Car Week, Classic Car Week, concours, Concours d'Elegance, Concours Mission Carmel, Concours on the Avenue,, Pebble Beach Tour d' Elegance

Carmel Concours D’Elegance – Classic Car Week On A Budget 2013 – Part I

Classic Car Week On A Budget 

It is that time of year again; Classic Car Week has descended upon us.  For about 10 days in August there are numerous events related to cars. Car races, car auctions, car parities, car exhibitions, car tours, cars being blessed, cars with wine, cars in film, little cars, big cars, and even lemon cars.  There is something for everyone, even those, like myself, who know very little about cars, can not tell one car from another, and hardly ever drive a car anymore.  Obviously I am not a car person but I do enjoy this event.  I love viewing old vintage cars, shined to perfection against the incredible backdrop of Monterey Peninsula. 
I have made it a personal challenge to see as much as possible without going over my $100 budget.  Last year I spent $89.25 for three events. Big ticket item, taking our family of four to the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Pre-Reunion $20 each. This year I am pleased to say I have come in even more under budget, at $59.75.  Big ticket item two tickets to the Carmel Mission Concours Blessing of the Cars. For a list of most of the events check out Carmel Magazine.  
Concours on the Avenue 
Carmel-by the Sea (Free)
Concours on the Avenue, sponsored in part by the Carmel Foundation, takes place Tuesday of Car Week in Carmel.  I enjoy walking down Ocean Avenue around 6AM on the day of the event because, well, you are actually able to stroll down the middle of the street.  Ocean Avenue is blocked off from Junipero to Monte Verde and Sixth Avenue to Seventh Avenue.  
It is also one of the few times it is possible to get pictures of storefronts without cars parked in front of them.
Nothing I can do about the chairs though. 
Carmel-by-the-Sea Ghost Town. 
It is so early the 
Carmel Drug Store isn’t even open.  

Anyway the weather is being very cooperative for Classic Car Week. This is our second day in a row of sunshine.  Quite unusual for August. 
By 7:30 there is a bit more activity.
The guy with the jacket looks official.
8:30 and the cars have started 
to line up on the side streets. 
 Last year I tried to identify them by year, make and model.  I found it very tiring and quite confusing. This year I plan on enjoying the cars for their pretty shinny colors.   Here we have a red car, a white car and a blue car.
The motors are racing….  
and we are off.

Carmel Mission Concours
Blessing of the Cars
($25 per person)

Wednesday afternoon, the Inaugural Blessing of the Cars was put on in conjunction with the Knights of Columbus Carmel Mission Council 4593 and the Carmel Mission Foundation.

For the $25 entrance fee, one received a commemorative wine glass, and four wine tastings along with admission to the Mission Museum.  The proceeds benefited the Carmel Knights of Columbus and other local nonprofits.

The sun (third day in a row) was actually blinding off the 35 classic cars and three motorcycles in the mission courtyard, as the Navy Color Guard presented the colors.

Fr. Fredy Calvcario blessed the vehicles and the Sisters of the Carmelite Monastery offered a Motorist’s Prayer and Blessing to Saint Christopher (from their cloister).

“Grant me, O Lord, a steady hand and watchful eye.  That no one shall be hurt as I pass by.  You gave life, I pray no act of mine may take away or mar that gift of thine.”

Ventana and Manzoni offered wine tastings. 

In this relaxed and intimate setting,
the same site where
Blessed Fr. Junipero Serra placed his cross in 1771,
we strolled the courtyard
taking  in all the cars
(like my favorite The 333) 
and their colors.

A few hours later, with a hand full of coupons for free wine tastings at each of the wineries we contentedly road our bikes back up Rio Road home, with our commemorative wine glasses carefully packed in my basket. 🙂

Next up: Classic Car Week On A Budget 2013 Part II

Vintage Car At the Beach – by Patricia Sadlak – available at Tea Rose Collection 
Photos and Video – L. A. Momboisse – 
Car Week, Classic Car Week, concours, Concours d'Elegance, Concours on the Avenue,, Pebble Beach Tour d' Elegance

Concours d’ Elegance 2012 – Classic Car Week on a Budget

Classic Car Week on a Budget

For 10 days the third week in August, car enthusiasts from around the world converge on the Monterey Peninsula. I know very little about cars, other than I drive a blue one.  But I was fascinated by the cars that filled our narrow streets that week.
While entry to the majority of the events surrounding the Concours d’Elegance cost well outside our pocketbook, (The Quail Motorsports Gathering $450, Pebble Beach Concours $250, Concorse Italiano $150, Reunion at Mazada Raceway Laguna Seca $70) we managed to enjoy a number of events within our budget.

