I've been attending Monterey Car Week for nearly 20 years. It was a different experience when I first started going, and I would even go so far as to say a better experience. I've seen a lot of changes and a lot of growth and, in my opinion, it has suffered because of it. It isn't as much about the enthusiasts now as it is rich people in exotic cars. This year, however, I was finally able to get to the Legends of the Autobahn show, which has that same feeling that got me hooked on Car Week in the first place.
Now in its sixth year, Legends is a show organized by the BMW Car Club of America, Mercedes-Benz Club of America, and Audi Club of America. Other German marques are welcome, but I didn't notice anything on the lawn. I can't help but think how good a couple of Corrados, a few Sciroccos, and a collection of GTIs would look amongst their peers. Yes, I'm challenging you for next year, VW enthusiasts, but you've been warned: Your air suspension, Gucci headliner, and stretched tires aren't going to fly here.
The Mercedes owners seemed to have the deepest catalog of cars, with a variety of sedans, coupes, wagons, and convertibles dating back to the '50s and '60s carrying all the way forward into the '90s. BMW owners had a strong contingent of cars from the '70s, including 2002, CS, and CSL models. Of course, there were several gorgeous examples of E30s, including our friend and colleague Jason Cammisa's E30 Touring. Audi owners brought some cars that were nearly 10 years old. I may be giving the Audi guys a bit of a hard time, but aside from an amazing Sport Quattro replica from 2Bennett Racing and a clean Ur S4, the B5s seemed to be the "classics" amongst the Ingolstadt Elite.
The event is free to spectators, thanks to title sponsor Michelin and onsite vendors. It certainly isn't as huge as Pebble and not as exclusive as The Quail, but it is friendly, fun, and, most importantly, genuine. An event for enthusiasts by enthusiasts during Car Week is becoming a rare thing. Legends of the Autobahn was certainly my favorite event of the weekend and gives me hope that Monterey Car Week can still be saved.