Every year in August, California (specifically Monterey) becomes THE place for car lovers. From the marque-specific events such as the Werks Reunion, the largest gathering of Porsches to Concorso Italiano, the week is incredibly special. In a return to live auctions, Bonhams will once again be at the Quail Lodge, RM/Sotheby’s added a day to their normal two-day auction and Gooding will be back on the grounds of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. Of course, the grand event is the Sunday Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, arguably the most spectacular experience of its kind in the world.
However, the kickoff to the entire week is the Concours-on-the-Ave in Carmel. This event focused on vehicles not usually seen during the rest of Monterey Car Week. The fun began around 7:00 a.m. on Tuesday for the early birds. (Note to readers: parking is challenging in Carmel, get there early). After grabbing a cup of coffee and breakfast burrito from one of the fabulous deli’s on Ocean Ave, it was great to watch the cavalcade of classics enter the area. Closed to traffic, eighteen blocks of downtown was filled with collector cars and related motorized fun. A judged event, there was a fascinating mix of American and foreign cars. This year, about 175 cars were on display with featured, Luxury Cars, Muscle Cars, Hot Rods and Sports Cars. In comparison to some of the other events of the week, this concours relaxed, but with a sophisticated vibe. The backdrop of charming shops, critically acclaimed restaurants and numerous galleries perfectly showcased the finest in automotive design and engineering. Micro cars were also featured. From a judging perspective, the usual factors presided including authenticity, originality, and provenance. This year, additional consideration was given for cars that inspired youthful dreams, interesting stories and the undeniable fun factor.