Monterey Car Week 2016

 

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The Quail Gathering, Concours d’Elegance Pebble Beach, Exotics on Cannery Row. These are all events that take place during the holy grail of supercar gatherings, Monterey Car Week. As a long time avid car enthusiast, I’ve heard the rumours, read countless articles, and seen millions of pictures on the internet of the rarest, fastest, craziest, most expensive cars on the planet gathering together in a single place. Needless to say it was definitely an item high on my automotive bucket list.

Then I get an unexpected email late April confirming my media credentials to attend the 2016 Concours d’Elegance in Pebble Beach. Excited was an understatement. I immediately text MadWhips head honcho Anthony Carbone to make sure it wasn’t a mistake. Sure enough he confirmed that we were going for the week, and he would be bringing his newly acquired supercar, a McLaren 540C!

Anthony is a Monterey veteran, so as a first-timer, I was happy to be going with someone that knew what they were doing. Nothing could have prepared me for the onslaught of exotics after exotics during the week.

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The plan was to fly into San Fransisco on Sunday so that we could pick up the 540C from the Mclaren dealership there on Monday and drive to Monterey that night. We took the scenic Pacific Coast highway south for two and a half hours and arrive at our lovely guest house cottage off Pebble Beach that we reserved via Air B’n’B for the rest of the week.

The first day we met up with Jason Thorgalson (aka SpeedRacer28) and Brian Zuk, both well-respected car spotters within the automotive community. Since the events officially started on Thursday, and it was Tuesday, we decide to go on the lookout for some exotics. Immediately we stumble upon something spectacular: two transport trucks unloading a total of eight Bugatti Veyrons. Yes you read that right, eight different Veyrons! There were “regular” Veyrons, Vitesses, and a Grand Sport. This was just a teaser of what was to come for the rest of the week.

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My head was spinning. At any given time throughout the week, I could do a full 360 and see a full variety of amazing automobiles in a 50m radius.  New cars, old cars, fast cars, luxurious cars. Rolls-Royces were as common as a Toyota and Lamborghinis were revving around like tarted-up civics. They made way for Koenigseggs, Bugattis, Paganis, LaFerraris, P1s and other automotive royalties demanding their presence on the street.

There were any events that we “officially” attended, and others that we attended as special guests thanks to our extreme coverage of the event every year. Some of the events that we attended were:

Concourso Italiano

As the name suggests, this event invited mainly Italian cars. In fact there were over 1,000 cars on the lawn of the Black Horse Golf Course. There was a number of highhights from the show that included Valentino Balboni discussing his new VB exhaust system for the Aventador SV, David Lee’s ferrari collection which includes greats such as the 288 GTO, F40, F50, Enzo, and LaFerrari. There were non-italian gems that shined through as well. A gorgeous BMW M1 was on display, and there was a McLaren 675LT in the parking lot.

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McCall’s Motorworks Revival Jet Center Party

This was one of those events that we attended “unofficially”.We got there around noon but the actual event was scheduled for later in the night. We managed to talk our way through as they were setting up the party at the Monterey Jet Center. Jackpot! This event had some of the most exclusive cars there. It was definitely one of the highlights of the trip. Some of the cars included:

– Naked Carbon Fiber Ferrari Enzo
– Koenigsegg Agera XS and Regera
– McLaren display: 2 x P1 GTR, 570 GT4, and an amazing Can-Am car
– An original Ford GT40
Pagani Huayra BC
– A Singer Porsche 911

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The Quail: A Motorsports Gathering

The Quail: A Motorsports Gathering was another event that we “unofficially attended. The plan was to go there a day early so that we could hopefully catch some of the cars unloading as they set-up the event. Once again, we hit gold. The street that led into The Quail Lodge & Golf Club was lined with transport trucks unloading their precious cargo. However, many of the cars were still under wraps so the pictures The cars that are on the lawn of The Quail were a mix of legendary classics, such as the McLaren F1 and Aston Martin DB5, the most extreme modern hypercars such as the Bugatti Chiron, Koenigsegg Regera and Lamborghini Centenario, and racecars such as the McLaren F1 GTR Long Tail and the SCG 003. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves, but what they don’t show is that I seized the opportunity to chat with some real industry heros of mine such as James Glickenhaus and Christian von Koenigsegg.

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Pagani x Gumball 3000 Mansion Party

This was definitely one of the highlights of the week. Anthony and I were on the guest list to attend a mansion party hosted by Pagani Automobili and the Gumball 3000 crew. The first thing that catches your eye are the various Huayras, including the BC, scattered throughout the front lawn of the modern-chique party house. I won’t name any names, but anyone who is anyone in the automotive industry attended the party. And what a party it was. Free champagne was flowing from bottle to glass, complimentary cigars were cut and lit, and the hookahs were bubbling with flavoured-tobacco smoke. Everyone was having a blast! Also I am quite positive Horacio Pagani’s face was sore from all the smiling he had to do for pictures he was asked to take.

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Concours d’Elegance Pebble Beach

The week ended off with a bang. The Grand Finale to it all was the Concours d’Elegance on the 18th hole of the Pebble Beach Golf Links. This is where cars of  different eras come to compete for the title “Best of Show”. There are various class awards but to win Best of Show means that the car must be as period correct as possible and be the most elegant out of all the contestants. The judges have a list of criteria in order to award points, however they are also given the ability to subjectively award points for elegance. This year’s winner was a 1936 Lancia Asturia Pinin Farina Cabriolet. This car is one of six ever made and was once owned by Eric Clapton. It is definitely a breathtaking piece of machinery. The concept lawn included a Bugatti Vision GranTurismo, Mercedes-Maybach 6, Rimac Concept One, BMW 2002 Turbomeister, and the Spyker C8 Preliator.   Other notables included a collection of original Ford GT40s as a celebration of 50 years since Ford took the 1-2-3 win at LeMans in 1966, and a celebration of BMWs 100th anniversary.

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All in all, this was a trip that I will never forget. It was my first time going to Monterey Car Week, however it definitely will not be my last. Monterey Car Week is an event, or rather series of events, that every car enthusiast should try and attend at least once in their life. It is the equivalent of making a pilgrimage to supercar Mecca. It is the holy land of the exotic automobile.

Final Thoughts

This is not where the story ends though. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that I attend Car Week next year but looking ahead, the next adventure on the list is to attend SEMA 2016 in Las Vegas during the first week of November. This is ridiculous in a whole other way. It is a showcase for how far past insane the aftermarket customization can get to and of course it’s in Vegas. No where else can you find that certain atmosphere of excess that SEMA breathes off. As it was last year, this should be a wicked trip.

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