Peb­ble Beach Golf Links is the epi­cen­tre of Mon­terey Car Week, but there’s plenty to see far away from the 18th green


Greg Ma­cle­man finds fas­ci­na­tion away from the bright lights of Peb­ble Beach

Ev­ery Au­gust, tens of thou­sands flock to the Mon­terey Penin­sula from all cor­ners of the world to take part in the an­nual cel­e­bra­tion of the au­to­mo­bile that is Mon­terey Car Week. Built around the Peb­ble Beach Con­cours d’el­e­gance, which first ap­peared in 1950, the week has grown to en­com­pass more than a dozen events, with each day giv­ing a new op­por­tu­nity to in­dulge in a pas­sion for cars.

Glam­our is in no short sup­ply, from the im­mac­u­lately pre­sented multi-mil­lion-pound ma­chines and man­i­cured greens of the head­line event to the ex­clu­sive The Quail: A Mo­tor­sports Gather­ing, held at Sir Michael Kadoorie’s stun­ning Quail Lodge golf re­sort. Don’t worry if you don’t have hun­dreds of dol­lars for a ticket, though, be­cause Carmel-by-the-sea’s Con­cours on the Av­enue and the Peb­ble Beach Tour d’el­e­gance pro­vide a chance to get up close with the best cars the world has to of­fer for free.

The head­line shows are a sea of Rolexwrapped wrists and brightly coloured trousers, but not all of the events are as high­brow, with a num­ber of gath­er­ings hav­ing sprung up over re­cent years to cel­e­brate more down-to-earth clas­sics. Kick­ing off the week is The Lit­tle Car Show (left), held in Pa­cific Grove and host to 100 sub-1601cc clas­sics, rang­ing from Isetta bub­ble cars through to Ja­panese ‘Kei’ cars; this year’s show even in­cluded a trio of rare Cincin­nati-built Crosleys. Even more bizarre ma­chines turn out for the Hagerty-backed Con­cours d’lemons, which fêtes the mun­dane, ec­cen­tric and down­right clapped-out in a fun and re­laxed at­mos­phere, where judges are bribed with cheap liquor and dol­lar bills pinned to wind­screens. US tele­vi­sion star Wayne Carini is a show reg­u­lar, ar­riv­ing this year in a Si­ata Spring.

Mo­tor­sport plays a mas­sive role, too, with com­pe­ti­tion classes at both The Quail and Peb­ble Beach, so it’s fit­ting that Car Week is also home to the Rolex Mon­terey Mo­tor­sports Re­union, which draws some of the world’s finest his­toric rac­ers to dice for po­si­tion at La­guna Seca, with its fa­mous Corkscrew.

C&SC was at all of these and more, and here are a few of the char­ac­ters we met along the way.

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