Before one thinks that these exorbitant prices serve only the rich and famous crowd, take note that part of these high price tickets  go to charities, such as the Pebble BeachCompany Foundation which funds numerous grants for the youth of Monterey County. 

What can someone on a budget enjoy at the Concours d’ Elegance?  Shhh now don’t tell anyone, but…

Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca Pre-Reunion
($20 per person includes parking)

For the first time, the Pre-Reunion was open to the general public.   Our ticket price included free parking, access to the paddock, grandstand bleacher seats and no crowds! 
We closely examined and admired touring and racing cars from 1929 to 1989, candidly talked to the owners, asked dumb questions, and snapped photographs without other people blocking the way.
Once the racing started we sat in the bleachers with an unobstructed view of the cars as they came into Turn 4 and then attempted to pass one another on the straightaway before Turn 5.  Note to self – bring sun screen next year.


Concours on the Avenue
Carmel-by-the-Sea (Free)
It’s 8am on a Tuesday morning, Ocean Avenue from Junipero to Monte Verde and surrounding side streets are blocked off to regular traffic.  In the early hours of the morning, just as the coffee houses are opening, the streets are eerily empty of cars and people.  The next three hours will be the best time to view the cars at the Concours on the Avenue. 
Grab a cup of coffee at Cafe Carmel and walk down the middle of Ocean Avenue to San Carlos. Here, 175 classic cars are beginning to line up.  Their owners will form three rows between Seventh and Ninth Avenue, revving their motors as they wait for the signal to continue on to Ocean Avenue and their assigned spot for the Concours.
The actual event starts at 10am and runs until 5pm, but if you prefer to view the cars and talk to the owners at your leisure without the crowds, go early.   

 After viewing all the cars on Ocean Avenue, I still don’t understand much about what is under the hood, in the trunk, on the floor or dash of most cars. What have I learned?  That cars come in all sorts of shapes and sizes, some with fancy grill work, wings, hood ornaments or tops, and most come in pretty shinny bright colors. 

Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance
($9.25 price of the ticket into the 17 Mile Drive)
 8:30am Thursday morning I was parked inside the Carmel Gate on the 17 Mile Drive about ½ mile from the Lodge on my own private turn out.  Quite surprised that very few others had the same idea I had, that of following (some might call it stalking) the cars as they drove the Pebble Beach Tour d’ Elegance to Big Sur and back.   
Just as I settled into my lawn chair with the morning paper and a cup of coffee I heard the loud buzzing of motors. A moment later a motorcycle officer led the procession of around 190 cars built between 1903 and 1954 around the bend in the road, drivers and passengers waving or tipping their hat as they passed.  No time to lounge, the parade had begin. 

As the last car passed, I pulled out of my turn out and headed south to Big Sur.  The tour would take these cars out the Pebble Beach Gate then into Carmel Valley via Aguajito and Monhollan Roads before cutting back along Carmel Valley Road and turning south onto Highway 1.  My goal was to be ahead of them and parked at the Bixby Bridge when they came by going south on their way to the turn around point in Big Sur. 

Not alone this time in my idea, I arrived to find most of the few available pull off spots already taken.  I managed to park in a safe spot and walk back to the north entrance to the Rocky Creek Bridge and wait. 

Someone with binoculars spotted the touring cars to the north on the stretch of highway coming our way alerting us all to our camera ready positions. 

As the last car (or what I thought was the last car) passed, I headed back to meet friends in Carmel and view the cars arriving on Ocean Avenue around 11:30.  As I made the turn at Highway One and Rio Road, some of the slower cars were just passing through this intersection on their way south.

Up to this point I had run into very few “crowds.”  That is because while I was following the tour up and down Highway One, the rest of the world was lining Ocean Avenue.  Still we managed to squish ourselves into a prime location to view the cars as they entered Ocean Avenue just before noon. 

The cars remained parked on Ocean until 3PM that day.  The crowds were huge, but plenty of time to walk and admire these historical cars. 
Total spent for three days of events for a family of four at the Concours d’Elegance on a budget, $89.25 and about 4 gallons of gas, but remember this is our secret!