During Monterey, California’s Car Week, the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and all the related events turn the peninsula into an outdoor auto museum. There are numerous events, and nearly all of them are packed with unique automobiles that you might never see again or those you’ve only seen in literature. We ask you to join us this weekend as our editors reveal the most fascinating, outrageous, and stunning automobiles. Wear your salmon-colored pants or seersucker suit, and join us as we examine some incredible automobiles. Auto and Driver
Thursday, August 18: Honoring the History of Le Mans
When you see the morning as a warm glow in the cloudy hills of Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca, it somehow doesn’t look so horrible. The majority of the racers were still enclosed in car covers like butterflies in chrysalises, but even then, the eye-catching shapes of Porsche 935s, E-type Jaguars, and nimble Lotus single-seaters provide excitement.
Even wonderful was when the engine warm-ups started and the covers started to come off.
50 distinct overall and class champions from the previous 2400 hours of Le Mans will be on display as part of this year’s celebration of the 100th anniversary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Although it would be impossible to single out a favorite, I did appreciate the information card for the 1959 Ferrari 250 LWB Competition, which mentioned the car’s third-place finish despite driver Jean Blaton having “lightly thumped the Berlinetta’s nose into a sand bank at the end of the Mulsanne straight.” Next time you curb a wheel, try that one on your spouse. It was only softly tapped,
I was there for a little quiet excitement, a ride-along in the same Lucid Air Grand Touring Performance that just competed in the Goodwood Hill-Climb, despite the marvel that was the vintage racers’ symphony. Ben Collins, a former Stig on Top Gear, was the driver for the Goodwood race. The same driver will be taking me along. Collins claims that he almost unintentionally—or at least out of curiosity—became a Lucid driver. He remarked, “I was in New York and went to the Classic Car Club in Manhattan. I was given a drive after expressing interest in the Lucid that was on display, and they asked, “So… what are you doing during Goodwood?” Collins has been working hard as a stunt driver behind the scenes since leaving Top Gear, but he also enjoys being in front of the camera on his own YouTube channel, Ben Collins Drives.
Collins made the Lucid dance around Laguna Seca despite a foggy track and stock tires, highlighting its smooth power delivery, infinite torque, and quickly ascending speedometer. He said, sliding it through Turn 1, “That’s 140.” His lone concern was that a loud engine would have provided him with input, but the engines’ gentle hum didn’t. He dropped it down the corkscrew and added, “I get it, it’s a luxury car, we’re just out here showboating.” But perhaps I can persuade them to provide a racetrack sound environment. Ella Scherr
a.m. on August 18th: Stories from the Autobahn
The German-car program The Legends of the Autobahn does not feature one specific More-sha-rhyming German manufacturer. The exhibition, which is put on by the BMW Car Club of America, Mercedes-Benz Club of America, and Audi Club of North America, is open to any German automobile, including discontinued models like NSU and Wanderer. Even while there is judging going on, the vibe at the show is primarily one of camaraderie.
In Pacific Grove, California, fleets of BMW E30s cover the Pacific Grove Links’ turf. Mercedes-Benz 190Es and BMW E9 3.0 CS and CSLs in retro ’70s hues were also in high demand. BMW E36 M3s are also well-liked. In my not-so-humble view, my own 1991 BMW 325i convertible, which I took to show off, looked a little nicer than some of the judged automobiles. Maybe the following year I’ll arrive earlier and have my car thoroughly inspected. Quiroga, Tony
Additionally, BMW brought along several of its new models, including the $140,895 M4 CSL, which made its North American debut. Thanks in part to the absence of a back seat and fixed-back carbon fiber chairs, horsepower has increased by 40 to 543 hp and weight has reportedly decreased by 240 pounds. The laser dress-up design in the rear taillights does not, in our opinion, save weight, but it does look cool. Unlike the last limited-edition M4, the GTS, the American market has the best features this time around because the seats have airbags to comply with crash regulations. Additionally, the backrest’s angle may be somewhat modified; all that is required to do so is to remove the seats from the vehicle and have access to all the bolts. This vehicle is a prototype, not one of the approximately 220 vehicles headed to the United States that have already been reserved.
During Car Week, things can become a little stuffy, but we loved the Legends show’s friendly, not-too-serious tone. Here, for instance, is a well-used Audi RS4 with almost 200,000 miles. There were also several ongoing projects: You don’t need to drive it to the exhibition with the interior perfectly tidy, right?
A business named Son of Cobra, which also sells surfboards, carefully rendered every body panel in carbon fiber for this BMW 1602, which was garnering a lot of attention.
a.m. on August 17th: SL on Highway 1
As a member of the California-based team, I once more chose to drive up California’s Highway 1 in a vintage Mercedes SL with the help of the Mercedes Benz Classic Center rather than fly. My vehicle was a 1980 380SL that was as red as a sunburn from rolling down the top. The SL was adjusted and tightened when it was just taken out of the repair so that not only did the intricate temperature controls function, but also the clock. This impresses me because each of my fleet’s aged vehicles keeps time at a different hour, largely depending on when the battery last died. Wait, 1980? The 380SL was only released in 1981, right? Yes! You are really wise.
Originally from Michigan, this was the first 380SL in America and was utilized to create emissions technology that was exclusive to the United States (a weak claim to fame, I realize, considering we were cheated of the European-spec horsepower in the 3.8L, but infamy is fame). The little’vert spiritedly kept up with the contemporary SLs in our caravan despite having just 155 horses. (It helped that they were being pushed along by Highway 1 traffic and enthusiastic German tourists.) With no mechanical issues and no sunburns, our fleet of both new and used vehicles arrived in Monterey. Ella Scherr
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