This is it, the big cars-are-everything week on the Monterey Peninsula. It includes everything from exotic car auctions at Portola Plaza in downtown Monterey to the Concours d'Elegance at Pebble Beach where cars of exquisitely rare marques are rolled down the 18th green to the ooohs and aaaahs of hundreds of onlookers.
This is the most rarefied of all precious atmospheres that this region hangs its hat on - and there are many - including an all-Italian sports car display of vast proportions, a scenic car tour, historic car races at Laguna Seca and the piece de resistance, the Concours. In spite of the immense wealth required to own and show even one of the automobiles (and some owners are here with a truckload of them), shuffling crowds of ordinary folk are invited to join in the oogling at certain venues for free.
Pacific Grove will host one of the most accessible aspects of all, that being a driving tour that begins with all entrants parking up and down Lighthouse Avenue with owners buffing and shining their precious steeds, answering questions and posing for pictures. At a predetermined time, the engines roar to life and cars line up for the beginning of a tour of regions of the downtown area and coast. Like a similar lineup in Carmel, the cars entered must be road worthy and able to drive on surface roads. Spectators pick out key spots, usually with spectacular vistas to enjoy beyond the cars.
Whether you love the yesteryear elegance and chrome-laden designs of big monsters like Rolls Royces or dirt track wonders like Hudson Hornets, you can be sure that at least one car somewhere on the Peninsula this week will turn your head and quicken your heart. I'm rather crazy for Cobras; love the sound of them.
The featured marque (brand to the rest of us) at Pebble Beach this year is the Alfa Romeo. Every year, the entire peninsula is crazy with cars, and they are everywhere, usually driving in touring groups. You'll see a line of Vipers or a few Ferraris zooming up hills in the forest or a scattering of Jaguars or late model Chevys too cool to ignore. Every single one of them has been lavished attention and money, the object of fascination and desire of an owner for years, some of them passed down from parent to child and with quirky histories attached.
I'll keep you posted on "sightings" and events. It's fun, mostly because the expense and attention associated with this hobby is light years beyond me, all fantasy, and no stress to enjoy at all in my part, or yours.
Causes Christine Bottaro Supports
The Nature Conservancy, California State Parks, The United Way