Monterey Car Week 2018: Favorite Cars, Favorite Shows

From The Quail to Pebble Beach and Concorso Italiano, our favorite shows and the beauties on display

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For one week in August each year, the automotive enthusiast community descends upon Monterey, California and the surrounding area to admire, display, auction and drive all manner of vehicles. There’s an overwhelming number of events held over the course of the week-long extravaganza, but the bulk of the shows occur over the weekend.

While it’s a struggle to give all the incredible displays the attention they deserve, this year we cruised comfortably from place to place aboard Ducati‘s top-tier bike in the Scrambler family, the 1100 Sport. With plenty of power on tap, we even managed to be early for a number of events—a true rarity during busy days. Best of all, while parking is traditionally a nightmare everywhere during Car Week, we were given preferential treatment. Perhaps because of the head-turning paint job on the Scrambler or perhaps because people enjoyed having the bike set to the side of venue entrances. If you’re planning on going to Monterey Car Week in the future, we recommend getting around on two wheels, especially if those wheels are attached to a motorcycle bearing the Ducati nameplate.

From the half-built to the pristine, classic to contemporary, infamous to obscure, the cars on display impressed—whether due to impeccable design, meticulous restoration, or sheer charm. Take a look at the slideshow above to see some of our favorites automobiles from this year—and read below for more on what the shows offered.

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance

Hosted on the hallowed grass of one of the best-known golf courses in the world, the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance has always been, and continues to be, the Big Show. (Whether it is the best comes down to personal preference, of course.) The sheer size of the Concours d’Elegance can be daunting—especially when the crowds roll in—but the spectacle of it all is worth it.

Of the 27 classes in which the cars compete, some highlights include Motor Cars of the Raj (an India-centric category which began last year), the Ferrari Competition, Postwar Custom Citroen, OSCA 1955-1960, and the Tucker class which brought together 12 of the 51 Tucker 48s ever produced. (A friendly gentleman who was shuffling around in blue jeans took home top honors in that class with his gray and silver sedan that’s listed as being registered to his business, LucasFilms.) While the funky 48 is among our favorite vehicles, and the best-in-show-winning Alfa Romeo 8C 2900B is unquestionably stunning, the vehicle that stole many hearts was the 1970 Ferrari Modulo brought by Jim Glickenhaus. The wedge-shaped concept car was designed by Pininfarina and until recently they retained ownership of it as well. That is of course until Glickenhaus was able to pry it away from them and subsequently set about making it a road going machine. Not only did he stick a 5.0 liter V12 from a 512 S endurance sports prototype under the transparent engine cover, he also made it legal by standards of the State of New York where it is registered as a one-door coupe.

The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering

Now in its 16th year, The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering is equally as impressive as the infamous Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. While 6,000 people are estimated to have graced the grass at The Quail this year, only 235 cars were on display, a healthy number of those being Lamborghini Espadas and Isleros as the show celebrated the 50th anniversary of each model. Additionally the Porsche 356 was in the spotlight as it is the 70th Anniversary of the sports car that started it all for the iconic German automaker. With a decent section of real estate taken up by these groupings of vehicles, walking the show and feeing like you’ve seen everything and enjoyed it was rather easy compared to the madness of Pebble Beach.

Highlights included a lust worthy selection of RUF-tuned Porsches anchoring the center of the main thoroughfare–which was it’s own little “Alois Ruf Reunion”—and a line-up of stunning Lancias in front of the main stage area, many courtesy of noted collector and entrepreneur John Campion. A show of these two groups of vehicles alone would be a can’t miss affair, but we’re not at all upset that there were plenty of other incredible classes of cars to enjoy on the perfectly manicured grass of The Quail.

Concorso Italiano

Aptly named, this all-Italian show takes over a couple fairways at Black Horse Golf Course and (unsurprisingly) has a dedicated fanbase. One of the immediately apparent differences from the other shows is that the elevation change of the golf course is incorporated into the layout of the presentation. One fairway is full of Ferraris, while just over the hill, various cars by Maserati, DeTomaso, Lancia, Alfa Romeo and Fiat. An incredible bunch of Lamborghinis is tucked into another sloping fairway—as well as some vehicles by Islero and Espada that we’d seen at The Quail.

Concorso chairman Tom McDowell tells us this is less competitive than other shows, “It’s more about collectors enjoying not only the vehicles but also each other’s company. People really come here to share their passion for Italian automobiles and Italian lifestyle.” We’re inclined to agree, given the many friendly individuals we spoke with during our stroll around the show—including Franco Bacchelli of legendary restoration house Bacchelli & Villa. The Modena shop has completed some 400+ restoration projects since 1972—many of them priceless Ferraris such as Steve McQueen’s 275 GTB4 and the 250 GT SWB most famously raced by Formula 1 icon Stirling Moss. Don’t be surprised if you soon find that we’ve taken them up on their offer to come tour their facility the next time we’re in Italy.

Images by Andrew Maness