The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and all the festivities around Monterey, California during Car Week turn the peninsula into an open-air automotive museum. Almost every event – and there are plenty – is filled with unique cars that you may never see again or have only seen in books. This weekend, our editors will be sharing the most interesting, wild and beautiful cars, and we invite you to join us throughout the weekend. So put on your salmon pants or your seersucker suit and join us to admire amazing cars.
— Car and driver
Friday August 19: Paganis at La Caille
There were tons of cars to ogle at The Quail today, and damn it, we made it. Wandering through the crowds and admiring the sheer number of new and vintage cars, we were stopped in our tracks when we arrived at the Pagani exhibit. It looks like Pagani decided to pull out the big guns and show off not one, not two, not even three. . . but SIX Huayra Rs. That’s over 5000 horsepower combined!
Not to mention that they only build 30 (so that’s a fifth of production), and they cost $3.1 million each. At one point, they started one of them up and revved the naturally aspirated 6.0-liter V-12, which screeches at 9,000 rpm, and it echoed throughout the terrain. Unfortunately, we were on the other side of The Quail, but we still clearly heard and enjoyed that incredible exhaust note. —Michael Aaron
Friday August 19: BMW Time Capsule
BMW has released a few historic vehicles from its large collection in South Carolina for the media to use to attend various Car Week events. We grabbed the key to a first-generation M5, a 1988 time capsule with just 15,000 miles on the clock. It comes from a time when steering was slow but feedback came quickly, and it’s a wonderful reminder of how BMW has cemented itself as the maker of some of the world’s best sports sedans. And the wonderfully smooth and responsive character of its naturally aspirated straight-six. —Dave Vander Werp
Thursday, August 18: Agreed
Heard: “Yeah, she has a ticket.”
“In the McLaren?”
“Yeah, it’s kinda hard to sneak past a cop with a flame look that shoots three foot fireballs.”
“Right.” —Elana Scher
Thursday, August 18, 4 p.m.: Lincoln Debut
On the theme of large electric sedans, Lincoln unveiled its latest concept, the Model L100. Like the Star concept, the L100 is a design exercise that shouldn’t hit dealerships anytime soon, but it’s bold and intriguing, with neat details like a crystal greyhound hidden under the transparent hood and a moving car figurine. which would act as an interface. Above all, we want to play with the small car. —Elana Scher
This year, make way for large electric sedans. . . and electric SUVs. . . and the occasional electric buggy. . . but mostly big cars. The Lucid is a solid number, but it looks tiny next to Faraday’s FF 91 prototype.
On paper, the FF 91 could give the Lucid a hard time, with a claimed 1050 horsepower from three motors. The ride in the Faraday wasn’t quite on the same level as the ride with Ben Collins (see below), as the FF 91 demo is still closer to a show car than a race car . —Elana Scher
Thursday August 18: Celebrating the History of Le Mans
Somehow the sunrise doesn’t look so bad when you see it as a warm glow in the mist shrouding the hills of Weathertech Raceway Laguna Seca. Most of the racers were still huddled together like butterflies in car-tarpaulin chrysalises, but even under cover the distinctive shapes of the Porsche 935s, E-Type Jags and supple Lotus single-seaters provide a thrill.
Even better was when the covers started to come off and the engine overheated. Picking a favorite would be impossible, but I enjoyed the 1959 Ferrari 250 LWB competition information card, which casually recalled the car’s 3rd place finish despite driver Jean Blaton having “bumped the nose of the Berlinetta in a sandbank at the end of the Mulsanne Strait.” Try this one on your spouse the next time you brake a wheel. “It’s just slightly bumped!”
