The Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance and all the festivities around Monterey, California, during Auto Week, turn the peninsula into an open-air automobile museum. Almost every event – and there are many – is filled with unique cars that you may never see again or have only seen in books. This weekend, our editors will be sharing the most exciting, wild, and beautiful cars, and we invite you to join us over the weekend. So put on your salmon pants or a seersucker suit and join us in looking at some amazing cars.
– car and driver
Thursday, August 18: Highway Legends
The Legends of the Autobahn is the German auto show that excludes a certain German brand in tune with More-sha. Organized by BMW Car Club of America, Mercedes-Benz Club of America and Audi Club of North America, the show is open to any German car, even defunct brands like NSU and Wanderer. The parade is filled with a mix of modified and stock cars, and although judgment does happen, the atmosphere is very fraternal.
Fleets of BMW E30 vehicles fill Pacific Grove Links Park in Pacific Grove, California. BMW E36 M3s are also popular, Mercedes-Benz 190E enjoyed a strong showing, and E9 BMW 3.0 CS and CSLs in vintage 1970s colors were in effect as well. I brought my personal 1991 BMW 325i convertible for the show, which in my not-so-humble opinion looked a bit nicer than some of the cars judged. Maybe next year I’ll come in early and do a closer check on my car. –Tony Quiroga
BMW also brought some of its new lineup, including the $140,895 M4 CSL premiere in North America. Horsepower increased by 40 to 543 horsepower, and weight decreased by 240 pounds, thanks in part to the lack of a rear seat and fixed-back carbon fiber seats. We don’t think the laser clothing details in the taillights save weight, but it does look interesting. Unlike the last special edition of the M4, the GTS, the US market is getting the good stuff this time around, with the seats incorporating airbags to be able to stand up to crashes. And the backrest angle can be adjusted to some extent; You only have to remove the seats from the vehicle to access all the fasteners to do so. This is a pre-production car, not one of the 220 or so coming to the US, that has already been talked about.
Things can get a little more boisterous during Car Week, so we appreciated the friendly, non-linear nature of the legends show. For example, here’s a well used Audi RS4, nearly 200,000 miles in the mix. Also, there was a lot of work going on: you don’t need the entire interior buttons to push it into view, do you?
This BMW 1602 has gotten so much attention that a company called Son of Cobra, which also deals in surfboards, painstakingly offered every carbon fiber body panel.–Dave Vanderwerp
Wednesday, August 17: Highway 1 in SL
As one of the California-based team, I’ve once again turned down air travel in favor of driving on Highway 1 in California in a classic Mercedes SL, thanks to the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center. My ride was a 1980 380SL, red like the sunburn you get from dropping off the top. Fresh from the store, the SL is tuned and hardened so that not only do the complex climate controls work, but even the clock does. This impresses me, as each of my fleet of vintage cars sets off at a different hour, and it mostly depends on the last time the battery ran out. Wait, 1980? Didn’t we only get the 380SL in 1981? yes! you are very smart.
This was America’s first 380SL, formerly based in Michigan and used to develop only American emissions equipment (a poor claim to fame, I realize, considering we were cheated on European-spec horsepower in the 3.8L, but shame is fame). Even with only 155 horsepower, the little Fairy has bravely kept pace with the modern SL models in our convoy. (This slowed the traffic on Highway 1 and led the enthusiastic Germans to sightsee.) Our new and old fleet arrived in Monterey without mechanical failures or sunburns. –Ilana Sher