My Car Quest

May 28, 2024

Monterey Car Week – Don’t Just Buy A Souvenir – Buy Art

by Mike –

The purpose of going to Monterey for car week in mid-August (August 15-20 this year) is to see cars; legendary cars you’ve always dreamed of seeing in person, cars at full song on the racetrack, cars gleaming in the sun at Pebble Beach plus Ferrari, Iso, Alfa Romeo and Lamborghini lined up for inspection at Concorso Italiano.

But there’s another purpose—to buy stuff that, every time you see it, will bring back the memories of what you saw there, the sounds, the sights, the experiences.

I speak, of course, of art.

Now there’s a variety of places you will find art during Monterey Car Week. Ironically in past years I found only a few of the Peninsula’s art galleries, of which Carmel alone has at least a hundred, have artwork devoted to the motorcar.

No, for them their market is the year around marketing of paintings of golf courses, or the coastline, with more portraits of the lone cypress, than you really want to see.

What are we car fans–chopped liver?

But fortunately for car week, lots of art is brought onto the Monterey Peninsula. Here’s a few places to look.


Automobilia (Embassy Suites Hotel Tuesday and Wednesday). This is Tony Singer’s show, where there are there are over 40 international dealers. Tony Singer brings posters from 1895 through 1970. Among the fine artists that he will have there are James Caldwell, Robert Carter, Robin Bark, The Woodman.

Since this event is early in the week you have a chance to beat those who don’t reach the peninsula until later. He points out there are also rare racing photographs, and what’s better if you are restoring a car than to find a photo of the car as it was in its original era? At least one of the photographers from the ’50s has a booth there and it’s a joy to talk to someone who was actually there sixty years ago who is still selling his photos.

Alan Kuhn photo

Alan Kuhn took photos–like this one from 1958- and sells them 60 years later at Automoblia. Great to buy photos from the man who took ’em. Scarab beating Ferrari Testa Rossa.

Laguna Seca

The Laguna Seca racetrack. Located off Highway 68 between Salinas and Monterey is the site of the Rolex Motorsports Reunion (what used to be the Monterey Historics). Now this is also where, in addition to over 100 race cars you can ogle in the pits (no separate ticket needed for the pits) from Thursday through Sunday you can walk the “midway” consisting of at least tents, some of them selling posters created for the 2016 event and others selling posters honoring different marques.

A few are selling vintage posters and actual oil paintings or giclees on canvas which are prints that look like oil paintings. One or two places even sell artwork that is signed by a famous driver who drove that type of car.

There’s also booths with photography but after Car Week, we’ll summarize which outstanding photographer’s pictures were for sale. Ironically even the automakers are getting into selling vintage photos, we saw an ad from a Mercedes website offering a shot of the Mercedes 300SLS printed as a giclee on canvas for a mere $700 plus!

Retro Auto

As early as Thursday, and right through Saturday there is art to be found at The Inn at Spanish Bay ballrooms in Pebble Beach (about two miles from the Del Monte Lodge) an event they describe as featuring “an elegant and thoughtfully curated collection of exhibitors offering rare collectibles and memorabilia from our automotive past, as well as the latest luxury goods and technological tools to enhance today’s driving experience.”

Jacques Vaucher art

At Retro Auto, Jacques Vaucher, who has been in the fine arts sales business for 41 years will have many French posters. Here’s an image of a French poster for the 1938 Grand Prix of France, an original by Geo Ha.

It’s a little hard to find the Inn but it’s a show worth seeing if you want to take an automotive collectable home. One of our favorites is Steve Posson, a sculptor who works in cast bronze.

Steve Posson art

Steve Posson, with his race car oriented sculpture

According to Kat Waller of the Pebble Beach Corp. some of the art at Retro Auto will be by Tim Layzell who has done the official Retro Auto poster artist since 2009. His work has a Fifties look Pop art style in which solid blocks of color are used, not gradual shading. Also featured will be Al Dimauro original art, Phil Toy photography and J. Paul Nesse sculpture.

