.
There are so many auction companies that offer Car Week goers a chance to drive home in a new, or old toy for the garage. Mecum Auctions offers a wide variety of cars ranging from Hot Rods to rare exotics. It’s one of the friendlier auction houses too, where you won’t feel as though your entrance fee is chump change to other interested buyers.
My first year in attendance, I was able to research prior to the auction which cars I wanted to focus on. I chose ten unique and rare cars to highlight giving my own condition ratings. I even stumbled across a stunning 2002 that I almost went home with.
As one of the most recognized auctions during Car Week, RM Auctions is known for its predominately rare and even a few one-off cars. While mint condition isn’t always essential for some auction houses, RM is more or less known for selling perfect or near perfect examples.
Having covered the auction for european car magazine a few years back, I was delighted at the opportunity to cover the auction for my website. RM is probably the auction house I associate with Car Week simply because of its prime location. Situated right in the center of downtown Monterey and steps away from the wharf, RM showcases its cars in the outside area as well as inside the Portola Plaza hotel. I highlighted six standout cars in my coverage last year.
The Estate is located more inland from the water and up in the hills. In addition to the beautiful setting, Aston Martin brings out an example of each car from its lineup to allow customers and media the chance to take any one for a short spin. Future products and concept cars are also displayed for onlookers to ogle over.
Having been invited in years past, I was never able to make the time to go, until last year. After spending a decent amount of time looking at and deciding on which car I would take, I finally settled on a Vanquish Volante. This V12 convertible offered a luxurious cabin and a wicked fun driving experience.
Monterey is prime real-estate for automakers to bring out the latest exotic car in the lineup. Especially thanks to the wonderful weather, convertibles are an ideal choice. With its recent return to the US, Alfa Romeo offers a Coupe and Spider version of its little two-seat 4C.
Handed the keys and told to return in the next two hours, I anxiously jumped into a bright yellow 4C Spider. Making stops at Laguna Seca and the Aquarium I opted to take some photos at iconic locations around the bay as well as a drive through Laureles Grade, a nice winding road from the track to the backside of Monterey.
The only event where racing occurs is the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, possibly the longest running event of Car Week. Owners and sometimes celebrities bring their cars out to take part in competitive racing. Classes ranging from well-known classics to vintage Formula 1 cars, spectators have almost as much fun as the drivers.
Each year I’ve attended Car Week, I’ve never missed an opportunity to make an appearance. Other than the incredible sound and atmosphere of the races, I always make the trek to Vendor Island to check out the rare automotive related items for purchase. Last year was an especially warm one. I made the uphill journey to the top of the Corkscrew to capture some incredible images of cars making that famous turn.
Connections are everything. While attending Gordon McCall’s, I spoke with Chad McQueen who invited me to a party put on by Porsche later that week. I of course accepted. Located down the road where the Quail car show takes place, Porsche set up a lovely space with a stunning 904 GTS and GT4 on display.
Truly the main event of the week and what everyone associates Car Week with is the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. On the last Sunday of the week, the event starts literally at the crack of dawn and even before. Only the best of the best are invited to display their cars for this show and it’s quite and honor to be asked.
Last year I got up before the sun in order to get some incredible shots of cars lining up on the green. Despite the early hour, there is a minimum of 100 people watching as cars go by. This is truly the best time to go because even an hour later, the green becomes a sardine can for spectators.
I singled out a few exceptional cars and even spoke to the owners of some including race car driver Bobby Rahal and his Shelby G.T. 350. As media, I was granted access to the Jaguar hospitality suite where I had a spectacular view of the entire show to watch the activity from above.
The events during Car Week are obviously the highlight for me, but I also enjoy the drive up and back. Last year I drove the 2015 Jeep Cherokee TrailHawk hundreds of miles to, from and around Car Week. It was incredibly versatile allowing for abundant cargo space, off-road capabilities for the sometimes-terrible parking lots and an attractive exterior to blend in with the crowd.