Pebble Beach, host of the iconic Concours d’Elegance, and Monterey, with its multiple high-end auctions, often come to mind when discussing Classic Car Week.
But in recent years, Pacific Grove and Seaside have also hosted an increasing number of events.
In the Pacific Grove
The Little Car Show and the Auto Rally Concours have pretty deep roots in Pacific Grove. The Auto Rally Contest, sponsored by the Rotary Club of Pacific Grove, is in its 28th consecutive year. The Little Car Show, organized by Marina Motor Sports Inc., will mark its 12th anniversary.
Both events are free and take place on Lighthouse Avenue in downtown Pacific Grove.
The Little Car Show takes place from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays. Attendance was capped at 125 this year, said John Moulton, chairman of the event and one of its founders.
The size of small cars is limited to a maximum engine capacity of 1600cc, but exceptions have been made over the years, Moulton said. The event caught the attention of car enthusiasts and automotive publications in the US and UK.
A British car magazine editor chose it as the best auto show, Moulton said.
The Little Car Show began when Moulton saw an article about a small car show in the eastern United States.
Moulton met with friends Charlie Davis and Mike Bainter, then Pacific Grove dealers to start a show for small cars. They then got approval from the Pacific Grove City Council and the event was born.
“The first year, we had 44 participants…”, recalls Moulton. “It grows every year. … You just don’t know what will appear. … There are a few Japanese cars I’ve never heard of.
What is the appeal of Lilliputian cars?
“For the people who have the cars, they’re excited about their particular car,” Moulton said. “In British cars the Minies (Mini Morrises and Mini Coopers) have a strong club. We usually end up with 15-20 Minies. Overall, he says, I would say by the time the dust settles, about 75% are British cars, some Italian cars and very few Swedish cars.
You can also expect Metropolitans, Citroens and a few Deux Chevaux, which translates to a very small, inexpensive car.
The show has a category called “Etcetera,” Moulton said. This is for small special interest cars that are not technically qualified due to engine displacement but still of interest. There are no major prizes awarded in this category, but they may receive merchant prizes.
Trophies will be awarded for: the most smiling vehicle per kilometer; Choice of Pacific Grove Youth Center; Pacific Grove City Council Pick; Choice of the mayor; Veteran’s Choice; Dare to be different award; Most Interesting Vehicle; Selection of peers; and the coveted grand prize.
Around 5:00 p.m. on the day of the show, there is a cruise down Forest Avenue to the beach, then down Ocean Avenue. Cars circle around Asilomar Conference Grounds then return to Lighthouse Avenue.
“We get a lot of coverage,” Moulton said. “It’s gotten to the point where we have to refuse cars.”
The Auto Rally Concours, scheduled for Friday, hasn’t missed a year since its inception in 1994, said Arlene Hardenstein, president of the Rotary Club of Pacific Grove.
In 2020, most Classic Car Week shows have been canceled due to the COVID-19 outbreak. But that year, the Laguna Seca Raceway allowed the rally to stage there for socially distanced driving.
Hardenstein said the show should sell out this year. “It worked really well,” she said. “We usually receive 200 to 230 cars. We sell out at 200 but people will sign up that day.
This year’s flagship vehicle is the Mini Cooper, marking the 60th anniversary of the association between Sir Alex Issigonis and John Cooper in 1961. This historic meeting led to the birth of the Austin Mini Cooper and the Morris Mini Cooper.
When it comes to entries, there are no limits. “You can drive a new car, you can drive an old beat-up car, and anything in between,” said Hardenstein, a Monterey Peninsula real estate agent. “A few have participated in the 28 rallies.”
The staging of the rally begins at noon on Lighthouse Avenue. Around 4:15 p.m., the drivers gather for the award ceremony. Around 5 p.m. the rally begins. It runs down Lighthouse and all the way around Ocean Avenue to Sunset Avenue and Pebble Beach. At Pebble Beach, the rallies turn around and return to Lighthouse Avenue.
Proceeds from the rally benefit Rotary Club of Pacific Grove projects and local youth programs.
“We encourage the community to come and see these wonderful cars,” Hardenstein said.
To register a car for the rally, visit pgrotary.org.
Two other Auto Week events will take place in Pacific Grove: Legends of the Autobahn West and Classic Motorsports Monterey.
