Monterey Classic Car Week to kickoff Friday

MONTEREY – As Monterey Classic Car Week 2022 gets underway this week, the now 10-day affair is kicking off how it began – casually elegant.

Friday afternoon, revelry will start with the Fourth Annual Concours at Pasadera, a call-back event to the early days of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance when patrons could park close to fairways and enjoying automotive excellence was a leisurely indulgence.

It’s an experience that Concours at Pasadera founder Rick Barnett remembers well and hopes to recreate.

“Things have changed a lot since 1979,” said Barnett, recalling his first visit to Concours Sunday. “You could … park not too far from the lodge and walk right out onto the lawn. Today, you have to park and take a bus (to the golf course) …Car Week has become complicated. So the intent of the Concours at Pasadera is to create a casual, elegant atmosphere where car collectors and guests can gather together (and) enjoy.”

Staged just a few miles away from WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, Friday’s Concours will take place at The Club at Pasadera, 100 Pasadera Dr., from 3-6 p.m. Club members and other VIPs are invited to arrive an hour early at 2 p.m.

Cars on display will be a celebration of Ferrari, in honor of the manufacturer’s 75th anniversary. But Ferrari won’t be the only name out on the event’s Center Court, where 40 featured automobiles sit in the running for Best in Show. Rather, the Concours is widening its gates to promote the design houses of Ferrari: Pininfarina, Ghia, Bertone, Scaglietti, Zagato and other coachbuilders responsible for the automaker’s acclaimed looks over the decades.

“A lot of people think that Ferrari is the car designer and the manufacturer,” Barnett explained. “But, in fact, since the early days dating back to the 1930s, Ferrari built the frame, the suspension and the engine, but they would call on coach builders – or the manufacturers of car bodies – to create the bodies that would be in conjunction with the automobile and the frame.”

To commemorate the collaboration, both Ferrari and non-Ferrari automobiles designed by Ferrari coachbuilders will compose the exhibition. Barnett said that by broadening the field, the Concours aims to educate, as well as entertain.

“Yes, there will be some amazing Ferraris there … but there will be other cars as well,” he said, naming cars from unexpected sources such as Volvo, MG and even Citroën that share a designer with Ferrari. “People will get to see the design influences that made up the culture of Ferrari, not just in Ferrari.”

Off the Center Court, the Concours at Pasadera intends to diversify its display further with three other showcase categories, for a total of 100 cars to admire.

One category – aptly named Corvette Coral – will be a precursor to next year’s central marque set to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Corvette. Another has invited select automobile exhibitors from previous years to return with their cars for a special “Alumni Vehicle” exhibition. And, to round out the program, 20 cars chosen for their diversity of automotive design and technical contributions will comprise a class dubbed “Fairway One.”

As guests peruse, Colin Moody, former executive chef at Monterey Peninsula Country Club, will be catering the Concours. Meanwhile, proceeds from the event will benefit CASA — Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children — the Bridge Restoration Ministry addiction recovering program and the Laguna Seca Raceway Foundation.

“We’re excited to be the beginning, the launch, the start of Car Week at Pasadera,” said Barnett. “It’s important for us to do a good job. We almost feel it’s a responsibility to do it well, to represent the beginning of something that’s very special here on the Monterey Peninsula.”

Elsewhere on the Peninsula, opening events will continue with the Monterey Car Week Kick-Off. Back for its 13th year, the annual display will host 30 rare race cars along Alvarado Street from 5-7 p.m. Friday night. Not just for show, the vintage makes and models will double as active participants in WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca’s Monterey Pre-Reunion on Saturday and Sunday. But not before giving attendees a closer look at what they can only see briefly from beside the raceway.

“The impetus (for the event) was that we wanted to take the show to the community, to share these cars that are going to be seen on the track,” said Barry Toepke, the director of heritage events and public relations at WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.

Toepke added that Friday’s kick-off celebration is also a chance to meet with drivers and understand stories behind automobiles. Meet-and-greet opportunities will likewise be available at Cibo Ristorante, 301 Alvarado St., for a Classic Car Week Driver Reception complete with complimentary appetizers and live jazz music.

“It’s going to be a good time – and a good week,” said Toepke, looking forward to this year’s slate of more than 25 Classic Car Week events. “People I’ve talked to are really anxious to get out there.”

For more information about the Monterey Car Week Kick-Off, Concours at Pasadera or what’s to come later on in this year’s Monterey Classic Car Week, go to https://www.seemonterey.com/events/sporting/concours/. To read more of the Herald’s coverage of this year’s events, visit www.montereyherald.com/tag/classic-car-week/

The Monterey Classic Car Week Kick-Off featured vintage cars dating back to 1958. (Tess Kenny -- Monterey Herald)
The 2021 Monterey Classic Car Week Kick-Off featured vintage cars dating back to 1958. (Tess Kenny — Monterey Herald)

Contributed by local news sources

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