I just got back from the 2023 Monterey Car Week and I'm still daydreaming of the lovely coastal roads busy with priceless vintage cars and flashy modern supercars. It's where you'll see a multi-million dollar Duesenberg parked outside a 7-Eleven, three Ferrari 250 GTOs at valet parking, and five Bugatti Chirons at the Starbucks drive-thru. As you can imagine, so many high-po cars together in one place cause the police to take notice. In the case of the Monterey Police Department, they don't just take notice, they take action—and then they share it on Instagram.
I was walking around downtown Monterey when I saw a Shelby Mustang GT500 tailing a Viper ACR. It was unclear if the two were out driving together or if the Shelby was pestering the Viper, but they were driving rather aggressively through streets crowded with cars and pedestrians. I eventually lost track of both, but a few blocks later I ran into them again—this time on the side of the road, pulled over by Monterey Police. I thought to myself, "Huh, I wonder how many drivers get pulled over during Monterey Car Week?"
The next day I happened to strike up a random conversation with a fellow car enthusiast, one who turned out to be a local off-duty police officer. I asked him the question above and he quickly answered, "Oh, you haven't seen the Monterey PD Instagram?"
I pulled out my phone and found the account. As it turns out, Monterey PD takes Car Week quite seriously. They share a warning post ahead of the event to make sure drivers know that they'll be on the lookout for speeding, reckless driving, street racing, and even equipment violations such as unlawful exhausts and so on. And because the various car shows also attract a huge number of car transporters, they even warn truck drivers about route violations.
As of Tuesday, Monterey Police had only posted three daily updates, from August 17 to 19. My guess is that they still issued citations during the other four days of MCW but hadn't gotten around to posting them yet. Still, according to those three posts, a staggering 211 traffic stops were performed in just three days. That's an average of 70 stops per day, which resulted in 135 traffic citations. Furthermore, these stops led to 10 arrests and eight vehicles getting towed.
You'll notice the PD's Instagram posts highlight the "fastest speed recorded in the tunnel." See, there's a quarter-mile-long tunnel near Cannery Row in Monterey, which, as you can imagine, attracts all kinds of tomfoolery during MCW. I happened to pass by here one evening and noticed a BMW M2 and Porsche 911 GT3 RS behind me causing a ruckus with their exhausts. They didn't know there was a police officer at the end of it waiting with a radar gun in hand, but they eventually found out. According to the posts, the fastest speed recorded in the tunnel was 94 mph. If I recall right, the speed limit there is around 30-35 mph.
Monterey Car Week is one of the few events in the world where old meets new and where the present meets the future. Sure, there's a lot of douchebaggery going on, but for the most part, everyone is nice and just wants to have a good time. I talked to a few locals who absolutely hate MCW and either leave town for the week or stock up on groceries so they don't have to venture outside. Even a few folks in the hospitality industry told me that while they enjoy the extra business it brings, the festivities have gotten to be too much lately.
Judging by some of the comments in the police department's Instagram posts, I can see exactly what they mean. One wrote "Just a heads up: I'll be in a chalk-gray Porsche 997 GT3 Cup. The car is catless, has no front plate, full racing harnesses, straight piped, on slicks, and has a non-carb intake. Happy hunting." Whether they're joking or not, I bet the locals love them.
Got a tip? Email me at email@example.com