Santa Lucia Preserve Concours & Cocktails Gives A New Meaning To Preservation Class
Photography by Cooper Davis
During Car Week in Monterey, there are several venues and events not to be missed. Some might say the sites are more famous than the cars on display. Each location offers one of a kind views, stunning roads that snake along the coast, and some of the most iconic landscapes in California. This is why each summer throngs of car-crazed fans descend upon Carmel Valley.
However, there might be one place you’re less familiar with. It’s safe to say the thousands of attendees at The Quail would have no idea that an 18,000-acre nature preserve, one of the most bio-diverse in the world, is only a short step away. Hidden amongst these hills are architecturally significant homes, an 18-acre lake and an original 1920s Spanish Colonial Hacienda. Welcome to the Santa Lucia Preserve, site of the prestigious Concours and Cocktails.
As you enter the gates of The Preserve, as the residents call it, you are taken back in time. It takes about twenty minutes driving through what feels like what could be one laptop screensaver after the next to get to the Hacienda, the site of the nights’ event. It was late afternoon, and the sun was a few hours from setting as the stars of the night started to amble on to the lawn. We were, after all, here to see some of the beautiful machines native to The Preserve.
The line of cars that rolled into the Hacienda late that afternoon was a mix of everything you want to see. Ferrari, Bentley, Porsche, and Alfa Romeo were all present. There was even a Lancia Stratos Group 4, equipped with full rally gear and livery, in an eye-catching shade of purple no less.
Many of the cars that arrived just completed Concours-on-the-Avenue earlier, or were destined for the lawn at the Pebble Beach Concours on Sunday. It was how I imagine an early Pebble Beach was, before the sponsors, the concession stands, and all the crowds. All the cars without the crowds. As the cars rolled in, you were able to walk around them, chat with the owners, and take in the stunning backdrop.
Bentley had an impressive showing due to its 100-year celebration. Since the Hacienda was also nearing its 100 years, it was built in 1924, it was fun to imagine that one of these cars might have been back here in the day. Several Bentley models, from 1923-1930, made for an impressive pre-war lineup.
The 1960s and ’70s were well-represented. A beautiful, bright yellow 1967 Ferrari 275 GTB 4 was the crowd favorite. Alfa Romeo made a strong appearance with a trio of Alfas, including a 2000 GTV and a Junior Zagato 1600. All that was missing was the planting of an Italian flag.
Porsche was not to be outdone, with a couple of gorgeous examples of the 356, one of them fresh from an international rally. There was also a pair of classic 911s, one a coupe, the other a Targa, depending on your preference. The rare, distinctive roar of a 910, also called a Carrera 10, made its presence known far before it arrived. For those that prefer the later models, a 993 Twin Turbo Andial, one of twenty-one built, was popular with the younger fans.
One of the last cars to arrive, a1955 250 GT Europa, might have been one of the most significant. Besides being a multi-million dollar car this was the first Ferrari to carry the 250 series nomenclature, and it was the first true grand tourer from the prancing horse. It parked confidently next to a 2004 Ford GT to keep that rivalry alive.
Each vehicle at this year’s Concours and Cocktails was distinct in its own in a setting that only a select few get to experience. The Preserve is truly a time capsule, not only in the vehicles but also in the landscape.