2020:“But for a few bright spots, a year better gathered up and binned.” That’s how my friend Pete put it in a recent chat about getting out and shooting, and I definitely shared his sentiment.
The annual Car Week festivities in Monterey were canceled in 2020, and so it seems that their return this year spurred many frustrated car enthusiasts to get off the couch (or out of the office) and attend every event they possible could.
Since our visit a couple of years back it seems things have only grown exponentially, and while this is perhaps slightly concerning in a world still plagued by some version of a certain virus, it’s a good thing for car culture.
Events like these held during Car Week really make you step back and wonder what car culture really is, though. What does it mean to me? What’s important to me about it? Where’s it been and where’s it going?
The latter of those questions really gets laid out plainly at the Porsche Monterey Classic, a gathering of exactly what you’d expect – Porsches old and new, worth as much as say $30,000 on up into the $500,000+ territory.
Although I’m not exactly at home in this six-plus-figure kind of crowd, it really is interesting to see what kind of cars turn up to events like these. Of course they’re mostly stock, which many of us find boring, but as the years go by I find myself longing to experience these older cars as they were experienced in period. In other words, stock.
I’m also all for modifying just about everything, so I’ve found myself in a pleasant sweet spot where pretty much anything I look at just appeals to me these days. Although I wouldn’t personally put my money into a new Carrera (in part because it would require all of it), I can at least enjoy the fact that it looks nice and goes fast; and I did.
In a sea of special colors and special editions, I just found myself simply having a good time. And that’s really what Car Week is all about; I love seeing different kinds of enthusiasts coming together and finding common ground.
It’s easy to become jaded with a lineup of events like this, or to find ourselves hating on the way other people spend their obscene amounts of spare cash — especially when their ‘investments’ just sit in the garage unused. But life is just so much better when you focus on yourself instead.
I found myself snapping away as the wine flowed, enjoying what Porsche has managed to accomplish for itself. What that infers is different for everyone, so I’ll leave that up to you to assign some deeper meaning. Maybe you can argue about it in the comments. Or you could be nice.Concours On The Ave
The following morning was the literal manifestation of enjoying things as they were in period, in the form of Concours on the Ave in Carmel. Or should I say, Concours on the Avenue in Carmel-By-The-Sea. Although I’m not altogether than concerned whether a car has the correct coolant hose, this side of car culture has definitely grown on me over time.
While the cars at this event might not be able to hold a candle to the cream of the crop reserved for the ultra-prestigious Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, they’re still excellent examples of excellent autos. Whether unrestored, fully restored, garage-kept or used and abused, each car has a special story.
The space was well curated with a bit of everything, from an old Aston to a coach-built Alfa to some fine examples of actual race cars that were driven to the event from the track via police escort on the street. That’s a site I’m sad to say I missed.
There were also a number of modified cars littering the streets, and they were getting a lot of love, which I was pleased to see. Rather than babble on any further, though, I’ve put together a large set of images for your eyeballs to enjoy in case they couldn’t do so in person.
I’ll also leave you with a plethora of spoilers (and wings) in the gallery section below; my plan for a Spoiler Alert: Car Week is Coming dad-level joke didn’t work out in relation to this story. That’s probably for the best, but you can rest assured that plenty more coverage is indeed on the way.
Sara and I made it to a number of free shows to put together a guide to doing Monterey Car Week on the cheap; Naveed handled the other end of the spectrum at McCall’s, The Quail, and so on; and we all teamed up at the track for the historic races to try to shoot a bit of everything for you.
We’ll report back soon.