The latter, presented by Hagerty, will run Tuesday from 3-7 p.m. and will be hosted by Chamber of Commerce Motorsports magazine. The show, a mix of classic and exotic cars, will start on Lighthouse Avenue followed by a cruise.
Legends of the Autobahn will celebrate its 12th anniversary from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday at Pacific Grove Links, 77 Asilomar Boulevard. It’s a new day and location for the event, which will feature 300 cars.
The show is an all-German branded concours d’elegance held in both Pacific Grove and Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. It is organized by the BMW Car Club of America, the Mercedes-Benz Club of America and the Audi Club of North America.
General parking is $30.
By the seaside
Saturday Seaside will be a hot spot for car enthusiasts with three events on the schedule: the Concorso Italiano, Exotics on Broadway and the 2022 Concours d’Lemons California.
The Concours d’Lemons was first held at Seaside in 2011. It is the antithesis of the Concours d’Elegance. The event’s website says it’s coming back “like a bad smear of oil on the face of Monterey Auto Week.” Even Classic Motorsports Magazine will be covering the free event on the Seaside Town Hall Lawn.
This year the event is being held under the wing of Hagerty Events Portfolio, a classic car insurance company, said Alan Galbraith, the self-proclaimed Lemons Concours head gasket.
“They’re no strangers to hosting large-scale events,” Galbraith said. “That means more hardware support. We are able to improve our game a bit and bring in more terrible cars and make it a lot more fun for everyone.
In recent years, the show has featured the 1958 Edsel Bermuda station wagon driven by Donna Reed on the TV show “The Donna Reed”, and Nellybelle, the jeep owned by Roy Rogers and seen on “The Roy Rogers Show”.
Expected this year: a 1975 Bricklin; a 1958 Chevrolet, described as “very rusty”; a Buick Reatta; a 1969 Renoir 16; two Citroëns; and a Cadillac Allante.
“Attendees pay a small fee, basically just to make sure they show up,” Galbraith said. “We have a pretty high attrition rate because a lot of them break down along the way.”
The homemade prizes are all from the Dollar Store and the judges are prone to bribery. “We wholeheartedly encourage the corruption of judges,” Galbraith said.
Exotics on Broadway returns after a two-year hiatus. The event first hit the streets of Seaside in 2019. Prior to that, it was held at Cannery Row. There was no show in 2020 due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and organizers delayed a show last year.
The entry-free event focuses on the super, hyper and exotic car phenomenon.
“We like to bring the free element to locals and younger people,” said Johnny Valencia, one of the show’s organizers.
Exotics on Broadway’s website says it’s about “creating the perfect place for companies to showcase their products and services to an audience that is passionate about and modding premium cars.”
There will be 400 cars and 45 vendors and sponsors present. Manufacturers will include Koenigsegg, Pagani, Bugatti and Ford. Featured sponsors include Michelin (title sponsor this year) Los Gatos Luxury Car, Malibu Autoban and Peregrine Automotive.
Christian von Koenigsegg, founder of the Swedish car brand will be present. Hennessey Performance of Texas will also be contributing vehicles.
The hours are from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
This year the event will have a VIP suite and the show has grown. The cars will also be displayed on a Fremont Street lane for a few blocks, Valencia said.
Concorso Italiano has been part of Car Week for many years. This year it will be held at Black Horse Golf Course, 1 McClure Way, Seaside, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
General admission tickets are $215. This includes general admission parking.
There is a CI Club ticket for $520. It includes admission to the Friday afternoon Welcome Reception; Saturday morning 8.30 a.m. early entry to the show; Saturday morning breakfast; signature cocktail; CI Club member badge and lanyard; gourmet Italian lunch; premium wine, VIP parking; Concorso Italiano 2022 magazine; and a commemorative gift.
No fewer than 1,000 vintage Italian cars will be exhibited. But the event is not just about cars. It’s all about Italian.
This year there will be a special celebration of Ferrari’s 75th anniversary. The Ferrari jury will be led by Ryan Pimentel, the FCA-PR director of the Ferrari Competition (VFC).
Maurizio Corbi, internationally renowned designer of many iconic car models (including Pinifarina) will be inducted into the 2022 Concorso Italiano Hall of Fame.