Cars

The World's Fastest, Loudest Museum of Vintage Race Cars

Published On 08/26/2016 Published On 08/26/2016
BMW 3.0 vs Porsche 911
Aaron Miller/Thrillist

There are a handful of meccas in the automotive world that demand pilgrimage of the vehicular faithful, but perhaps none quite like Car Week in Monterey. Many of the world's most treasured rolling idols descend on the town (along with their owners). Show queens gather at Pebble Beach, and there's also a Motorsports Reunion (formerly the Monterey Historics) where the prized race cars of eras past roar to life to do battle once more. Mazda asked if I wanted to join them at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for this year's Reunion. I'm not saying I jumped at the opportunity, but I did fill an entire camera card with photos. These are the very best.

Aaron Miller/Thrillist

If time is an illusion, so is any concept of reality -- at least at the Historics. Cars like this $30,000,000 Ferrari 250 GTO simply do not break free of their climate-controlled pedestals in the real world, but they do here.

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It's the kind of place where those vaunted wonders can compete against an American kit car from the 1950s, like the Chevy V8-powered Devin SS, whose exhaust you see glowing as it powers up Laguna Seca's front straight.

Aaron Miller/Thrillist

It's a place of juxtapositions, where large men crammed into tiny cars wear modern safety equipment while surrounded by virtually nothing else.

Aaron Miller/Thrillist

It's also a reminder of the tremendous progress made in the past century. Cars are no longer driven by temperamental engines that might run perfectly fine one minute, and refuse to start the next.

Aaron Miller/Thrillist

For many of the vehicles at Laguna Seca, their beauty lies in their simplicity, not just of engineering, but of livery. In a world before corporate sponsorship, race cars appeared naked, and every inch of sculpted line is on clear display.

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At the Historics, you can see and hear the evolution directly in front of you. The newer cars, ever vying to go faster and faster, are infinitely more complex.

Aaron Miller/Thrillist

These magnificent icons of motorsports' past actually compete with one another -- their owners walk the walk after talking about how they were built to be driven.

Aaron Miller/Thrillist

The danger to the drivers is real, as soon as you realize they're competing in machinery from the most lethal eras of the sport, with little to no structural protection.

Aaron Miller/Thrillist

There's nothing quite like the sounds of small race cars powered by large engines.They're cars of tremendous history and astronomical value, sure, but in Monterey, they're more than that.

Aaron Miller/Thrillist

They're living, fire-breathing exhibits in the world's greatest, loudest, and fastest museum. There are plenty of photos below. Enjoy. I sure as hell did.

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Aaron Miller is the Cars editor for Thrillist, and can be found on Twitter and Facebook. Truly, he was in automotive heaven in Monterey.

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