Alex Chavez was 27 years old when he organized the first Monterey Car Week Rally. That was seven years ago.
“We needed events in which any car can participate,” Chavez said Friday at yet another of his automotive brainchildren, the inaugural Classic Americana car show, “a celebration of the American motoring tradition.”
The rally, open to anyone willing to make a donation to the orphans’ charity Guglielmos Hope, grew to the point that last year it sold out with all 100 available slots filled. But 100 vehicles proved too many to wrangle on the rally route, so the most recent rally was trimmed to 60 vehicles of various vintages.
“We had a Volvo wagon behind a Ferrari Italia 458 behind a DeSoto wagon behind an Alfa-Romeo Montreal,” said Tyler Trietman, a 29-year-old who went from rally participant to Chavez’ co-chairman of the inaugural Classic Americana show.
“A lot of people wanted a show-and-shine event rather than going on a rally,” Chavez explained.
Plus, Chavez said, as he looked at the overall calendar for Monterey Classic Car Week — he’s the webmaster of the www.montereycarweek.com site — he realized something was missing: An event for American cars, an event to celebrate the American motoring tradition.
Friday morning, some two dozen cars assembled in a circle at the Carmel Valley Community Park for the inaugural show which, just like the rally, figures to grow through the coming years.
“We’re looking to expand,” Chavez said. “It’s a huge park.”
A huge park with a beautiful mountain background. The entry fee is $50 per car, and that money goes to the Monterey Boys and Girls Club. There is no charge for spectators.
Car owners came from as far away as Idaho and Washington State. A couple with a beautiful black Chevrolet Impala convertible came south from Washington to go to Hot August Nights and the Barrett-Jackson auction in Reno, and after those events they continued on to take part in several Monterey week shows and auctions.
Trans Am Depot of West Hollywood was at the show to showcase three SLP-modified late-model Chevrolet Camaros that look like the Pontiac Firebird Trans Ams that General Motors might have produced had there still been a Pontiac Division of the company.
One car — a Shelby Cobra — had to leave the show early to head over the nearby Laureles Grade to vintage racing at Mazda Raceway at Laguna Seca,,
Photos by Larry Edsall