A Day Among Legends At Concorso Italiano

Concorso Italiano introduced me to the supercar. As a young child, there were always Alfa Spiders, GTVs, and BMW 2002s bouncing around my house. I was aware these cars were more special than neighborhood minivans and such, but never understood they were a beachhead into the true “top shelf” delicacies—until I went to Concorso Italiano for the first time.

Miura. Lusso. Berlinetta. Daytona. Stradale.

These were absolutely mind boggling to see as a 6 year old. Every modern supercar poster I had in my room was quickly torn off the walls, and replaced with any Italian thoroughbred from ’60s.

This nostalgia quickly made Concorso Italiano a family tradition, which I have enjoyed for the last 24 years of my life. However, this year was my first time attending with Petrolicious and a media credential (fancy, I know). I am no hardcore automotive writer, but I have seen this event through good and bad years and several different locations, so my focus this year was to take a step back and summarize what Concorso has to offer, both good and bad.

Let’s start with the pros.

There’s something for everyone. Some people do, in fact, enjoy looking at new cars (strange, I know). All joking aside, you don’t always get to see a brand's heritage laid out in such detail very often, so it’s nice to take a stroll through time.

The event remains down to earth. Overall, Concorso Italiano has a lot of good energy, with with friendly and approachable car owners.

Alfa Romeo is back and paying special attention to its adopted “home” crowd. With plenty of 4C’s on display, it was great to see the brand in full swing supporting their vintage enthusiasts. Also, the coffee in their hospitality suite was on point.

The event staff was knowledgeable, directions were easy to follow, and parking was (relatively) nearby. This was much appreciated after experiencing the expedition required to enter the Pebble Beach Concours.

That said, there were a few places I felt the event fell short.

The music, and I say this as a regular attendee. For a good portion of the event, I felt like I was stuck inside of an elevator. In previous years, it’s had some great independent musicians, but I was a little disappointed by the atmosphere. Let’s get some Sinatra going next year and order will be restored.

Lack of Non-Italian marques. It is understood this is an “Italian”-focused event (hence the name), however, not all admirers drive Italian cars. Previously, I remember seeing some truly awesome cars in the corrals, which were a little thin this year. I know space is an issue, but moderately encouraging diversity to related marques will never be go unappreciated by attendees.

Finally, the price: every year, the price keeps creeping up ($185 at the door this year, per person). It’s understandable that the event is growing, but Concorso is getting within range of Pebble Beach tickets, and to me, part of the best things about this event was always its accessibility and diverse, enthusiastic crowd.

Nitpicking aside, Concorso Italiano still has its time-old charm and is still one of the top events during Monterey Car Week. We will be back next year, but hopefully to the sounds of Dean Martin, Matt Munro, and Frank Sinatra—the perfect soundtrack to enjoy alongside Italy’s most iconic machines.

Back to the Guide