IT'S ONE THING to dabble in a passing fancy for fine automobiles, but certain annual events make or break automotive pedigrees, establishing whether or not you're a serious car geek. One such show is popping up soon: Collectors will show off their pricey toys over a weeklong series of events at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance on the northern California coast in mid-August. Below, our guide to the must-see events from August 2014 through next summer. But note: The finer the cars, the more exclusive and expensive the ticket. And yes they do sell out.
Aug. 12-17, 2014
Pebble Beach, CA
This annual gathering of precious automobiles spills into a week of activities that includes Maserati's centenary celebration over champagne and caviar at the Quail, and concludes with the concours event, where, at sunrise, the cars roll in for the Hagerty Dawn Patrol and compete for best in show. Multimillion-dollar cars cross the auction block at Gooding & Company.
Jan. 10-18, 2015
The Barrett-Jackson auction has turned bidding for automobiles into a weeklong televised sport that brought in more than $113 million dollars this year, including $3.85 million for a 1967 Corvette. The auction house was founded in Scottsdale, but has expanded its business to Las Vegas, Reno, and Palm Beach. Attendees can wander amongst the auction lots before they hit the block—and expect to see celebrities (Jay Leno, Alice Cooper, Billy Corgan, and Reggie Jackson have all attended in the past)—which makes for an impressive car show in itself.
Feb. 22, 2015
Daytona Beach, FL
If you visit one NASCAR race in your life, make it the Daytona 500, the 500-mile season opener in stock-car racing that dates back to 1959.
March 13-15, 2015
Located on the northern Florida coast, Amelia Island is spring break for car enthusiasts, as Mercedes-Benz, Rolls-Royce, and Delahaye classics are shipped down to the Ritz-Carlton. RM Auctions draws the moneyed crowd to make bids on rare makes and models at this automotive oasis, where judges award the standout models in each class. Got six million to spare for a beauty? One guy did last year.
The Mille Miglia is an experience for participants and spectators alike, who line the streets to welcome vintage race cars that make the 1,000-mile round trip from Brescia to Rome, Italy in the spirit of the endurance race that began in 1927.
May 23 - May 30, 2015
Stockholm, Sweden to Las Vegas, NV
Figures from the arts and entertainment worlds jockey for a position in this raging rally. Past Gumballers include the rapper Eve, the artist Futura 2000, Idris Elba, and Tony Hawk. The route for the 2015 Gumball starts in Stockholm and rolls through Oslo, Copenhagen, and Amsterdam, makes a cross-continental leap to San Francisco, and then barrels on to Los Angeles and the finish line in Las Vegas. Delectable super cars in rallies past include the Ferrari 458, Mercedes-Benz SLR Stirling Moss, and custom built exotics like the TG1 and McLaren MP4-12C.
May 24, 2015
The Monaco Formula One Grand Prix has a long history in the more glamorous circles of motor racing, as has been captured in recent films like Rush and Senna. This season, Mercedes drivers Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton and Infiniti-Red Bull driver Daniel Ricciardo took the podium, best viewed from the deck of a megayacht docked at the Monaco Yacht Club. Tickets are already available for the 73rd edition.
May 24, 2015
The Brickyard—the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is known for its remaining row of brick surface at the finish line—is an essential stop on every car enthusiast's calendar capping off the triumvirate of races that also includes the Monaco Grand Prix and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. What it lacks for in sophisticated ambience, it makes up for in pure petrol-fueled adoration and open-wheel racing nostalgia that dates back to 1911, including Jim Nabors' annual rendition of "Back Home Again in Indiana."
June 13-14, 2015
Le Mans, France
The all-day, all-night historic race dates back to 1923 and was later immortalized by Steve McQueen in the 1971 film Le Mans. In recent years, the Audi LMP1 cars have dominated the circuit as they maintain electrifying speeds throughout the endurance race.
Sept. 12-14, 2015
The Goodwood Estate, Chichester, England
Lord March has transformed his ancestral royal estate into the ultimate destination for British motorsports enthusiasts who attend the Festival of Speed in July and the three-day Goodwood Revival in September. At the latter, attendees dress in period costume corresponding to their racing vehicles, which span from 1948 to 1966.
• • •