On Friday, just as the marine layer cast over Carmel-by-the-Sea began to recede like curtains being pulled back from a window, a mammoth crowd congregated at the edge of Quail Golf Course. Their eyes were set on a white stage where Lamborghini models sat adjacent to a veiled automobile. At exactly 10:45 a.m., their patience was paid off with a debut: The Lanzador EV, Lamborghini's first fully electric concept car. Phones immediately lifted in the air to immortalize the moment, and the camera flashing quickly followed.
This past week was Pebble Beach & Monterey Car Week, an annual event where auction, racing, and pageantry find common ground. It is a congregation of the world's top collectors, enthusiasts, dealers, and more—a car nerd's Coachella. The Lanzador EV concept follows the brand's signature hyper-streamlined shape and appears as the middle ground between its supercar (think Aventador or Huracan) and SUV (Urus) cousins. According to Stephen Winkelmann, chairman and CEO of Lamborghini, the car is an important part of the brand's strategy to add electric options to its future fleet and attract new customers, all while retaining the trademark driving experience its longtime fans have come to expect.
But, let's be real: Lamborghini's name and engine sell themselves, and existing customers may just want the next hot thing that'll allow for them to remain relevant collectors. Still, there are major questions to be answered in the coming years. Will that signature purr from the engine, the one that commands attention on the street and injects thrill into those behind the wheel, remain in the electric model? That is to be revealed in five years when the car hits the market in 2028.
The Lanzador EV wasn't the only only unveiling to grab attention this year. Maserati debuted the GranTurismo Folgore, an electric version of its signature model. A lucky few (including Jeff Bezos) were able to see an example–this one coated in a matte gray that emphasized the vehicle's organic curves–at the brand's Car Week headquarters, a modernist home nestled within the hills of Pebble Beach. "We want to keep the look of Maserati extremely pure, with amazing proportion, and amazing interaction of volumes because that leads to longevity," Klaus Busse, head of Design Maserati, tells T&C. For the 75th anniversary of the GranTurismo, Maserati teamed up with Sotheby's for a drive on the legendary Laguna Seca racetrack, where collectors of models from different eras took a lap together. Sotheby's CEO Charles Stewart was among those who joined for the ride, as did Trevor Traina, former U.S. Ambassador to Austria. Other automotive highlights included the MCExtrema, Maserati's fastest track-only hypercar, Aston Martin's DB12 Volante drop-top model, and the Bugatti Chiron Super Sport Golden Era car, which features hand-drawn sketches on the body depicting icons from Bugatti's history.
The appeal of Car Week isn't solely about engineering prowess. As with Couture Week in Paris or Design Week in Milan, attendees not only have style but want it to be known that they wield it. The automobiles are obvious, especially at the Concourse d'Elegance where collectors of older cars compete for Best in Show based on elegance, technical merit, and history. (This year, a 1937 Mercedes-Benz 540K Special Roadster took gold.) Meanwhile the crowds, women in fascinators and men in pastels, could have been mistaken for those at the Kentucky Derby or Royal Ascot. The fashions got even more interesting in the evening during Car Week's seemingly endless offering of parties and unveilings.
At the Lamborghini house on Saturday, men in Italian-cut suits mingled with folks in silk shirts and Dries Van Noten. Roger Dubuis watches were available for attendees to try out and potentially purchase. If their appetites got the best of them, fresh pasta was prepared in the kitchen nearby. Meanwhile, British tailoring and sequined Ralph Lauren reigned supreme at Bentley's party during the same night, where a swarm of people lined the stone walkway leading into the home. Fancy a photo-op? The recently debuted Bentley Blower JNR by The Little Car Company, a nostalgic nod to the house's iconic 1929 Bentley Blower, was inside an English-styled room where one could get their professional photos taken. An international flashy set sporting highlighter colors mobbed Czinger party on Friday. Kevin and Lukas Czinger, the father-and-son duo behind the company, unveiled the 1,350 horsepower 21C Blackbird alongside the "Iceman," a version of the car painted in a soft light blue. "The Blackbird was supposed to represent me, and the Iceman represents my son," says Kevin. Earlier that day, the brand showcased its savvy use of AI design software, which creates the blueprint of the car's screen-printed inside frame, enhancing the car's durability and speed. Even the gate crashers, many of whom were turned away since they didn't purchase tickets to the parties, looked good.
While the high energy at the major events was apparent, the thrill of Pebble Beach & Monterey Car Week was even felt in the quieter moments. Even driving through the winding road and seeing armies of the world's most powerful cars was enough excitement. Ask the photographers and videographers who patrolled the hotel and event entrances for content. Or, the father and his two young sons who were standing on the corner of the major intersection during the day of the concourse, patiently awaiting the next supercar to drive by.
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