Monterey Classic Car Week

Monterey Classic Car Week has been a fixture in the minds of motor sport aficionados since its earliest origins in 1950. Explore the event through this selection of images which capture the essence of the 2014 edition.


The Monterey Classic Car Week features Concours, tours, racing and auctions. The four main events with which Rolex is connected are: Pebble Beach Tour d’Elegance presented by Rolex (Thursday); The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering (Friday); Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance (Sunday); and Rolex Monterey Classic Car Reunion (Friday to Sunday).


For Sir Jackie Stewart, the Formula 1® legend, long term Rolex Testimonee, and guest of honor at this year’s The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering, there are clear parallels between Rolex’s values and those of the events it partners at Monterey: “the events are all about elegance; the cars which race and are on display represent the ultimate in beautiful cars, forever desired by the people who buy them, who restore them, who show them. These people want the best, the most stylish, the most accurate, they are precision-driven with excellent taste."


The Tour d’Elegance is open to all cars participating in the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The 88-mile course visits Laguna Seca, home to the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, and heads south to Big Sur before returning north for a lunch stop at Carmel. It offers an exceptional opportunity to see at first hand a magnificent collection of vintage cars in motion. The Tour presented by Rolex has been held since 1998, and is a tribute to the original Pebble Beach Road Race, last held in 1956.


Entrants in the Tour d’Elegance presented by Rolex differ greatly in age, size, style and reliability: from steam driven antiques of the early 1900s, such as the White Model E driven by American TV star Jay Leno, to the powerful, provocative sports cars of the late 1960s. In between there is a host of pre-Second World War American and European grand touring cars, sporting the looks, and high-gleam polish of a Hollywood set, and occasionally concealing under their hoods stories seemingly pulled from the cinema.


Initially participants pass through the striking wooded landscape for which the Monterey Peninsula is famed. When the cars leave Carmel Valley and hit Highway 1 the Tour also takes on a splendor befitting a film set. The section of road between Carmel-by-the-Sea and Big Sur is designated a national scenic byway, winding and hugging the cliffs, and passing various coastal parks.


During Sunday's Concours d'Elegance, some 220 of the most prized collector cars take pride of place on the famous 18th fairway of the Pebble Beach Golf Links. Vehicles are judged for historical accuracy, technical merit and style, but not for their speed – although cars must be drivable. The most coveted prize of all is the “Best of Show". Rolex has been Official Timepiece of the Concours and partner of The Lodge at Pebble Beach since 1997.


To become an entrant at Pebble Beach Concours you have to be invited. The vehicles chosen have either been painstakingly restored or carefully preserved over time. According to Sandra Button, the Concours Chairman: “All are [here], thanks to the dedicated and passionate enthusiasts who want to be the best possible stewards of these vehicles – not only caring for them, but sharing them with others." These are qualities that Rolex greatly admires.


The cars selected to appear have two things in common: rarity and value. Often one of a handful, sometimes the last remaining of their type, all the cars are sought-after collector’s pieces. In 2014 there were some unique specimens such as the Mercedes 540K Streamliner, the 1962 Maserati Tipo 151 Coupe and the 1934 Hispano-Suiza J12 Fernandez et Darrin Coupe de Ville.


This year’s Best of Show was this 1954 Ferrari 375 MM Scaglietti Coupe designed by Sergio Scaglietti for famous filmmaker Roberto Rossellini. This car was Scaglietti’s first passenger car design for Ferrari, a unique and finely sculpted Coupe Speciale. Current owner Jon Shirley restored the car in 1995. This is the first time since 1968 that a Post-War era vehicle has won the top prize.


Each individual element of The Quail, A Motorsports Gathering contributes to an enviable occasion. An eclectic field of vehicles laid out on the fairway and putting greens in front of The Quail Lodge Golf Club has something for everyone with cars ranging from the early 1900s to the present day. The event was founded in 2003 and Rolex has been the Official Timepiece since 2005.


Tom & Gwen Price’s1938 Talbot-Lago T150 C SS was announced as the Rolex Best of Show – the overall winner – and the recipient of a Rolex Oyster Daytona timepiece. Sir Jackie Stewart was on hand to make the presentation: “It’s really wonderful. Being picked by our peers, all the people who have cars here, makes it even more special to me than a normal judging environment. We’re just ecstatic."


Staged at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca the Reunion provides robust racing on a demanding circuit. It may not feature the wooded landscape of the original Pebble Beach Road Race, but turns such as the notorious 5-storey drop Corkscrew make this a worthy successor and spectacular venue for those who believe vintage race cars should still be raced whatever their rarity or perceived value.


Participants in this celebration included the oldest running Maserati in the world, the 1928 Tipo 26B

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