Tour D'Elegance presented by Rolex
Aug. 14, Carmel, noon to 2 p.m. Free
The parking is tight, the gawking tighter when 200 or so cars – some that will be judged at Pebble Beach – conclude a 60-mile Tour D'Elegance on Ocean Avenue.
While car owners and guests picnic in Devendorf Park, from noon through 2 p.m. their cars fill block after block of Ocean Avenue. It's an unbelievable show.
Car fanciers park along the route, the Monterey-Salinas Highway (Highway 68), to inhale the high-priced fumes. Fans at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca get to watch the Concours cars making parade laps in two groups, at 8:50 a.m. and 9:50 a.m.
The Quail Motorsports Gathering
Aug. 15, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., $450 (sold out)
My favourite memory: Spotting a Ferrari V-12 tucked into the engine bay of a 1932 Ford hot rod. But, that's just me. You're certain to find something up your vehicular alley, like the 1950 Ferrari 166 Inter Berlinetta exuding heat just a few steps away from my matte-finished hot rod.
The Quail is the longest drive you'll make from Monterey all week, 12 miles following Highway 1 and Carmel Valley Road, and worth it, absolutely. You get touching-close to 200 cars of varied pedigree and quirkiness – and what a pleasant surprise that the champagne, the oysters and fabulous luncheon choices are included.
With the 100th anniversary of Maserati as a theme, anticipate seeing at least one splendid Tipo 61, the sports racing car famously known as the Birdcage because 200 tubular sections form its chassis.
Another theme, A Tribute to India, will go beyond Maharajas' over-accessorized Rolls-Royces, but how? Will Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus of the Tata Group, the Indian owner of Jaguar Land Rover, attend? People do turn up and mix. Sir Jackie Stewart, the three-time world champion, is a featured guest, as is Nick Mason (Pink Floyd drummer, noted car collector, racer) and singer-guitarist Neal Schon (Santana/Journey).
The Quail is followed by the Bonhams Auction at 7 p.m. in the Quail Lodge. Last year, it produced $32.7-million in sales.
Aug. 16, 8 a.m.-1:30 p.m., Laguna Grande Park
While serious cognoscenti find their way Saturday to Concorso Italiano (advertising 1,000 cars – Zagatos and Maseratis featured – tickets $135) at the Black Horse Golf Course outside Seaside, north of Monterey, laughs are free at the Concours d'Lemons.
Among d'Lemons, the only cars not disrespected are those that typically get no respect. A Ford Pinto appears in concours condition, and AMC Pacers and Concords are polished to the nines. A faded, dented Austin-Healey Sprite carries logos from Sprite pop cans in place of its originals.
Rueful Britannia is one class, Most Affluent another. Shag Vans are judged inside and out. Judges invite bribes. Promoted as "an ugly oil stain on the Pebble Beach auto week," it provides relief from the crushing seriousness of all the rest.