The symphony of vintage racers was a marvel, but I was there for some quiet excitement, a ride in the same Lucid Air Grand Touring Performance that recently raced the Goodwood Hill-Climb. Goodwood’s driver was Ben Collins, former Top Gear Stig. The driver of my journey, the same. Collins says he stumbled upon Lucid’s driving gig almost by accident, or at least, out of curiosity. “I was in New York and stopped at the Classic Car Club in Manhattan,” he said. “I expressed interest in the Lucid on display and ended up getting a ride, and they were like, ‘So…what are you doing during Goodwood?’ “Since leaving Top Gear, Collins has been a busy stuntman behind the scenes, but he also enjoys being in front of the camera, on his personal YouTube channel, Ben Collins is driving.
Despite a foggy track and stock tires, Collins made the Lucid dance around Laguna Seca, highlighting its smooth power delivery, endless torque and fast-rising speedometer. “It’s 140,” he said as he slipped it into Turn 1. His only complaint was that the quiet hum of the engines didn’t give him the feedback of a rowdy engine. “I get it, it’s a luxury car, we’re just showboating,” he said, dropping it into the corkscrew. “But maybe I can get them to come up with a track setting for the sound.” —Elana Scher
Thursday, August 18: Legends of the Highway
The Legends of the Autobahn is the German car show that excludes a particular German brand that rhymes with More-sha. Organized by the BMW Car Club of America, the Mercedes-Benz Club of America and the Audi Club of North America, the show is open to all German cars, even defunct brands like NSU and Wanderer. The show is filled with a mix of modified and stock cars and although judging takes place the atmosphere is very fraternal.
Fleets of BMW E30s fill the lawn at Pacific Grove Links in Pacific Grove, California. BMW E36 M3s are also popular, the Mercedes-Benz 190E performed well, and the E9 BMW 3.0 CS and CSL in vintage 70s colors were also in force. I brought my personal 1991 BMW 325i convertible to display, which in my not-so-humble opinion looked a bit nicer than some of the cars on trial. Maybe next year I’ll get in earlier and my car will be properly checked. —Tony Quiroga
BMW also brought some of its new car lineup, including the first showing of the $140,895 M4 CSL in North America. Power has increased by 40 to 543 hp and weight has dropped by 240 pounds, thanks in part to the absence of a rear seat and fixed-back carbon fiber seats. We don’t think the laser trim details in the taillights save weight, but look nice. Unlike the last special edition of the M4, the GTS, the American market benefits this time around, as the seats incorporate airbags to be able to comply with collision regulations. And the angle of the backrest can be slightly adjusted; the seats just need to be unbolted out of the car to access all the fasteners to do so. This is a pre-production car, not one of about 220 coming to the US, which are already reserved.
Things can get more than a little stuffy during Car Week, so we enjoyed the accessible, not-too-serial nature of the Legends show. For example, here’s a well-used Audi RS4 with almost 200,000 miles in the mix. Plus, there was a lot of work going on: you don’t need the interior all buttoned up to drive it to the show, do you?
This BMW 1602 was rightly attracting a lot of attention, because a company called Son of Cobrawhich also sells surfboards, painstakingly rendered each body panel in carbon fiber.—Dave Vander Werp
Wednesday August 17: Highway 1 in SL
As a member of the California-based team, I once again rejected air travel in favor of driving California’s Highway 1 in a classic Mercedes SL, thanks to the Mercedes Benz Classic Center. My car was a 1980 380SL, red as a sunburn from dropping the roof. Fresh from the shop, the SL has been tuned and retightened so that not only the complex climate controls work, but even the clock. This impresses me, as my entire fleet of old cars each run at a different time, mostly based on when the battery last died. Wait, 1980? Didn’t we get the 380SL only in 1981? Yes! You are so clever.
It was the first 380SL in America, formerly based in Michigan and used to develop US-only emissions gear (a weak claim to fame, I realize, given that we were cheated out of the European power in the 3.8L, but infamy is celebrity). Even with just 155 horsepower, the little ‘vert kept pace with the modern SLs in our trailer. (It helped that they were slowed down by Highway 1 traffic and driven by cheering Germans.) Our fleet of new and old arrived in Monterey with no mechanical breakdowns and no sunburn. —Elana Scher