On any given day, life in Monterey, Pebble Beach, and Carmel is pure fantasyland. During Monterey Car Week these tony enclaves become the ultimate land of make believe. While driving into Carmel don’t be surprised to see a Porsche 959 waiting to make a right turn at a light. A vintage Maserati Ghibli might be parked between a Prius and a brand new Rolls Royce Ghost. You could see a BMW Z8 sitting in a parking lot like an ordinary Buick. All of these possible but unlikely scenarios happened to me today.
As a first timer to Pebble Beach there are a few things that are immediately noticeable. The number of activities and events that are simultaneously occurring is overwhelming. If you were born with ADHD the Peninsula in August is not an easy place to be. Decisions, Decisions! Porsche-only events, music concerts, Legends of the Autobahn, auction previews, seminars, and the highly coveted $600-per-ticket Quail were all going on today at the same time. Each event has hundreds of cars and believe me you will want to look at each and every one of them.
The next thing you notice about Monterey Car Week is that the events are scattered over a wide area that spread north and south of the Peninsula. The distance between events is actually not far geographically but the Monterey traffic rivals Midtown Manhattan during a Papal visit. The upside of all the thick traffic is that every other car is something special. Waze is a must to efficiently get around Monterey.
Despite the sheer enormity of Monterey Car Week I still ran into friends. I caught up with Eric Keller from Enthusiast Auto Group as well as Cheech Fernandes from Rennwerke Porsche. At Legends Keith Martin did a great live interview with Eric Keller among an audience of thousands of people. I also spotted a few celebrities. Apparently in a seminar today Jay Leno proclaimed that the first generation Mazda Miata will become a future classic and that it represents a car with a lot of upside. This is a funny but welcome comment given the absurdly low price of entry and the fact that Turtle Garage has one of the best first-year Miata’s on the planet. The right rear wheel of most cars here on display are worth multiples of a 1990 Miata.
It sure helps to be rolling with Keith Martin. I arrived at Legends of the Autobahn this morning only to find a massive back up of cars and a parking lot that was a long bus ride away. At the gate of the Jack Nicklaus designed golf club I dropped the Keith Martin/Sports Car Market name and they let me right in! Open sesame. Membership has its privileges.
Tonight we stopped by RM Auctions to see the very first Shelby Cobra go on the block. The LeMans winning Jaguar shattered the record as the most expensive British car ever sold. The Shelby Cobra did not hit the high estimate of $20 million but it didn’t fall on its face either.
Check back for more updates as we get closer to Sunday. You can also get the inside story on everything going on at the Monterey Car Week by viewing the free Sports Car Market’s Pocket Guide to Monterey.