Retro Auto poster by Tim Layzell

Retro Auto poster by Tim Layzell

Also on Thursday is an event called Automotive Film and Arts Festival which promises artwork. This is at the Golden State theatre in Monterey from 4 PM to 11 PM. We wish we could tell you more, but when you go to their website for some reason they are talking about an event in Michigan. Talk about not being ready for prime-time!

On Friday, at the toney event in Carmel Valley called The Quail–A Motorsports Gathering, last year there was at least one tent devoted to photography and presumably they will also have some fine art in the form of oils on canvas and/or sculpture. This is a very pricey event to go to as a spectator (about $600 per person) so you can expect the finest art, no t-shirts or $10 posters.

Wallace Wyss art

Not all of the artwork is expensive. Our frequent contributor and fine artist Wallace Wyss told us he sold this oil-embellished giclee of a Talbot in the fog at a concours for $200

On Saturday at Concorso Italiano, held at the Blackhawk golf course in Seaside, they are going to have a art tent for the first time. In the past they have had two or three artists with their own booths but this is in addition to that; a new venture–a tent dedicated to art and I expect some artists are new names to the public who haven’t begun collecting art yet.

Again I think part of the thrill is in meeting the artists. You might even be able to commission a painting of your car!

On Sunday, at Pebble Beach Concours there is the AFAS (Automotive Fine Art Society) tent, right on the 18th fairway, same place as the concours. Many of the artists are seated there right alongside their painting or sculpture and you can talk to them about their inspiration when they created their art.

One interesting person is Britisher turned Canadian Ken Dallison, who once did a book for Mercedes consisting of 100 original paintings, that book now a collector’s item in itself.

Ken Dallison art

Ken Dallison is unique in his style with a pen and ink. He is usually to be found in the AFAS tent.

There’s no charge to enter the AFAS tent as long as you have your concours ticket.

The Auctions

Now some of the auctions sell fine art before the first car rolls across to get those words “SOLD, SOLD” ringing in your brain. And some just sell the cars. If you can bring your laptop to the Peninsula, you may be able to see which auction houses are previewing the art.

The beautiful thing is that some of the artwork at some of the auctions is sold with NO RESERVE which means, hey, you bid, and if nobody tops you, you own it. Many of the auction companies selling art have a FedEx or UPS agent right there so they can ship it home for you.

Now some people who go to Monterey week want to buy that sweatshirt or t-shirt that proclaims to one and all when they wear it that they managed to make Monterey for another year. But I personally feel that buying a piece of artwork, especially if you can meet the artist, is a rewarding thing because, after all, with their art, they are conveying the excitement of the brands you love.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.



Wallace Wyss art

Shelby Cobra Daytona coupe at Lemans in ’65 – Painting by Wallace Wyss

Monterey Car Week - Don't Just Buy A Souvenir - Buy Art
Article Name
Monterey Car Week - Don't Just Buy A Souvenir - Buy Art
There is plenty of art for sale during Monterey Car Week.


  1. Mike:

    Thanks for the kind mention of Automobilia Monterey in your posting today.

    A couple items:

    the dates of my poster are 1895-1970

    there are over 40 international dealers, where I am just one of the group



  2. Robert Bevis says

    As an automotive artist, I want to thank you for this invaluable information. Venues for automotive artists are always sought by the artists and to have it all in one post is a real treat. It’s a place to start the search for the event contacts
    so that we might take part in the event to show our work. We do art because we have to do art and the sale of that work enables us to do art and not be forced to get a job that that takes away the time needed to do our art.

    Thank you & regards,


  3. Rollie Langston says

    HI Mike,

    Thanks for the interesting and informative article about some of the other non-mobile art which will be on display and celebrated along with the spectacular cars during Monterey Car Week. Market behavior among serious collectors, whether fine art or fine cars, is becoming more similar all the time.

    Also, if you’re only going to stare at it and fondle it, but not drive it, and you don’t have an extra barn to store it in, some of the models have exceptional quality and detail and are as fun to collect now as the Matchbox cars were in our youth.

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