Viewing Monterey Car Week Through the Eyes of a First Timer

A truly magical place for all.

BMW E3 Bavaria steering wheel
H. Holmes

It was 10 p.m. on a Thursday when my headlights finally flicked across the sign, "Monterey City Limit," shortly followed by another reading, "Legends of the Autobahn" with an arrow. I was about ten minutes away from my lodging, winding along a sleepy path hugging Laguna Seca, now shrouded in fog, when the faint glow of approaching headlights broke through. Then the sound; it sounded angry, and Italian. Despite the darkness, my eyes easily adjusted to the familiar shape as it charged past me; a sleek Lamborghini Diablo. I immediately felt right at home.

Friday, 9 am: Legends of the Autobahn

As a classic BMW lover, this event was my own personal little slice of heaven; meticulously maintained, rare metal sprawled out across the sweeping grounds of the Nicklaus Club as far as the eye could see. There was a 2002 to suit everyone's taste, E3s in every flavor, and more 6 series sharknosed beauties than swarming the waters of Long Beach. However, amidst all the German engineering, it was an Italian that stole my heart. Parked quietly under Bring A Trailer's tent was a car I had only read and dreamed about; a pristine Lancia Delta HF Integrale. If you're a fellow rally fan, then this car needs no introduction. When you think of Group A domination, you think of this car; and there it sat before me, unassuming and stoic. They say to never meet your heroes, but I couldn't have been more humbled.

H. Holmes
H. Holmes

Friday, 3 pm: Exotics on Cannery Row

Switching gears from Legends, I made my way over to Cannery Row to get a taste of what's new in the automotive world. The smell of clam chowder and sea breeze filled the air, as well as the sound of four spirited Pagani Huayras making their way through the bustling crowd. Having grown up in rural Oklahoma, where the very mention of the word "supercar" to a local is most likely going to conjure up images of a lifted Dodge Ram with some fat dual stacks, I never had the opportunity to see a Pagani until this day. I squeezed hastily through the growing spectators until I found myself at the front, face to face with a Huayra BC. It didn't have the warm and familiar lines of the classics I've grown so accustomed to; it was wild and other-worldly, an alien to me. My mind quickly etched every detail possible into my memory bank for safe keeping as it ominously crept by. 

H. Holmes
H. Holmes

The day continued this way as I laid eyes on the Koenigsegg Agera RS1, Lamborghini Centenario, and so on. The perfect night cap was strolling along the romantic streets of Carmel-by-the-sea and seeing a Ferrari F50, Bugatti Veyron, and Bugatti EB110 casually street parked. Seeing these cars out in the wild being driven, as opposed to in a showroom, was the most satisfying feeling. That is how it should be; and if you ever get the chance to attend Monterey Car Week, prepare yourself for a wave of emotions comparable to that of a religious experience.