If asked what my favorite part of Monterey Car Week is, I’d have to say Dawn Patrol on Sunday, where spectators can watch and, crucially, listen to the cars entered in the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance drive to their places on the 18th fairway. However, there’s a second event that rivals this early morning experience: the Tour d’Elegance.
Nearly every car featured in the concours takes part in this cruise, which traces part of the famous 17 Mile Drive and other roads in and around Carmel a couple of days before the big event. What started as a means of proving to critics that the cars shown at Pebble Beach aren’t simply garage queens continues to dazzle with the incredible sights and sounds of the world’s best vintage automobiles getting some exercise. And not only does it serve as a tiebreaker for the main concours, it’s also totally free to attend. Check out some of our favorites from this year’s Tour below, and see tons of other incredible classics in the gallery below.
1938 Talbot-Lago T23 Figoni & Falaschi Faux Cabriolet
One of my first Hot Wheels cars ever was a 1:64 die-cast of a Talbot Lago “Teardrop Coupe” in sparkling cobalt blue. Now, I’ve seen an even rarer version of one of my favorite childhood toys on the road, and it was even wearing brilliant blue paint. This specific model is powered by a 4.0-liter inline-six engine and seats four passengers. Its body, designed and built by Figoni & Falaschi, is unique to this car. It has a sunroof, covered rear wheels, and chrome accents that set it apart from other examples of the T23.
1968 Lamborghini Miura SVR
As one of the first vehicles that fits the modern classification of supercar, the Miura still enthralls with its stunning looks, high performance, and rarity. Yet, one Miura—and we mean literally only one—reigns supreme over others. The one-off Miura SVR was built after the only Miura Jota SVJ was destroyed in a crash. It was built in the factory for a customer from a Miura S, and evolved into the highest-performance Lamborghini of its time. We heard it crack open its throttle on the drive, and that was every bit as delightful as one would expect.
1962 Aston Martin DB4GT Zagato Coupe
The long-running collaboration between this particular automaker and styling house has produced amazing cars over the years—including the recent Aston Martin Vanquish Zagato—but the partnership’s origins can be drawn back to the DB4GT, which started out as a race car designed to beat the Ferrari 250GT SWB Berlinetta. Only 19 of these were ever built, however, making this a rare and beautiful specimen. It won six of the 13 races it ran when driven in its only race season in Australia. It sold for $14.3 million in 2015.
1941 Chrysler Thunderbolt LeBaron Convertible
When this American classic drove past, the photographer next to me shouted, “It looks like it’s driving backwards!” Only five examples of this convertible were assembled due to the U.S. entering World War II. It was designed by Alex Termulis and Ralph Roberts, who worked for the LeBaron studio. Each of the five cars were painted a unique color and were used to promote Chrysler at auto shows across the country.
1960 Porsche Carrera Abarth GTL
This is one of 20 Porsche race cars that were lower, narrower, and lighter versions of the 356 Carrera GT. It won the Swedish GT Championship twice, with a perfect run of 11 wins out of 11 starts. It is considered the most original example in existence and has 10,450 miles on the odometer. We love the neat semi-gullwing doors, too.
For more of the tour, head into the gallery: