The Pebble Beach Tour is the loveliest caravan you’ll ever see

There are three times during Monterey Car Week where you get to see cars actually running and driving, rather than just sitting like sculpture. There’s the morning of Dawn Patrol when the cars drive onto the Concours lawn, the raw and unhinged racing at Laguna Seca’s Rolex Reunion, and the Pebble Beach Tour. Taking place on Thursday morning of Car Week, well before all of the hubbub and excitement of Laguna and the Concours, the Tour is the kick-off to Car Week you don’t want to miss next year.

You’ll have to wake up a bit early to catch the cars lining up in a three-row-wide grid at the start line. But seeing all of the beautiful machinery arriving for Car Week is a reminder of just how spectacular it is to see such splendor preserved and on display for people to enjoy. Once the cars—Ferraris, Astons, Talbot-Lagos, Cadillacs, Duesenbergs, and more—line up, people start weaving their way through the grid, taking pictures and peeking into the interiors that make most of today’s cars look drab and soulless.

After a couple hours of milling about, the engines fire up and the flocks of people funnel out onto the sidewalk to see the cars set off. One by one the cars roll off, a chorus of engineering magnificence and air pollution spilling out into the cloud-covered morning, blasting down the first straightaway and off on a six-hour tour of the peninsula from Pebble Beach to Carmel and all over. Few people have the chance to ride along with an owner, but those who do are part of the loveliest caravan in America.

Check out the sights and delights of the 2018 Pebble Beach Tour in the gallery below:

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