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Monterey Auto Week returned to glory with cars galore

Monterey Auto Week: The unofficial, super cool, canine greeters at Concours on the Avenue.

Monterey Auto Week has a problem, and it’s about as good as it gets.

After a two-year hiatus because of COVID-19, the return edition ended Sunday, August 15 with the 70th anniversary of the Concours d’Elegance. It was the grand finale to a now 10-day occasion of about 30 events.

And therein the issue for automotive enthusiasts gathering on the Monterey Peninsula: Where do we go and what do we all do first? How do we prioritize? Isn’t it great to have choices?

There's usually at least one Kaiser-Darrin at every edition of the Concours on the Avenue.
There’s usually at least one Kaiser-Darrin at every edition of the Concours on the Avenue. All images © Bruce Aldrich (2021).

Bruce Aldrich and I have represented The Weekly Driver website and podcast at Monterey Auto Week for several years. I’ve attended various auto shows, racing, auctions and related events on the peninsula since 1987 while contributing content and images to several local, regional, national and international publications.

Monterey Auto Week returned in splendor

Attending the festivities is a wondrous grind. What’s not to like?

This year’s event had a special vibe, a celebration of automobiles amid coronavirus protocols. Fewer cars were showcased at some events, but exuberance prevailed.

Monterey Auto Week: Crosley automobiles were made by the Crosley Brothers in Cincinnati, Ohio. The company made the first post-WWII sports cars and the first Sport Utility Vehicle.
Monterey Auto Week: Crosley automobiles were made by the Crosley Brothers in Cincinnati, Ohio. The company made the first post-WWII sports cars and the first modern-day sport utility vehicles.

The usual assortment of multi-million-dollar vehicles found their usuals perches at the Concours d’Elegance and high-end auctions. But attainable vehicles have always been more interesting, and we found plenty. We talked to car owners and memorabilia vendors. And we chatted with entrepreneurs, collectors and a museum curator.

I did most of the interviewing and writing, including an article on the COVID-10 protocol at the Concours on the Avenue for The Monterey Herald. Bruce took all of the images and produced our podcast. It was fun teamwork — once again.

Monterey Auto Week: Not too many of these around, a Matra-Bonnet Djet. A dozen or so are in the United States, according to the owner.
Monterey Auto Week: Not too many of these around, a Matra-Bonnet Djet. A dozen or so are in the United States, according to the owner.

We interviewed Donald Osborne, the long-time co-emcee of the Concours on the Avenue and an international automotive businessman. We talked with Kit and Rick Franke of Pacific Grove about their 1960 Buick Electra 225; We talked with David and Pam Hibbert about their 1974 Type E 4.2 liter Jaguar; And we talked with Jessica Denecour of Pacific Grove, the owner of a 1947 Crosley Convertible.

Bruce and I attended the Porsche Monterey Classic in Seaside upon our arrival from Sacramento on Monday night, Aug. 9. We couldn’t have timed it any better. Vintage Porsches of all shapes, sizes and eras arrived in a steady stream of wheeled history.

Of course, we wouldn’t miss the Concours on the Avenue in Carmel (Aug. 10)  and The Little Car Show (Aug. 11) in Pacific Grove. We visited the streamlined Pop-up Memorabilia Show (Aug. 11) at the Embassy Suites in Seaside.

Monterey Auto Week: How's this for style? A 1950 Alfa Romeo 6C. It was named Best of Show at the Concours of the Avenue.
Monterey Auto Week: How’s this for style? A 1950 Alfa Romeo 6C. It was named Best of Show at the Concours of the Avenue.

Aston Martin invited Bruce and me to the unveiling of the manufacturer’s new hypercar, the Valkyrie Spider and Valhalla at Pebble Beach. The late morning, early afternoon gathering Aug. 12 couldn’t have been presented better. The press conference was held at a private residence parallel to the 18th fairway of Pebble Beach Golf Links.

Tobias Moers, Aston Martin’s CEO, and Marek Reichman, CCO and Head of Design, made clear, easy-to-digest presentations. A casual Q&A followed, emceed by former versatile driving pro Derek Hill, son of the automotive legend Phil Hill. The debuts corresponded to Aston Martin’s 70th anniversary.

Monterey Auto Week: Vintage Porsches had s dominating presence.
Monterey Auto Week: Vintage Porsches had a dominating presence.

And just before making the return trip to Sacramento, we visited with Chris Bright and his colleague Aaron Lalibert from Collector Part Exchange.

Chris was a recent guest on The Weekly Driver Podcast, talking about the site he recently co-founded with Lalibert. It’s growing fast. Chris and Aaron had just arrived from Portland and they drove over from Salinas in Chris’ one-of-a-kind vintage Maserati 300S. It attracted attention just in the parking of Dust Bowl Brewing Co. in Monterey where the four of us chatted for a while after lunch (Thanks for the beers, Chris.)

We saw a lot and talked with a lot of people about their car passions. But there’s so much more to consider for Monterey Auto Week, 2022. Is it still a year away?

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