Car profiles

Seen on the street: my favorite cars from Car Week

by Rob Sass
23 August 2023 3 min read
Rob Sass

Monterey Car Week provides opportunities to see some of the most exclusive and expensive cars on the planet. The ones parked on golf courses at shows like the Quail or the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elégance are next-level stuff, no question. But ask people who have been going to Car Week for years and they are quick to point out that the local cars, or the ones that actually drive hundreds of miles to attend Car Week, are often just as interesting (if not even more so) than the ones at the fancy car shows. Here are a few favorites seen parked around Monterey, and since there were no car cards handy, I’m taking my best educated guess at model years: 

1966 or 1967 International Harvester Pickup

Rob Sass

What is it? The C-series International Harvester Pickup dates back to 1961, and lasted until 1970, so this example came roughly midway through the model run. The C-series was produced in various sizes and capacities, including one of the first crew-cabs, which International called the Travelette. 

Why do I love it? Trucks like this simply don’t exist outside of California. The Tow-Mater style patina was irresistible. While most of the paint was burned off, there was just a light coating of surface rust, almost like a suntan, in its place. There didn’t seem to be any structural rust at all. Whether you’re hauling surfboards, dirt bikes, cantaloupes, or anything else, it’d be difficult to go wrong with this handsome old truck. 

1970 Datsun 240Z

Rob Sass

What is it? First year examples of the classic Z-car are easily spotted by the pair of small vents below the rear window. This is the car that put Japanese sports cars on the map in the U.S. and everywhere else. 

Why do I love it?  As 240Zs move upward in price, it’s getting more unusual to see them used, enjoyed, and street parked. This one was sitting in downtown Monterey, looking like something you’d see in the background of your favorite episode of “The Rockford Files.” The paint on this one appeared to be original, and the slotted mag wheels were probably added by the original selling dealer to add a little more profit to the Z-car’s ultra-reasonable $3,500 original MSRP. 

1952 Hudson Hornet 

Rob Sass

What is it? Hudson built some of the most interesting cars of the early 1950s. Their step-down chassis gave them a lower center of gravity than competing American cars, they handled better, and thus dominated NASCAR. 

Why do I love it? This example appears to be a vintage California custom—the roof has been mildly chopped and it’s riding on what looks like a set of early 1970s vintage Pontiac Rallye II wheels. The two-tone paint looked like it last had a shine during the Nixon administration, and I wouldn’t change a thing. 

1971 Alfa Romeo 1750 GTV

Rob Sass

What is it? The 105-Series Alfa Romeo coupe debuted in 1966 as the Giugiaro-designed Giulia with a unique step-nose design and 1600 cubic centimeters of displacement. This facelifted car dispensed with the step-nose, and added quad round headlights and a new 1750-cc engine. 

Why do I love it? These Alfa GTVs are so achingly handsome, they handle beautifully, and sound great. This one looked really special in its super-shiny Yellow Ochre paint, which is a dead-ringer for one of my favorite Porsche colors, Bahama Yellow. It was probably one of the handsomest Alfas I saw all weekend. 

1975 Cadillac Eldorado

Rob Sass

What is it? The mid-’70s Eldosaurus was probably one of the most audacious Cadillacs of the pre-downsizing era. Weighing in at an SUV-like 5,106 lbs., it took an 8.2 liter/500 cubic inch V8 to motivate it. In true Malaise Era fashion, said engine produced only 190 hp. Oh, and it was front-wheel-drive. 

Why do I love it? Two words—steer horns. 

2001 BMW Z3 3.0 Coupe

Rob Sass

What is it? The original Z3 was a lovely little roadster. Like other open BMWs of the time, it suffered from its share of cowl-shake. The addition of a breadvan-like fixed roof to the Z3 solved the structural rigidity issue, and added a bit of practicality to the mix. 

Why do I love it? These are super quirky cars, and perhaps second only to the BMW 2002 in terms of having a genuine cult following. They’re affectionately referred to as “clown shoes.” BMW sold very few of them in comparison to the roadsters, so they’ve always been rare sights, and this one, parked on the grass at PCA’s Werks Reunion, looked absolutely gorgeous in spite of its indicated 200,000 plus miles.  


  • Gary Bechtold says:

    I like your list. They would also capture my attention also. The yellow Urus in the background is less exciting to me than the 240Z. Good choice.

  • paul s murray says:

    This Z is perfect but, quite frankly , I’d rather borrow Beth Davenport’s 914 as ‘Jim’ sometimes did. The smart sexy lawyer who will always post your bail and act as your attorney even though she knows you’re broke. – “leave your message I’ll get back to you” And by the way ‘Rockies’ truck was really James Garners.

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