Monterey Auto Week: Call it Cars-By-The-Sea

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Monterey Auto Week keeps getting bigger and more diverse. It now lasts nearly two weeks and it’s as much about attainable cars as it is masterpiece, price record-breakers. It’s about memorabilia and history, too. And there’s vintage racing and room for one-of-a-kind cars to ugly cars with plenty of pride.

The name of the gathering has never made sense, since no one overseas the occasion and also since many of the various show owners are not particularly best friends.

Nonetheless, it’s the time of the year for the kaleidoscope of car-related activities that occurs yearly on the Monterey Peninsula in mid-August.

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A rare Kaiser Darrin at Monterey Auto Week
Kaiser Darrin. All images © James Raia/2011

The schedule of events includes the best bargain of the festivities, Concours on the Avenue in Carmel on Tuesday, Aug. 13. The show is simple: Passionate owners of vintage cars show off their machines — classic Volkswagen Beetles to pristine Mercedes-Benz sedans and Porsche coupes to muscle cars.

The cars are judged. The owners are proud and the show is free. It’s held in downtown Carmel. Jazz music plays in the background. It’s foggy and cool in morning and with any luck the sun comes out by noon. What’s not to like?

(Double-click twice on thumbnails to view full-size images.)

But what about the rest of the 10 days of automobile stuff? It begins with pre-historics at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca (before the official starting dates) and ends with the granddaddy of offerings, the famed Concours d’Elegance on Sunday, Aug. 18 at Pebble Beach.

Another keen event is the The Quail: A Motorsports Gathering at Quail Lodge. It’s all about great cars, too, and great food, and it’s held on a picturesque golf course. It also costs $550 per person, with tickets selling out shortly after they became available.

Several websites have detailed listings of the schedule, including:

MONTERERYCARWEEK.COM and SPORTSCARDIGEST.COM

And here’s a video from the 2011 Concours on the Avenue. It’s filmed and edited by Bruce Aldrich (www.tahoetruckeeoutdoor.com) and narrated by James Raia (theweeklydriver.com)

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