The Good Old Days
Do you remember that moment when you were a youngster, just strolling along with your pops in a parking lot, then BAM! You saw this car you’ve never seen before. It was so shiny, hunkered down, artful, distinguishable, and beautiful…………. and you just stopped…. and looked at it…. and admired it for a bit. Inside that uninfluenced, innocent brain of yours there was a flourish of emotions; something was different about this car. It wasn’t moving, but it looked like it could go a million miles per hour. This, my friend, was your first supercar sighting. It gave you chills. It encouraged your love of the automobile. It unveiled a whole new level of cars you never knew about and never thought could exist.
Since then you’ve seen your fair share of rare classics, exotics, one-offs, prototypes, and race cars, but did they ever once give you that giddy, pee-your-pants-because-you’re-so-excited feeling again? Probably not. Maybe close to it if you’ve ever seen a Pagani Huayra or mint split-window Stingray in person…… but the piss probably came from waiting a long time to see either of those. Anyway, the point is that we, as obsessive, unhealthily addicted car aficionados strive to achieve that tight-stomached feeling by seeing bigger, better, faster, fire-spittinger, tire-spinninger cars throughout our lives, and it’s not that often that we get so excited that we revert back to our childish, shaky-kneed tendencies.
Our Not So Sad Reality
This is because great cars are becoming so common these days! They are so accessible and attainable that they’ve almost become a staple, and this drives us mad! We have to work that much harder to become EXCITED. We attend ALL THE PARKING LOT MEETS. We go to ALL THE MOTORSPORT EVENTS. We buy ALL THE AFTERMARKET PARTS, but to no avail.
There Is Hope
But don’t you worry! There is something “more” out there. A gathering that you’ve probably heard of but never gone to because *whiny voice* “It’s too far!” or “It’s going to cost me money!” It’s MONTEREY CAR WEEK, a mid-California coastal gathering of cars coming in all shapes, sizes, modification levels, price points (you will see numbers you have NEVER seen before), and ages. It happens every year in mid-August, and don’t you forget it!
To address the whimpering above, you have NO IDEA just how great this week-long show is. It’s like (preliminary nerdy comments warning) when you’ve been collecting Pokemon cards for years… you think you’ve seen them all, been the very best that no one ever was, but you’re WRONG! There comes a day when you open up a new pack of cards and you get that holographic first edition Charizard. He freaking sparkles and breathes fire in all his glory, and here comes the piss. Yup. You’ve pissed yourself. Monterey Car Week is the automotive equivalent of that tinfoil decorated dragon! IT WILL MAKE YOU PISS WITH EXCITEMENT. So don’t worry about the distance, and don’t worry about the money (you really don’t need more than gas and food money if you wanna rough it and see all the free shows; there are plenty).
Have you ever sobbed over never being able to see a car because of its rarity or unavailability in your country? You’re going to see it at Monterey Car Week. Yep, you will see all the cars. Almost literally, all of the cars will be there, waiting for you to see them, parked on beautiful golf courses and coastal roads. You will see Koenigseggs. You will see Fiat Panda’s. You will see BMW 3.0 CSL race cars. You will see Priuses (or Prii, whatever the plural of Prius is). You will see Audi RS4 Avant’s. And everything else. Everything. You will honestly get to a point where you sit yourself down and ask yourself, “Should I go home? This isn’t real. I’m spoiling myself. Do I even deserve this? I see all these cars, but I feel guilty. It shouldn’t be this easy to see all of this! How is this happening?!?!?!” And in the amount of time it took you to have your mini anxiety attack, 3 Porsche 918’s, a Gumpert Apollo, a mint ’66 Camaro, and 5 McLaren P1’s have passed by the place where you’re sitting. For that week, Monterey literally turns into an automotive utopia. You will never see anything like it again…… until the next year.
For Those Who Somehow Still Have Doubt
By the way I’ve explained it, you’re probably envisioning Monterey Car Week as a chaotic blob of people running around looking left, right and diagonally to see all these cars. But it’s actually a very organized and respectful environment if you take the time to plan your days before they come along. For purists, there are manufacturer-specific meets at each of the golf courses on specified days. The Legends of the Autobahn is for German vehicles, Werks Reunion is for Porsche’s; there’s the Italian Stampede, Mecum Auto Auctions, and even the historic races at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. You can probably imagine that there is something for everyone. If none of the above seem to tickle your fancy, there is even a meet of beat up junkers in the Concours d’Lemons where you can find budget racers (and by budget, I mean under $500) that have been smashed to bits and, usually, are trailered into the event. You will find something that you like and probably stay there for more than half the day because of the sheer size of each of these events.
For those of you looking for the easy guide to this event, here are some quick tips:
- Bring cash EVERYWHERE. You may have to randomly pay for parking (in rare cases) or get hungry and go to a food truck that doesn’t accept card.
- Get a map or really good cell service because many places around Monterey have pretty weak signal.
- DOWNLOAD THE EVENT SCHEDULE. This way you can know the where’s, when’s and what’s of everything that’s going on.
- Show up to the paid events’ locations the night before! Entrance tickets to The Quail and other high end shows can cost upwards of $400. That is disgusting….. and pretty exclusionary to us lower to middle income individuals if you ask me. But there’s a catch….. if you go to these locations during setup (usually the afternoon on the day before), you can see all the cars in the show FOR FREE! Better yet…… you get to see the coolest of the cool cars before anyone else does, and that’s just really… cool.
- Bring sunscreen. Monterey may be a chilly, overcast place most of the time, but somehow the sun still manages to beat down and lobsterfy you throughout the day.
- Take pictures! This may be your only trip that you ever go, and it’s got a wealth of sights to see other than cars. Monterey and the surrounding area are insanely photogenic. So snap away!
- Take things slow and enjoy the show for what it is; a gathering of like-minded automotive enthusiasts. You don’t have to go to all of the events to be satisfied, and most of the cars move locations anyway to make it to the same ones you are likely to go to the next day.
- Get pumped! It’s going to be here before you know it! Hope to see you out there. Your Charizard is waiting.
Thank you for reading! Please share if you know of anyone that has even a faint interest in cars. More content coming soon!
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