Event: 2021 Monterey Car Week

words: George Achorn, photos: Denis Podmarkov and George Achorn

Editor’s Note: This article originally ran in the Q4_2021 issue of quattro Magazine. If you would like to subscribe to quattro Magazine, please join Audi Club here.

As summer heated up and the pandemic cooled, most any car enthusiast (at least those in the lower 48) was ecstatic to hear that Monterey Car Week was back on… COVID or not. If you had a room booked and a plan to attend, the only thing you wanted to hear the words “delta variant” in respect too may have been of the Lancia variety. All kidding aside, both Audi and Audi enthusiasts had plans for Monterey this summer, bringing much-needed entertainment of the ultimate automotive variety.

For the uninitiated, Monterey Car Week is a bucket list automotive event… or rather week of events clustered near the Pacific Ocean south of the San Francisco Bay Area. There are so many car shows that you’d be challenged to hit them all, so we’ll focus solely on the ones that were relevant to Audi owners. These events and more down every August, were canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic and was back on this year despite a real challenge due to travel restrictions for an audience that tends to be heavily populated by visitors from other countries. Nevertheless, it went down and proved highly memorable.

The Quail

Likely the most exclusive event of car week, Quail is certainly the most expensive ticket of the week. And, even if you can afford it, you still may not get in as they only offer so many. Make your way inside though and you’ll be amazed by the spectacle, the planes zooming overhead, the motorsport icons and celebrities mingling about, the incredible food stations and, of course, the cars.

Most luxury manufacturers display here and of course Audi takes part. This year, Quail meant the first public showing of the newly minted Audi skysphere concept (more on p.20) that had been revealed to journalists a day before at the brand’s new Malibu design center. At Quail, the car was joined by a Horch 853 from Audi Tradition alongside to drive the grand touring elegance theme home. A second Horch 853, and former Pebble Beach Concours winner, was also elsewhere in the show.

Legends of the Autobahn

This concours exclusively for German cars is the result of a collaboration between Audi Club, BMW Club and Mercedes-Benz Club. The club management of the event makes it more approachable for the casual enthusiast, while the multi-brand scope offers a wide range of cars to see and things to do.

Given Audi is a more recent player in the American market, the marque doesn’t have as many ‘60s and ‘70s cars as its peer brands, but the explosive growth of the so-called “rad era” ‘80s and ‘90s cars has seen Audi very quickly grow into its own. You likely wouldn’t be too surprised to learn of cars like the ur quattro or early 5-cylinder S4 and S6 models are popular at Legends, but this year included even more obscure classic four-ring models such as a recently imported Audi 100 Coupé S from Switzerland. New Audi models are also fan favorites, with modern offerings like the R8, RS 6 and even an RS e-tron GT on display.

Special thanks to volunteers from Audi Club Golden Gate who have been making Legends of the Autobahn happen for years. The events’ success is no doubt due to all these local Audi Club efforts.

Rolex Monterey Historic Car Races

This multi-day event at Laguna Seca raceway attracts historic racing cars from all over the world. This year, that mix included an R8 LMP1 and now early R8 LMS Grand Am and GT3 models that have become old enough to compete. In addition to the vintage racing, Audi Club maintained its own presence in vendor row, complete with Audi collection store, vintage Audi Sport support rig, an RS e-tron GT and an RS 6 RS Tribute edition.

Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance

Perhaps the week’s most iconic event, this super luxurious concours closes out the week at the iconic California golf club. Pebble Beach marked the second showing of the skysphere concept on the event’s remarkable concept lawn alongside experimental cars and super exotics from other brands. Elsewhere in the show, Horch models could be found both in the previous Pebble Beach winners class, and also for sale at auction.