Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Magic of Monterey

Every August since 1950 thousands of car enthusiasts gather in the northern Californian city of Monterey to celebrate style, design, technical complexity and power at the annual Pebble Beach Concours d ‘Elegance. It is THE event for car people and gathers together the best examples of automotive development since the birth of the motor car.
 Pebble Beach Judge Sir Stirling Moss always has an eye for the birds
Although Sunday’s Concours is the pinnacle event, activities now begin mid-week, with events at a variety of locations spread around the Monterey Peninsular. I visited Monterey for the first time in 1991, and have only missed attending a few times since then. It has a spellbinding grip on the psyche, and if you love cars and car people you definitely want to be there.

On Wednesday evening, the must-attend event is McCall’s MotorWorks, a lavish display of interesting, quirky, and quick automobiles, flashy executive jets, old warbirds, and jet fighters from the U.S. Air Force. Convenor, Gordon McCall, is a consummate enthusiast, and organiser, and appropriates the Monterey Jet Centre for the night.
 McCall's MotorWorks at the Monterey Jet Centre
Friday about 3,000 ticket holders attend The Quail ‘A MotorSports Gathering’ which is held on the beautiful Quail Lodge golf course. You can’t attend if you don’t have a ticket, and they go on sale in April. This year they sold out in seven hours! Hosted by businessman Sir Michael Kadoorie, the event is a leisurely stroll among classic sporting cars, with outstanding cuisine, music and lots of automotive curiosities to keep you amused.
 'The Quail' attracts sporting cars from all over the world
On Saturday, you can attend the Historic Races at Laguna Seca circuit just east of Monterey. You’re guaranteed a day of speed and thrills as lots of truly interesting competition cars do battle on the fabulous circuit.
 Historic race cars lap the Laguna Seca circuit
Sunday however, is what we’ve all been waiting for, and from 7am the enthusiasts flock through the gates at Pebble Beach anticipating a dazzling lineup of veteran, vintage, historic and notable cars right off the automotive history pages. They are never disappointed.
 Cars and enthusiasts meet on the 18th fairway at Pebble Beach
Chairman Sandra Button seems to outdo herself every year, and the list of Honorary Judges comprises a who’s who of automotive personnel from design, racing and car-making. This year the Honoured Marques were Alfa Romeo (celebrating its centenary) and Jaguar (celebrating 75 years).

Alfa Romeo brought classics from its Milan museum
 Jaguar brought together all existing XK SS sports cars at Pebble Beach
It’s a big deal and attracts notables like Californian Governor Arnold Schwarzeneger, Comedian Jay Leno, and is hosted by actor Ed Hermann. If you have never been, and you love cars, try and make it there one year. You’ll love it!

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