Via Corsa’s own Nathan Weber gets the experience of a lifetime!
In our society, there is a fair amount of notoriety allotted for first experiences: our first words, first day of kindergarten, first slow dance, first car, etc. The sheer exuberance and excitement associated with these first experiences burns into our brain and stays lodged there for many years to come. Having just returned from my first trip to Monterey Car week, I can say that it quite frankly was a spectacle to behold and will go up as one of my favorite first experiences. For those who are not familiar, Monterey Car Week is the premier automobile event in United States: featuring a multitude of concours, auctions and events, all condensed in one week in beautiful Northern California.
Unfortunately, I was only able to stay for two nights out of the weeklong event. I arrived on Thursday amid some engine problems in my departing plane out of Phoenix (the perfect start to a trip for a person who isn’t especially fond of flying, also ironically arriving for a CAR show). Ron Adams, Via Corsa’s publisher and founder, was there to pick up his wife, Tina, and myself from the airport to start my first night in Monterey off right.
Traffic was frenetic, but that didn’t seem to matter to some of the world’s fastest and most powerful automobiles that were speeding down the freeway. On the way to the hotel, we witnessed a Pagani Huayra. Ron joked that Monterey Car Week served as the best avenue to catch a glimpse of this rare monster of a machine because seeing that model out in public would probably never occur outside this venue.
Ron, Tina and I went to dinner at a restaurant called The Forge. The place looked right out of Middle-earth, with the front door appearing like the access point to Bilbo’s hobbit hole in the Shire. The original building was used by Francis Whitaker to produce and forge hardware such as hinges, door latches, sign holders, etc. and inspired the future name of the restaurant. We were able to sit outside on a gorgeous, even slightly cool, August evening, in order to witness the cataclysm of horsepower being exhibited on the roads just outside.
After dinner, Ron and I walked to Ocean Avenue in the downtown area of Carmel, Calif. Ron had been at Car Week since that Monday and could happily boast that this was his 15th time to attend. He kept telling me that one of the greatest spectacles of that week was walking down Ocean Avenue at night. Most of the events involved with Car Week were structured, and people had to prearrange attending these things, but that night walking on Ocean Avenue was unpretentious, unadulterated fun.
Sleek and ferocious cars were roaring past on Ocean Avenue, each one seemingly better than the last. Ron and I had not walked 10 feet before seeing a Lamborghini Murcielago and a Ferrari 488 GTB. Then it was wave after wave of some of the finest cars known to man from a Porsche 918 to a Mercedes Benz SLR Stirling Moss. Some of these cars I had only seen in magazines and on the Internet, and now I was seeing them up close. What a rush!
The sidewalks were bustling with drivers and spectators alike, relishing at the beauty of these automobiles. We walked up and down the street surveying the cars and the crowds, some people pulling their phones out at a glimpse of a rarified breed, and the drivers conversing with on-lookers about their prized possessions. We made it down to the beach by the time the sun was setting. This solidified a perfect end to a near perfect introduction to Monterey Car Week.
The next day I woke early, ready to get to the event I had traveled all that way to attend: The 7th annual Legends of the Autobahn. Members from Audi Club North America, Mercedes-Benz Club of America and BMW Car Club of America brought their cars from around the country for the opportunity to be crowned best in show or best in class. Legends covered three fairways at the Nicklaus Club-Monterey, with over 400 cars registered for the event.
Ron and I arrived around 7 a.m. in order to set up our vendor booth. It was a brisk, chilly and foggy morning in Northern Calif. We set up our booth, the tables coated with the fourth issue of Via Corsa and miniature Lamborghini and Ferrari models. Around the tent we spread flags and signs brandishing the Via Corsa emblem.
By 8 a.m., droves of cars began to align themselves in formation to be judged. The roars of the engines and pristine shape some of these automobiles had been kept in by their owners were a sight to behold. I lost focus on getting everything together with the booth because I was more fascinated in the cars being set up behind me. The festivities began at 9 a.m. with thousands of car club members and spectators alike joining in on the fun and migrating around the grounds, scoping cars from days gone by to the Michelin grandstands which sported sleek new BMW models honoring the Centennial year of the automaker.
For the next several hours, I manned the Via Corsa booth on the vendor side conversing with some great and interesting people. I met people from as far away in the states as Florida, and from foreign countries such as Brazil and Australia. I met a guy who was a member of the BMW club in Canada. He remarked that their excursion had started in Alberta with only a few cars, and by the time they made their way south through Washington and Oregon their caravan had grown to up to 70 vehicles.
The days’ events were winding down after lunch when the judging of best in class and best in show ballots were being tallied. To my amazement, there was a best in class award for classic vehicles, which ranged from the 1880s to 1930s. The amount of time and effort the owners had poured into restoring and renovating these models was really unbelievable. To celebrate the 100th year of BMW, the winner of Best in Show was awarded to Thomas Pesikey’s 1958 BMW 507. The lustrous vehicle with driver in tow approached the stage, and you could clearly see Pesikey’s elation. Having crowned the winner, Legends had come to an end, with the ripe California sun finally peaking through the sultry cloud cover.
I met people from all walks of life: fellow writers, marketers, bankers, engineers, mechanics, and businessmen — you name it. The one thing that brought us all here together was the cars. Each story I heard, each person I encountered gushed over his or her personal automobile or one they saw on the grounds. The respect and veneration sports car enthusiasts have for one another is inspiring. People were proud to wear their car club attire and sought out others they had never met, finding that niche, that similarity to bond over.
Being in my infancy of sports car enthusiasm, I could not have hoped for a better introduction into this world. Like a sponge, I soaked up information, stories and imagery of these immaculate machines. At events people always ask what car I drive. It’s not that I am embarrassed to tell them what I tool about in; it’s just that I don’t have their background or expertise to describe my story (at least, not yet). Truthfully, I’m too busy listening to other people’s stories and passions. The more I listen to those, though, the more I am inclined to come back next year with more adventure stories of my own and using Via Corsa Magazine as the vehicle to obtain those experiences.