Check Out the Pebble Beach Beaters at the 2022 Concours d’Lemons

The Concours d’Lemons is the delightful dirtbag-friendly alternative to high-dollar automotive pageants during Monterey Car Week.

byAndrew P. Collins|
Culture photo
Andrew P. Collins


Car Week in Monterey, California is known for hosting some of the world's rarest and most valuable cars. The 24 Hours of Lemons is all about enjoying motorsport with a sense of humor... while spending as little money as possible. So when the Lemons crew rolls up to host the Concours d'Lemons the day before the Pebble Beach show, it's a nice injection of dirtbag energy and whimsy among the champagne-and-monocle set.

I briefly chatted with Alan Galbraith, one of the event's main organizers (official title: Head Gasket), and asked him how this year's event compared to previous shows. He said, "I kind of use a butt dyno of, do I have to go like this [arms-squeezed-into-chest-twisting motion] to get through the crowd, and this year is definitely that."

Indeed, the little park that the Concours d'Lemons had taken over in Seaside, California was pretty packed with both spectators and cars. I even spotted scene celebs Matt Farah, Jason Cammisa, David Tracy, and Jason Torchinsky in the throng of folks looking at weird old vehicles. Speaking of which, here are some highlights from my stroll around the show.

Costumes and accessories are a big part of this shindig—here you can see the French contingent getting right into it. Their car was actually pretty nice, though.

This bizarre brick is a 1980 ACOMA MiniComtesse Break. It's a French cargo vehicle with one cubic meter of storage space and a 50cc engine. I think that's Jeff Lane of the Lane Museum in Tennessee making an inadvertent cameo in my last shot there. His interest would make sense—the museum has one of its own so pay them a visit if you want to see one of these things up close!

This Keeshond (fluffy Dutch dog breed) must have known I'm into Mitsubishis—he gave a little snort to get my attention, then I saw this rough 3000GT VR4 making its way across the lawn. Or maybe he was just excited to find a car he was color-matched to. Either way, it was a '92 car but the wing and front bumper had been upgraded to '99 spec; the coolest-looking of all 3000GTs.

My friend and former Jalopnik colleague David Tracy (now Editor-In-Chief at The Autopian) was a little self-conscience about climbing atop this 1975 Lincoln horse car—its name is Buttercup—but I think he looked right at home up there.

Pretty sure I've seen pictures of this thing doing laps at LeMons races. It's... upside-down! I did not get to catch up with the owner to find out how it works, but it must have taken a lot of creativity in devising body-mount brackets. It's identified as a 1990 "Ford/Chevy" Upside Down Camaro by owner Chris O. out of Brentwood, California. That's a pretty ritzy corner of Los Angeles—I'd love to hear what his neighbors think of this thing.

This Alfa is probably the only car (ever?) that was displayed at both The Quail and the Concours d'Lemons.

This is a Mercury Bobcat, the upscale version of a Ford Pinto. I only recently learned about these when we wrote a story explaining the "shooting brake" body style of cars. A shooting brake version of this exists, but this isn't one of them. It is, however, an incredibly immaculate Bobcat and in fact probably the nicest one on planet Earth. Hell, maybe it's the only one left?

The Reliant Robin is probably best known by car fans for that Top Gear episode where Jeremy Clarkson crashed one over and over again for laughs. This is actually a different three-wheeled Reliant called a Rialto, specifically a "GS" model from 1986. The Reliant Motor Club reports that these came out in 1982 as a successor to the Robin.

The dude driving this '71 Ford Torino wagon, with the beard and the scally cap, was perfectly aesthetically paired to his car. I overheard him telling somebody that it's his daily driver. Unlike a lot of other cars at this show, it didn't look junky at all. I think this rig is downright sweet!

This is a 1974 Marcos Mini. What a tragically proportioned thing. Seemed to be in nice shape, though.

This car was ID'd by its owner as a 1959 Berkeley SE-492 but I think whatever it is now is a unique frankencar. Look how tiny it is!

I'm a huge fan of vans like this—rolling heavy is my jam. Add a punny name to the side and you've got an instant classic on your hands. I didn't notice if the rear doors had "you shall not pass" airbrushed onto them but if not, that should totally be the owner's next mod. My wife keeps shooting down my dreams of doing a project van because they're "creepy" in her opinion but maybe if I show her this she'll change her mind. Eh? Eh?

Naturally, a lot of the lemons at this lemon show were gross, but the interior of this 1960 BMW 502 was positively wretched. Those seats smelled like a foul combination of dead animals and expired meat. Apparently, the owner was local, which makes sense because I don't know how anyone could ride in this thing for more than a few minutes. The parrot was real, and paid a visit to quite a few vehicles in the field—see him pictured on the windshield of something else here, too.

Here's another mint-condition car that snuck into the shitshow. I guess the Buick Reatta is another two-door domestic that just ain't appreciated by folks! Like that Bobcat, this is likely the nicest survivor of its kind on the planet.

A few Suburban Duallys have been created over the years—I don't think any of them were made by Chevrolet itself as standard production rigs, but this thing looks awesome nevertheless. It looked righteous in pale yellow, but that rust has evolved beyond patina to pretty nasty. An ambitious project if you want to bring it back to clean condition.

This 1946 heavy-duty Chevy had an integrated smoker on the side. Somebody was cooking up a feast, making this one of the best-smelling rigs at the show!

If you were looking for a foil to the high-dollar pageantry of The Quail or the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, the Concours d'Lemons was made for you. I'm always happy to see people appreciate cars with a sense of humor, and car shows that are free to spectate like this also get my nod. I'm not saying you should fly across the country to catch this next year, but if you're already at or near Car Week and want to add some light-hearted fun to your itinerary, swing through the Lemons show.