Coronavirus hasn’t halted 2020 Classic Car Week

James Raia

Mecum Auctions Monterey is still scheduled despite coronavirus pandemic, but still could be postponed. Image © James Raia/2018.

Monterey Auto Week, the varied collection of pricey rarities, vintage race cars and coveted relics, is scheduled as planned on the Monterey Peninsula in August. But the uncertainty of the coronavirus virus restrictions could still halt the annual celebration of automobiles.

Beginning with the Monterey Kick-Off Cruise-In on Alvarado Street in Monterey and continuing through the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance on August 16, the international gathering including more than 30 attractions.

Monterey Auto Week is still on for 2020 despite coronavirus threat.
Monterey Auto Week is still on for 2020 despite coronavirus threat. Image © James Raia/2018.

“We care deeply about the entrants, judges and guests of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, and we want to act wisely in regard to this new challenge that we are all now facing,” organizers posted on the event’s website. “Our event is several months into the future, and we still hope to be able to celebrate our love of cars together on August 16, 2020 — so we continue to plan accordingly.”

Coronavirus concerns still worrisome

The Concours d’Elegance, the yearly finale to the festivities, is scheduled to celebrate its 70th anniversary this year on Pebble Beach Golf Links.

Tony Singer, the founder of Automobilia Monterey, scheduled Aug. 10-12 at the Embassy Suites in Seaside, said the three-day offering of all things in the world of automobile memorabilia, is “still a go.”

“We are almost sold out for vendor space, just a couple of spots remain,” said Singer, the renowned vintage automotive poster collector and dealer. The plan is to revisit toward the end of May. There are so many events during Car Week that have many more moving pieces, so it will remain to be seen who might pull the plug first.”

90 days out for coronavirus halt

Singer believes that although there’s no collective Monterey Auto Week organization, any change of plans must be determined with no less than three months before auto week is scheduled.

“As I have stressed with many other folks, we’re all in this together,” said Singer. “All the various events are intertwined and each, in some way, are dependent upon others.

“With so many of the events drawing participants, as well as spectators, from all over the world, this cannot be a last-minute decision. My sense is that 90 days out will be a point of no return. I do not believe there is a ‘plan B’ in place for anyone. “But I am cautiously optimistic that the 2020 events will take place.”

Many car shows, auctions and most notably some of the most unique vehicles at the Concours d’Elegance are shipped from various countries to the peninsula. Last year, the event’s collection of rare Bugatti vehicles arrived with extraordinary international coordination.

“Taking into consideration the requirements of European vendors, as well as attendees, adequate notice is the only appropriate action to take,” said Singer. “It is a matter of logistics for goods and travel arrangements, that one needs to be responsive to said needs. It is only fair.”

In early March, the Sea Otter Classic cycling festival, originally scheduled April 16-19 and including participants from many countries was postponed because of the coronavirus. A few days later, Oct. 1-4 dates were announced.

The Big Sur International Marathon, originally scheduled or April 26, was postponed on March 12. A new date has not been announced.

David Laws, a key organizer of the Pacific Grove Auto Rally, said the event is scheduled as planned. The fundraiser to Rotary charities celebrated its 25th anniversary last year with the traditional showcase of cars, drive through 17-Mile Drive through Pebble Beach and barbecue.

“We are still working on the assumption that auto week will proceed on schedule,” said Laws. “We obviously have concerns that, with the current massive loss of net worth across the state, many of our usual attendees will decide not to join us this year.

“The possible upside is that folks who have had to cancel overseas trips will be looking for more local diversions. We have no plan B at present, We are so connected to the schedule of the Pebble Beach event that we will have to adjust to whatever changes they decide to make.”

Mecum Auctions, Monterey, the only daytime auction during Classic Car Week, is scheduled Aug. 13-15 at the Hyatt Regency. The nationally televised event annually features about 600 vehicle is the eighth of the company’s 12 original schedule of 12 auctions around the country.

Mecum Auctions’ events in Huston (April 2-4) and Indianapolis (June 23-28) have been postponed and its Portland stop (June 12-13) is canceled.

“We’ll provide updates regarding the scheduling of our auctions on an auction-by-auction basis,” said David Morton, the Communications & Event Marketing manager. Last year, sales from Mecum’s auction in Monterey approached $40 million.

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