Monterey Car Week is home to a plethora of car shows, events, parties and auctions, catering to a gamut of different interests and tastes. The show covers nearly a half-mile of Broadway Avenue from Del Monte Boulevard to Freemont Boulevard, in nearby Seaside, California. This is not your average car show, with show-goers mingling between entries, cautious not to bump into one another. This is a just shy of a mob. The street is so jam-packed with enthusiasts, the cars scarcely have room to drive to their assigned spots. Throngs of people, many wielding cameras, hoping to be the next Larry Chen, must be repeatedly pushed back by event staff to allow exotic, super, and hyper-cars a path. The massive crowd is one of the reasons City of Monterey officials turned down the show’s return to Cannery Row, forcing organizers to seek an alternate venue. Conservative estimates put the crowd around 35,000.
The arrival of each new car was announced loudly, with screaming revs exiting through tuner exhausts. Like a siren’s song, the crowd that had only slightly dispersed from the last car rushed in yet again to get a peek, or more likely a pic, of the next entrant. Event staff had their hands full.
Once the cars are staged in their assigned places, the show became more typical, although the palpable electricity remained. There is something about being in the presence of multiple Ferrari F50s, Porsche 918s, McLarens and Koenigseggs. Where else could you see a line of Koenigsegg Ageras followed closely by a wave of Pagani Zondas and Huayras? Welcome to Exotic Car Mecca.
Cars of this caliber create excitement and attract interesting people. Among those was the creator of the cars which bear his name, Horacio Pagani. Pagani could be seen taking time to sign autographs and show some of the younger show-goers his amazing autos. Also present was Nick Avgeres, with the Speedkore carbon-fiber-bodied ’70 Dodge Charger powered by a 966 horsepower Demon engine. West Coast Customs CEO Ryan Friedlinghaus was in attendance, with autographs and swag for fans.
The staggering crowd did hold a very bright, silver lining: There were tons of kids. Those who have lamented the younger generation’s disinterest in cars should have seen the multitude of pre-teens, teens, and young adults scattered everywhere. Helping to foster that positive attitude was Lane Brown, owner of a matte-blue wrapped 2015 Lamborghini Huracan that had been modified to yield a monstrous 900 horsepower. Mr. Brown, who was attending the show for his second time, had driven the Huracan from his home in Los Angeles. He had a line of kids from his driver’s door up on to the sidewalk, allowing each to sit in the driver’s seat and have their picture taken. Said Mr. Brown, “I love the kids. To me, that’s what makes this all worth it. You get to see the excitement on their faces. This is free, anyone can come. This is what it’s all about.”
Just across from Mr. Brown were Drs. Robert and Lisa Ross of New Orleans, with their blade silver 2018 McLaren 570 Spider. The couple were in Monterey as part of a McLaren Club drive, having had the car shipped to the West Coast to participate. “We got the car last January, so we’ve had it a year and eight months,” said Lisa. “We also have a Ferrari California,” added Robert, “but it was time to get something else. With Ferrari, you’re in the club, you pay through the nose, they don’t really care if you buy a car or not, because it’s Ferrari. We weren’t feeling the love, so we said, ‘Okay, McLaren is up-and-coming’, and it’s obviously a beautiful automobile, so there you go.” Lisa said, “We love it here. We love this particular show. This is the best show all week. We’ve come every year since 2013, and we love coming here. We try to bring different friends every year to share the experience.”