Classic cars: worlds most exclusive autos at Pebble Beach

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Not everyone will manage to get along to the annual Pebble Beach car extravaganza. A ticket for the Concours d’Elegance is $375. To get a ticket for the Quail motorsport event, first you have to enter a ballot. If your name is picked out, you’ll be asked for $600.  

Part of Monterey car week, Pebble Beach does attract the seriously wealthy, as both spectators and exhibitors of astonishing cars. Owners cruise from one exclusive event to the next, many of them hosted by manufacturers in massive hillside villas.

TV exec Michael Fuchs has a few cars. He’s not sure how many exactly, but reckons it’s in the neighbourhood of 160. The two latest additions to his stable were on display at PB: a specially commissioned McLaren and a Rolls-Royce Dawn in matching shade of – well, you give it a name.

Classic cars at Pebble Beach Classic cars at Pebble Beach

Gary Wales owns a recently-restored 1938 Bentley Speedster that other car fanatics regularly try to pry from his grasp. “People offer me half a million dollars for it, but I have no idea what it’s worth. It’s not for sale.”

Less wealthy car enthusiasts can simply wander around the Monterey area enjoying a free dream parade of one-off motors in ordinary streets. You’ll meet other like-minded souls taking pics, planning their next venue, and chatting about what they’ve seen.  

One of the best free events is the Concours d’Lemons, a collection of the automotive world’s most “oddball, mundane and truly awful”. It’s is a joyous thing. This year you could see a piratical Volkswagen camper, a two-engined 1979 Honda Civic that could be driven either way, and a white 1996 Volvo 850 stickered up to look (and sound) like a cow.

Even if you only like Ferraris, this is the place to go. You’ll never see more Maranello metal on the road in any other weekend. If you ever get a chance to go to Monterey car week, take it. 

Tony Middlehurst is a writer for Classic and Sports Car.

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